Procrastination? Let’s save it for later!

Girl pushing away a stack of papers and other work
Photo: © Galina Peshkova / 123RF Stock Photo

The procrastinator speaks:
“I need to be in the right frame,
Just can’t turn on my mind like a tap;
I guess, last-minute panic drives me.”

“Oh, yeah? What kind of frame is that?”

The procrastinator’s fallacy

We like to delay things we don’t like to do. And we all know we should do them. Procrastination is more of an emotional problem than we confess. Procrastinators claim they’re overburdened, strained and tired (though they have frequently done nothing). Naïve escapists, they deliberately seek distractions, switch between tasks, claim they’re overworked and allow the imagined burden to hammer them down.

They also claim to be perfectionists, arguing that they need more time to do things right. In effect they end up putting things off beyond deadline. A variety of them even think they work better under pressure. Hence, the last-minute storm with studies, projects and important decisions. Truly, procrastination involves an abundant degree of self-deceit — wherein we fool ourselves to justify this escape from responsibility.

The rare high in moments of productivity

Time myopia
We all agree we should study today for the exam at the end of the semester. And exercise, skip junk food and sleep enough, to be healthy as we age. But all of these choices are competing with those of going to the movies, feasting on a burger or relaxing till late in bed. And the latter options clearly appear more attractive, enjoyable and comforting. But the short-sightedness distorts our vision.

When we procrastinate, we actually become myopic and see these future needs as distant, elusive and uncritical. The immediate consequences of postponing tasks thus seem trivial. And we delay them to focus on an easy today neglecting the important but far-off tomorrow. The same tomorrow, however, soon arrives, and the urgency is clearly unravelled. And the panic button signals us to action. If only we could alter our vision and see beyond the immediate gains of adjourning important tasks! We would then not delay what can be accomplished right now.

Read the full article by subscribing to the print magazine or the digital edition.

Dr Shefali Batra is a Psychiatrist and Mindfulness Coach. Connect with her on Instagram @drshefalibatra and read more about her work at

Dr Shefali Batra

Dr Shefali Batra is a Psychiatrist and Mindfulness Coach. Connect with her on Instagram @drshefalibatra and read more about her work at