8 Frequent Ways You Procrastinate (Without Realizing It)

It’s amazing the ways we come up with to procrastinate.

Whatever the reason may be, if we don’t want to do something, we can be creative in the ways we put things off.

One of the major problems is, however, that sometimes we don’t even realize we are doing that. We believe our rationalizations or explanations and then wonder why we don’t get things done.

In this article, we will cover 8 ways we procrastinate. Examine this list and see which ways you procrastinate so that you can recognize it for what it is and stop.

1. You rationalize and make excuses

Sometimes we may rationalize why we are putting something off.

      • “It’s just not the right time.”
      • “I’m giving up my time to help someone else with their tasks.”
      • “It’ll take too long to start.”
      • “I need to be in the right mood.”
      • “I work better under pressure”.
      • “There just wasn’t enough time.”
      • “I already have too much to do.”
      • “I didn’t feel good.”
      • “I was waiting for someone else.”
      • “I had to do something first.”

Those are all rationalizations and excuses – and all they do is keep you from doing what you need to be doing.

What rationalizations or excuses do you use?

2. You distract yourself with less important tasks that may be “good” but not the most important

We can be good at filling our time – with other things.

Often the important tasks may be harder or seem more overwhelming – so we do other things instead. We fill our time with less important tasks and then say, “At least I’m getting something done”.

We stay busy, but we are busy with unimportant or time-wasting tasks.

3. You accomplish all meaningless tasks before getting to the important ones

You know you need to do this big project or task, but you do everything else first. The big task is unconformable, so you wait. You do all the little stuff that “needs” to get done first before starting on the big project.

Or you may have a to-do list. You try to scratch off all the “little” stuff first, and make your list smaller, before focusing on the big, important stuff.

Yes, you are getting “stuff” done, but not the important “stuff”.

4. You practice avoidance behavior

The task may seem overwhelming. It may make you unconformable. You may not like it.

Starting itself may seem insurmountable.

So instead of breaking it down, working it out, getting help, or whatever you need to start, you distract yourself with other things.

Maybe you get up and do chores. Maybe you check your email again. Maybe you go talk to Rob or Betty down the hall.

Maybe you pick up a different task or go help someone else with there’s.

Whatever it is, you avoid the task and substitute it with something else.

5. You practice self-deception – there’s always something else you have to do first

Before starting, you have to do this “one thing”.

“I’ll just go get me some coffee before I start.”

“I’ll clean up the desk first”.

“I need to talk to Betty for a minute first. I haven’t seen her in a while.”

“Oops, laundry is calling. I’ll do that first.”

Whatever it is, there’s always something that has to happen first, that comes up that you need to do beforehand instead of sitting down and starting.

6. You always have to “get ready” before starting

Whatever it is you want or need to do, there’s always something you have to do to “get ready” first before starting.

You want to start writing, but you need to take writing classes first.

You want to take writing classes, but you need to do research first.

You want to start exercising, but you need to look it up more or buy the right outfit or clothes first.

You want to start eating healthy, but you need to search online first before starting.

You want to start networking, but you need to start selling first.

You want to invite friends or family over to your house, but you have to make sure everything is ready first.

Whatever it is, there is always something you need to do before you can start, so you end up never starting.

7. You tell yourself you have plenty of time for everything

As Jason Lavis, the managing director of Out of the Box Innovations, says:

For those of us that work long hours, we can fool ourselves in thinking that we have plenty of time for everything. The problem here is that we can get worn out with low-value tasks. This mindset of knowing that we have 12+ work hours in a day can mean that we procrastinate on things that won’t move the needle.

Whether you work 12 hours, 8 hours, or 4, you can easily deceive yourself into thinking you have plenty of time for everything – which you usually don’t.

So you waste time on other tasks because you have “plenty of time”, then you run out of time.

8. You wait for the “perfect” time, place, etc.

You are going to start. Really, you are. You are just waiting for the timing to be perfect or the circumstances to be right.

The problem is, in most cases, the perfect time never comes and circumstances are never “right”. You end up wasting time and putting things off instead of making it happen.

As Pratibha Vuppuluri, Chief Blogger of She Started It!, says, “…the reality is, there is no such thing as a perfect time. Waiting for “perfect time” is actually wasted time.”


There are quite a few ways that we procrastinate.

Whichever way you use it, make sure you are aware of it so you can catch yourself doing it and stop.

Now to you: what ways do you procrastinate? Is there anything I missed? Let us know in the comments below.

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