AdultsLinda Farag

You’re Not Lazy, You’re a Chronic Procrastinator

A person sits with their hands against their head with a concerned expression. Learn more about how online therapy in New Jersey can offer support from home. Contact an online therapist to learn more about Westfield NJ and Branchburg NJ counseling and other services.

Are you a “chronic procrastinator”? Do you find yourself constantly putting things off, even super important things, despite the consequences? If you feel like you’ve tried everything and still can’t stop procrastinating, you’ve come to the right place. 

A person holds their finger up with a serious expression. This could represent the pausing of procrastination. Learn more about online therapy in New Jersey and the support Scotch Plains counseling can offer. Search “online therapist new jersey” to learn more today. How many of us often find ourselves washing and drying our laundry only to leave the clean clothes unfolded in the laundry basket for days? While this is a generally harmless task to procrastinate, many individuals find themselves unable to stop putting off even the most important of tasks. Despite the threat of late fees, poor grades, and missed opportunities, you may find yourself psychologically paralyzed. I’m here to tell you that you’re not “lazy” or “unmotivated”; rather, your motivations may need to be redirected. Check out the following reasons that we procrastinate and how we can address them. 

Procrastinating Feels Good

One of the most satisfying emotions we can experience is the feeling of relief. We can experience an overwhelming sense of relief when we choose to put off a task that we are worried about or avoid completing. The more daunting and/or unpleasant the task, the more relief you can experience from walking away from the task. 

Unfortunately, the more you put off a task, the scarier the task becomes, and the greater the promise of relief. Take a parking ticket, for example. The more you put it off, the more late fees will accumulate, and the harder it will be to pay off. Also, not paying the ticket gets more and more rewarding in the short term because you get to keep the money in your pocket. 

As human beings who focus on rewards, it’s important for us to gain something when we do manage to complete a task. We can create our own reward system for ourselves, like planning a treat or doing something nice for yourself after doing something hard. 

All or Nothing

Let’s go back to our laundry basket full of clothes. Typically we see folding the laundry as a singular, contained task with a beginning and an end. We can measure it in baskets, as in, “I have 2 baskets of laundry to fold”. When we envision and plan for the task of folding laundry, we expect to fold and put away each piece of clothing in the basket. We make sure that we can allocate the time and energy to complete the task and fold all of the clothes in the basket. However, this very natural process of planning can actually slow us down sometimes. 

A person in a wheelchair types on a laptop next to a window. Learn more about how online therapy in New Jersey can offer support by searching “online therapist new jersey” or Westfield NJ counseling today.This can be really important to keep in mind for long-term goals such as finding employment or going back to school. If goals seem too large and abstract, we likely will avoid tackling them. Breaking up huge tasks like these into the smallest possible steps can help our goals feel more attainable. 


What comes to mind when you think of a “perfectionist”? Probably someone who is super organized, punctual, and responsible. Probably someone who meets all their deadlines. While this can be true, perfectionism can also be paralyzing.  You may feel like things need to be a certain way for tasks to get completed. Some individuals avoid starting a task because they feel like they won’t be able to do it right. The ideology is that “If I can’t do it right, I don’t want to do it at all”. For example, many of us say that we’re not in the right “mood” or “headspace” to get something done. The reality is, few of us are ever “in the mood” to complete a largely unsatisfying or unpleasant task. Ironically, the more important a task is to a perfectionist, the more likely they are to put it off. 

Challenge yourself to start a task even if you aren’t in the “right” mood. Without judgment, observe the discomfort of doing something imperfectly. You may be surprised to find that completing a task, even imperfectly, can bring a sense of relief. 

Just like any other superpower, perfectionism can help us do amazing things, but we have to be able to focus and control it. Being able to manage perfectionism for everyday tasks can be a crucial step for many of us in avoiding procrastination. 

Connection to the Future Self

The chronic procrastinator can also have a difficult time making realistic connections between their present and future selves. Something that a lot of chronic procrastinators have in common is difficulty connecting to this idea of “the future self”. As a chronic procrastinator, you may be very familiar with the phrase, “I’ll get to that tomorrow”. This is delegating a tedious, intimidating, but often completely doable task to your “tomorrow” self.  This is not (just) because you don’t want to do the task today, you probably genuinely feel like you’ll be able to do it tomorrow.

Maybe tomorrow you’ll be better rested, in a better head space, or more motivated.

Maybe tomorrow you will finally have the energy and motivation you need. “Tomorrow Self” is a strong, unique, and almost supernatural persona who can take on all of the challenges that are too big for us to tackle today.  However, the next day comes and it turns out you’re actually pretty much the same person you were the day before. 

This unrealistic delegation of responsibilities demonstrates the disconnection from the future self. Someone who is prone to procrastination often has a more difficult time caring about how their current actions will affect the future self. That is, they form weaker connections between the work they do today and the rewards they will reap tomorrow. Likewise, they form weaker connections between procrastination today and poorer outcomes tomorrow. 

It is important to build this connection with your future self. You can do this by writing letters to your future self or creating vision boards that portray your future self. Set your future self up for success. Remember that we want good things to happen to people that we like. This is why maintaining self-esteem is very important for someone who is prone to procrastination. 


A person sits against a wall while looking out a window. Learn how online therapy in New Jersey can offer support in overcoming isolation. Contact an online therapist or search Westfield NJ counseling to learn more. One of the most difficult barriers to overcome for a chronic procrastinator is the shame and guilt that comes with procrastinating. Whether by themselves or others, chronic procrastinators are labeled as “lazy” and “irresponsible”. It can seem that the person procrastinating does not care about completing the task. However, we’ve discussed why the more you care about completing a task properly, the harder it can sometimes be to get started. In addition, labels like “lazy” and “slacker” often undermine the effort that people who struggle with procrastination put into making progress on tasks. In failing to accurately describe the problem, these words and labels also offer no direction for problem-solving. 

Being ashamed that a task has been put off as long as it has can often stop us from approaching it. Again, the more important the task, the more shame we can experience for failing to complete it. This is why it is very important to understand the unique reasons that you procrastinate. Understanding the factors that cause you to procrastinate can help relieve feelings of inadequacy and can empower you to tackle your challenges from a different angle.

Begin Overcoming Procrastination with Counseling in Scotch Plains or Branchburg, NJ

Overcoming procrastination takes time, commitment, and support. Our caring therapists would love to assist you in recognizing that you are good enough! We offer support from both our Scotch Plains and Branchburg, NJ-based therapy practices. In addition, we also provide online therapy to the residents of New Jersey. To start your counseling journey, please follow these steps:

  1. Contact Brave Minds Psychological Service
  2. Meet with a caring therapist
  3. Start overcoming procrastination

Other Services Offered in Scotch Plains and Branchburg, NJ

At Brave Minds Psychological Services. For adults, we provide EMDR Therapycouples counseling, postpartum counseling, and birth trauma therapy. As well as counseling for anxietytrauma, and food allergy anxiety. Our services extend beyond adults. Our caring counselors provide mental health services for teens and children. This is why we offer treatment for teen anxietysocial phobia in teenschild sexual abusechild anxiety, and more. Prefer building a support network with group therapy? Our therapists also offer several options for group therapy. Our services are offered in person at our Scotch Plains and Branchburg, NJ offices and through online therapy in New Jersey.


Headshot of Linda Farag. She offers online therapy in New Jersey and Scotch Plains counseling. Contact an online therpaist in New Jersey to learn more.