Procrastination, a Matter of Emotional Management

According to the lawyer and motivational speaker Mel Robbins, procrastination is a form of stress relief. In fact, the act of delaying tasks has nothing to do with work but with emotions.

The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou

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The people who struggle more with procrastinating are Ph.D. students, engineers, and entrepreneurs. The reason is that they are people who have a lot on their plate and have a lot of things that they need to juggle. Analytics and thinkers, by nature, are most likely to put off tasks until the last minute.

Procrastination is like carrying around a dark cloud, thinking that you are not going to make it. The issue is not delaying tasks but being stressed and wanting to avoid those negative feelings. As Robbins explains, the real reason why people procrastinate is that they need a little break.

The expert gives the example of a person that rather look at videos and online shopping instead of working. The subject is not procrastinating because it's a lazy person, but because stress about something else makes them worry, like, for example, having a difficult financial situation. By focusing on other things, this person's mind is, in fact, trying to distract them and give them a break from all the stress of that overwhelming issue.

Here it's crucial to address the reason that's underneath procrastinating. To do so, the first step is to forgive yourself. Coming back to the stress scenario regarding a financial situation, that thought keeps the person from doing the small things that will actually fix their finances.

On the other hand, procrastination can become a habit. When someone is triggered by stress, the pattern is to delay things. To avoid this, it's essential to create what Robbins calls a "starting ritual," which means counting from one to five and start doing what you need to finish that day.


If you are stressed, try working for five minutes without interruption. This way, you are more likely to keep going. The trick is starting. Remember: The trigger is stress, and the response is procrastination.

Many think that only lazy and unorganized people struggle with procrastination. However, that is not true. Psychologists point out that the problem is not knowing how to manage our own emotions.

According to Case Western Reserve University in Ohio researchers, the tasks we delay tend to cause us discomfort. Consequently, to feel better, we replace those tasks with things that distract us from negative feelings. Although this can seem like an effective method in the short term, it can be very damaging in the future.

Procrastination can cause severe consequences physically and mentally. For this reason, experts recommend learning to identify the emotions that make us delay things to break this habit.

In conclusion, research relates procrastination as a way to avoid doing something. The secret here is learning how to handle that stress and start taking action. Putting things on the back burner is a stress response, and if we don't know how to manage it, we might find ourselves in a labyrinth with no way out.

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