Apart from our first predictor – impulsivity, what else might contribute to a pattern of procrastination?

Lifes Dealings

I suspect there will be little argument when I say:
In all sorts of ways, life can dish out an ungodly number of “no’s” and failure. I’m thinking things like …
* Relationship collapses
* Workplace miscarriages
* Family system injury
* Church and community tragedy
* Loss

Even though people show up with an innate wellspring of aspiration, they will eventually succumb to this steady stream of re-buffs. It takes especially resilient people to rise above relentless negativity. Little wonder in life, we begin to expect or fear failure – even before we start.

Learned Helplessness

“Learned helpless” is connected to quickly giving up. The underlying cause is diminished self confidence, which makes it difficult to invest in demanding work, whether it be school or college related, vocational, church or family related.

Within the last 30-40 years, numbers of research experiments using dogs have taken place in order to study learned helplessness. It is recognised that their findings easily translate across to we humans.

Essentially, like the dogs in the experiments, not being appropriately encouraged around life’s failures (especially in early life, home, classroom or school yard), we begin to believe the world is not set up for our success. By subtly expecting to fail, we make failure a certainty. We fail to dig in and try, to see it through – and the end result is … more procrastination.


So, how do I actually anticipate things to pan out, (conversations, tasks, assignments, expectations, initiatives)?

If you are procrastinating school work or studies, most likely you consider the assignment difficult. If you are procrastinating about getting healthier by starting a program or buy eating better, most likely you question your ability to follow through.
What is my truer story about expectancy?

Expectancy forms the core of self-confidence and optimism. Expectancy is there when we can say …
“I am confident my efforts will be rewarded”
“Succeeding is within my control”

But if you start to believe your desires and goals are not achievable, you stop effectively pursuing them. Procrestinators are typically less confident, especially about the goals they are putting off.

And so the 2nd predictor of Procrastination is … “Expectancy” .

Expectancy: what you expect to happen, will happen
Expectancy becomes another variable in the procrastination equation.

Good news is … low expectancy can be altered. Its treatable.


(Ref: Peirs Steel 2011)