Procrastination is a frustrating trait, especially when you find it in others. Why people procrastinate is a complex question. But I have met many people who procrastinate most of the time.
Explaining why people procrastinate, psychologist Professor Clarry Lay, a prominent writer on the subject, says: “Procrastination occurs when there’s a temporal gap between intended behavior and enacted behavior.” That is, when there’s a significant time period between when people intend to do a job, and when they actually do it.
In his 1986 article “At Last, My Research Article on Procrastination”, published in the Journal of Research on Personality, Lay noted that procrastinatory behavior is independent of need for achievement, energy, or self-esteem.
In other words, you may be a procrastinator even if you’re confident in your own abilities, energetic, and enjoy achieving things, Lay observed.
Procrastination, as they say, is a habit – a deeply ingrained pattern of behavior. That means that you won’t just break it overnight. Here is a small story about a couple and what I found in their handwriting.
Priya and Sameer, both in their late 30s, were going steady for about 10 years. But they frequently fought. They were quarrelling even when they came to see me to discuss the delay in their marriage.
Sameer’s complaint: Priya has been postponing it. Her grievance: he has been insisting on tying the knot before she “settles” in her career. Sameer saw no merit in her argument because he thought she was pretty settled as a senior manager with an MNC.
When I looked at their handwriting samples, I discovered Priya was procrastinating about the marriage (indicated by the lower case t’s). Her t-bars stopped much before the stem (pic A). As a result, she never lived “before due date” and hardly finished any work on time. She was frequently slapped late-payment charges on her mobile and credit card bills.
I suggested her to cross her t’s with firm pressure (pic B). She refused and stomped out of the room. I was not surprised: her handwriting also showed she was impulsive and stubborn.
If keep wondering why people procrastinate and you’ve found yourself postponing important tasks over and over again, you’re not alone. Many people procrastinate to some degree – but some are so affected by procrastination that it stops them fulfilling their potential and disrupts their careers.
If you also procrastinate like Priya and find your t-bars incomplete, cross it properly. The exercise is probably the easiest possible way to help you get rid of the frustrating habit. Try it out. However, if you are a smart person who finishes his work on time, at least you know why people procrastinate and suggest them some changes in their handwriting.