Anxiety and Procrastination (A Complete Guide)

Usually everyone experiences anxiety and procrastination in his daily life and others have made it their usual way of doing things, and most are in the middle of these.

Procrastination leaves an individual powerless, anxious and frustrated. Rest or sleep patterns can get infrequent, eating habits become undesirable, and exercise routine becomes irregular.

These behavior patterns make a person vulnerable to suffer from some kind of psychological illnesses.

Likewise, numerous individuals who look for treatment for their anxiety frequently accept that procrastination plays a huge role throughout their life.

In this article the relationship between anxiety and procrastination will be explored. 


Anxiety is referred to extreme worry or fear of something. It is the normal response of an individual in the face of stress or tension.

Anxiety affects a person’s ability to focus or concentrate on his everyday activities. 

Symptoms of Anxiety

The main symptoms of anxiety are

  • Irritation
  • Nervousness
  • Fast breathing
  • Lack of sleep
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Lack of attention
  • Heart palpitations
  • Loss of self control

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Causes of Anxiety

The factors influencing anxiety are comprised of 

  • Psychological factors: These factors include stress, depression or any other type of psychological stressors or illnesses.
  • Environmental factors: These factors are present in our surroundings. Any fearful or traumatic experience can cause anxiety.
  • Biological factors: These factors are mainly our genes which move from generation to generation. A defective gene or if a blood related member in the family has an anxiety gene then it can be responsible for causing anxiety disorder in other family members. 
  • Alcohol or drug addiction: The excessive use of alcohol or drugs causes anxiety. 


Procrastination is defined as the intentional delaying or avoiding doing a task which needs to be accomplished at a given time.

It is also referred to as a force which stops people from performing their activities that they must have to complete on a given deadline.

For example a person has an assignment or a project which should be completed in two days.

The person finds it difficult to start the project and delays it for some time but at the end of two days the person finds himself wasting time in other activities.

The project is still incomplete. This is procrastinating behavior.  

Types of Procrastinators

There are mainly six types of people who use procrastination. These types are explained below.

  1. The Perfectionist

The perfectionists are hesitant to begin or finish a task since they don’t need anything to be less than perfection.

A perfectionist person gives an excessive amount of consideration to detail and thinks that the task has to be completed perfectly which should have no mistakes or flaws.

The feeling of getting a perfect task with complete details makes a perfectionist person overwhelmed that is why these types of people do procrastination.

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  1. The Worrier

The worriers have an over the top need for security, making them fear the failure.

They are feared of any change which makes them abstain from completing activities. They are actually afraid of or anxious about doing a task.

  1. The Over-Doer

The over-doer person has difficulty in making decisions. They think that they can do everything but they can’t.

They help other people a lot but can’t find time to complete their own tasks.  

  1. The Crises Maker

Some types of people perceive themselves to be the crisis maker.

They think that they have the ability to do work best under pressure so they leave the task for the last moment. 

  1. The Dreamer

The dreamers, interestingly, don’t give enough consideration to detail so they can have a wide range of good thoughts of what they need to do, yet they don’t want to give much attention to their ideas or thoughts. 

  1. The Defier

The defier types of people are rebellious. They set their own rules or schedules to do a task.

They say they will finish a task on their own time but they don’t complete it. 

Anxiety and Procrastination

Avoiding or delaying tasks results in procrastination which in turn causes anxiety.

Anxiety and procrastination has a relationship with each other and this relationship gets stronger with the passage of time.

Anxiety sometimes becomes severe or so uncontrollable that an individual has to get relief from it and he perceives that leaving things incomplete is the only option. 

Previous literature has suggested that both anxiety and procrastination influence each other but anxiety has more influence on procrastination.

A study reported that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) causes procrastination.

For example a person suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder washes his hands again and again and his recurrent thoughts are compelling him to repeat this behavior again and again, this results in keeping away the person from finishing his important task that needs to be done. 

Anxiety and procrastination are related in a way that anxiety manifests itself usually in the form of unhappiness or depression.

If an individual is continuously putting off something because of his anxiety, he may end up accusing his accomplice, collaborators, or parents for his inaction as opposed to recognizing his anxiety. 

There may be a degree to which others are adding to a person’s anxiety and procrastination.

Yet concentrating on this can stop a person from accepting his responsibility and give him a reason not to do the positive activities that are accessible to him.

Factors Responsible for Anxiety and Procrastination

  1. Perfectionist Personality Trait

The previous findings have reported that perfectionism is the factor which contributes to anxiety and procrastination.

An individual’s characteristic of perfectionism makes it difficult to handle his procrastination.

The individual may believes that his perfectionist personality trait is a positive characteristic.

In any case, setting high standards for yourself can keep you away from finishing your undertakings and can frequently cause feelings of failure.

It may also be the fact that an individual might be unconsciously procrastinating while doing a task because of his perfectionist personality trait.

  1. Feeling Overwhelmed 

At the point when an individual is confronted with a huge number of tasks to be done.

Sometimes procrastination can be an indication that a person basically doesn’t have the idea where to start his task.

By putting work beside makes a person feels relax or better for some time.

However delaying tasks for long periods of time will probably add more anxiety and procrastination in life.

  1. Fear of Disappointment or Failure

Fear of disappointment or lacking execution is a typical reason of delaying. Individuals figure their outcomes won’t be adequate, so they simply delay any task to attempt it.

From undergrads to high profile officers, the mindset is the equivalent.

They think that they don’t have the ability to perform at the certain degree that other people and they themselves anticipate from them.

As a result of this fear people delay their decisions, tasks or activities. 

So the strategy is to abstain from taking part in an activity that will result in anxiety and procrastination.

  1. Avoiding Bad End Result

Numerous individuals avoid handling a task because they fear what the final consequence may be and they think it will be difficult for them to face it.

This fear of getting bad results increases more anxiety and procrastination. For instance an individual is feared of making a meeting with a psychologist that could result in misdiagnosis of his illness.

If the end result may be disappointment or anxiety then the procrastination helps individuals to abstain from confronting the reality by delaying or not starting the task at all.

  1. Lack of Interest or Engagement

This activity has no worth. Lack of interest or engagement is the reason for procrastination. It means that the individuals think that the project or task isn’t important and has no value.

Although people stop to perform their duty, they need to carry out the responsibility in any case.

The issue is that if there is no motivation for individuals to do the task, it becomes difficult to perform it.

Steps to Cope with Anxiety and Procrastination

  • Try not to break it down. Try not to consider the final product.
  • If somebody can’t begin a task because he hasn’t broken the task into little parts, and hasn’t made a proper plan for completing the task. An individual should try to start a task by breaking down it into small breakable parts and make a layout. At that point, take the first step and follow the other steps. As the individual moves forward doing a task it becomes easier for him to complete all the tasks. This strategy will result in mental satisfaction and help in reducing anxiety and procrastination.
  • Don’t get afraid of failure. Anticipate the success. By doing this the anxiety and procrastination will be reduced.
  • Fix an incentive or reward for yourself to complete the task.
  • Use coping strategies to manage anxiety when you are doing tasks.
  • Replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Positive thinking has a strong effect on the mood, makes a person feel happiness or enjoy the moment. When an individual completes the task it makes him feel less anxious.


Anxiety and Procrastination is a normal attitude of individuals. It is influenced by anxiety but it has also the capacity to add in more anxiety.

It is an issue that should be and needed to be settled, in light of the fact that doing so will prevent the reappearance of the anxiety next time.

Initiating a step might be difficult but it has long term positive benefits.

By following the necessary steps will help in reducing anxiety and procrastination. 


How do I stop procrastinating anxiety?

By following these steps the anxiety and procrastination can be reduced.

– Try to make small parts of the task that needs to be done on time and start from the first step and follow others.

– Fix an incentive or reward for yourself to complete the task.

– Use coping strategies to manage anxiety when you are doing tasks.

How do you know you are procrastinating?

There are some signs which indicate that a person is procrastinating. These signs are

– When you have unsure goals

– Feel burdened

– Have difficulty in giving attention

– Thinking negatively 

– Experience issues in starting or completing a task

– Feel bored

– Have impractical objectives

– Feel fear of failure

Why do I leave everything to the last minute?

Numerous studies have suggested the reasons behind procrastination.

These are fear of failure, avoiding bad end results and lack of interest or engagement.

Is procrastination bad for your health?

Although procrastination makes a person feel relaxed for some period of time but it causes anxiety and stress.

It is also responsible for physical health issues such as headache, cardiovascular problems or high blood pressure etc. 


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