Is procrastination a sign of depression?

This article will discuss if procrastinating is a sign of depression. For that, the article will explain briefly what it means to procrastinate, and what depression is. Along with that, the article will show why people with depression tend to procrastinate, and what are ways for them to cope with this.

Is procrastination a sign of depression?

Yes, procrastination can be a sign of depression. When a person is depressed they tend to avoid doing things and leave plans behind. Doing what they need to, sometimes even getting out of bed, can be a lot of work.

There are many reasons why a person with depression will procrastinate. This article will discuss this, but first, let’s discuss exactly what procrastination and depression are.

What is procrastination? 

Procrastination is what happens when a person has trouble persuading themselves to do things they need to, or that they want to. Instead, you focus on doing other trivial events.

For example, you might need to study for a test, but you can procrastinate and watch tv instead. In the same way, you may avoid meeting your friends, even though you want to, and just focus on watching tv instead.

What is depression? 

Depression is a mental illness that causes a person to have a negative view of the world and themselves. They can be taken over by intense sadness, loss of interest in doing things they love, and lack of ability to focus and energy.

When a person is depressed, they tend to have low self-esteem and a decreased sense of self-worth. Depression also causes people to change their eating and sleeping patterns, along with that, they isolate themselves and can feel more irritable and guilty.

People with depression can experience fatigue, many pains, and headaches not related to organic reasons, as well as showing intense hopelessness, and having suicidal thoughts when they feel like there is no other way out.

Why do people with depression usually procrastinate? 

With all that said, it is possible to affirm that procrastination can be a sign of depression, especially when it is present in all aspects of a person’s life. Let’s discuss why that is.

The first reason why people with depression can procrastinate is that they lose interest in doing things. This can cause a person with depression to procrastinate even the things they would have found fun before. 

And that can cause them to avoid committing to attend an event because they fear they won’t be able to go.

People with depression can also feel like the activities are too hard for them to do. They can spend a lot of time overthinking how to do something, to a point they just give up. 

This can also happen because people with depression can usually have in their mind the “what is the point”. This causes them to procrastinate doing things because it doesn’t seem to bring any difference to how they feel.

They also have a hard time planning for doing things, and this is due to their difficulty focusing. When you can’t focus, it might be harder for you to try and prioritize, and this can turn your tasks into overwhelming ones. Different from when you establish small goals to do at a time.

Depression also causes people to isolate themselves. And this can make people procrastinate doing things that are related to being in touch with other people, such as doing phone calls, going to work, or even going to a therapy session.

People with depression can also have a decreased sense of self-worth and lower self-esteem. This can make them question how capable they are of doing things. This can make them procrastinate as well. 

It can even make them lie about doing things, that happens because they can feel extremely guilty about not being able to do things, but they just can’t convince themselves of being capable.

Now let’s discuss what ways people with depression can avoid procrastinating.

How do people with depression cope with procrastination? 

There are some ways people with depression can cope with procrastinating. When a person with depression is procrastinating, it might be hard for them to identify they are doing it. But it might be important for people around them to try and show how they are procrastinating.

Although this may seem hard, try to show them how they are avoiding doing things. This needs to be a compassionate and caring conversation. In it, you can ask what are the barriers they are facing, and in what way you can help. 

Setting more realistic and short-term plans can be extremely important for a person with depression that is procrastinating. It can help them plan better, set their priorities, and purpose. Along with that, it will allow you to focus on doing things step by step. 

When you manage to do something, give yourself recognition for it. Value your actions and achievements. Having that notion of how positive doing things was, will make you more motivated to do more. 

If you are depressed and find it hard to do things, it might be important to look for professional help. Sometimes medication may be needed, it can reduce the intensity of your depressive symptoms, which can allow you to move a little easier.

Along with that, it might be important to look for therapy. Having therapy sessions can help you to discover new strategies to manage your depression, and it might also help you change your mindset to a more positive view.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Is procrastination a sign of depression? 

What causes depression? 

Depression can be caused by some factors. It can be related to a trauma that a person is experiencing. This can be the loss of a loved one or the end of a relationship. 

Not only that, a person that has a family history of depression, or that has gone through a depressive episode before, has a higher chance of getting depressed. Along with that, a person can develop depression because they have an imbalance in their brain chemistry.

What are the four types of procrastination? 

There are four types of procrastination and they can be related to each personality type. The first one is the person that does the work, but usually says they work better under pressure. 

This makes them take action only when there is very little time left. These people think that the hardest part is to get started. And to cope with this tait, it might be important to just set a date to start, and how you are going to begin it. 

There is also the type of people that procrastinate because they are too lazy at the moment. If you behave like that, you tend to work extra hard when doing a task. But it might be that you are blaming laziness for how tired you are. 

For you, it is important to take breaks, even though you think there isn’t any time for that. But what you need to keep in mind is that recharging can make it easier for you to go back to work. Some people procrastinate because they say they are too busy to do the things they need to. 

Those people can have a full schedule and are often overwhelmed. This may indicate you are avoiding doing things, and it might be easier to say you are busy than admitting you don’t want to do it. To deal with it, you might want to ask yourself what are you trying to avoid and why?

The fourth type of procrastination is the one in which the person is constantly looking for novelty. Those people usually start a new project but give up on it a week later. 

They can be constantly burned out by how much they invest in something to just quit it. And their hardest task is to complete something, but for that, they should write down their ideas to help them create a commitment to it. 

Is procrastination related to anxiety? 

Yes. Having an anxiety disorder causes you to feel overwhelmed, and worry about how you will be able to do things. Because those thoughts are so intense, they can cause you to procrastinate as a way to avoid the frustrations that can come from doing your tasks

Anxiety also leaves you in constant fear and impacts your self-esteem. It causes low self-esteem, which can make you feel as if you are incapable of doing things. Because you feel like you won’t be able to do things, you can also start to procrastinate to avoid dealing with failure.

How do I stop procrastinating? 

The first thing to think about once you realize you have been procrastinating is to understand why this has been happening. Question yourself if you are trying to avoid something, if you are just tired, or if you are having trouble starting. Once you discover why you have been procrastinating, forgive yourself for that.

Look at yourself through compassionate eyes, and understand that this can happen at times, the most important thing is to not surrender to it. And the main rule is to just get started, set a date, choose the things you will do first, and just stick to it. 

What is the difference between being lazy and procrastinating?

While people may confuse procrastination and laziness as the same thing, it is important to understand how they are different. Procrastination is an active process. You choose to not do something, even though you know you should be.

Procrastination is usually related to avoiding something unpleasant, in favor of doing something more pleasurable. As for laziness, it is something usually more related to inactivity, apathy, and being unwilling to act. 

While procrastination is usually related to a particular task, laziness is something that causes you to not want to do anything. Even though it is normal to procrastinate a little, giving into that idea can make you feel guilty or cause your productivity to be lower.

If procrastination becomes a habit, it can be a sign of some mental illness, such as anxiety or depression. It can also make you feel even less motivated, and cause you to question your need and joy for work.


This article discussed the relationship between procrastination and depression. It explained briefly what procrastination and depression are, and how procrastination can happen often when a person with depression. Along with that, the article showed what are ways that people can cope with procrastination when depressed.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write it in the section below.


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