Identifying the underlying issues of why we procrastinate

Have you ever found yourself intending to clean the bathroom, visit a sibling, or send your car for repairs but keep putting it off?

This is known as procrastination, and everyone experiences it from time to time. However, if you find you’re constantly dodging doing planned tasks, there could be some serious underlying issues.


You may get tense because you have to deal with something you don’t want to. Delaying the chore gives you temporary relief. However, you still have to tackle the task someday in the future.

As well as feeling guilty and irritated, this can also heighten your stress levels. If the situation becomes overwhelming, the following symptoms will manifest:

  • Insomnia
  • No peace of mind
  • Fatigue and loss of focus
  • Headaches or muscle tension

If you notice these symptoms, do some light exercise, cut down your intake of alcohol and caffeine, and try to get enough sleep by going to bed early.

Seek advice from your friends or doctor if the situation persists.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Your behaviour can be affected by ADHD. People who experience ADHD struggle to reach decisions, or complete tasks on schedule.

Some are quick-tempered and cannot focus because of surrounding activities while others experience extreme difficulty in planning even the most mundane of tasks.

Symptoms of ADHD include daydreaming, being easily distracted, being negligent, taking unnecessary risks, and anxiety.

It is suggested that anyone diagnosed with ADHD, take prescribed medications, or undergo cognitive-behavioural therapy.


One becomes anxious when the brain overreacts. You begin to think the worst will happen although there is nothing to fear.

Anxiety results in one spending too much energy fretting about family issues, finance, health, and daily tasks. You can also feel tired, sleepless, peevish, or suffer from tension in the muscles.

Here are some ways to alleviate an anxiety attack:

  • Take 10 slow, deep breaths.
  • Try to fill your mind with positive, instead of negative thoughts.
  • Get some rest.
  • Do regular exercise.
  • Eat your meals on time.


Depression is not just an emotional state; it can also change your brain’s chemistry. When depressed, you may feel too tired to do anything, even if it’s a hobby or a favourite activity.

You no longer want to engage in any activity because you feel helpless or self-critical. You may also feel a deep sense of sadness lingering around you. Some lose appetite and begin to lose weight or get angry easily.

In some cases, people with depression even consider suicide.


If you don’t get enough sleep (less than six hours), your brain will get distracted and begin to suffer from diminished concentration span. Therefore, it will become common that you cannot remember the things that need to get done.

You must ensure you get more sleep is you experience the following:

  • dozing off frequently during movies or when reading
  • bouts of irritability
  • difficulty waking up in the morning

This article first appeared in and was reviewed by Dr Duyen Le. The Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.