Do you have the habit of putting things off for later?

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Laundry, unwashed utensils, exercise routine, homework…

I decided to watch a movie first. It wouldn’t hurt if those things are done a bit later. Honestly, I don’t feel like doing any of it now.”

This line of thought is not strange. Because many people tend to procrastinate some or the other time, or all the time. ‘Lazy’, ‘irresponsible’, ‘no discipline’ are some of the labels that are tagged to such people.

We know it’s bad and are guilty about pending tasks, be it studies, work, relationship, family, health. We get temporary relief when we successfully avoid stuff that we don’t want to do. There’s always the last minute to manage them.


Last minute productivity aside, deferring what we ought to do today amounts to deferring living itself. The prick of conscience gives unnecessary anguish and anxiety when we try to avoid doing it. And the task seems intimidating than what it actually is. Last minute outputs often do not employ the full extent of our capabilities, resulting in mediocre performance.

As I was saying, I watched a movie instead, because I have a passion to appreciate them. Incidentally, this movie was about a young boy in primary school who vehemently disliked doing Math homework and regularly received caning at school. He habitually postponed calculations to enjoy other interesting pursuits and slept off without even trying, wilfully forgetting.

That sounds so much like ourselves, doesn’t it? That fetched me some psychological expert opinions in the net. No, I’m not beginning on how to manage your time effectively, how to achieve self-discipline and the like. We would want some deeper and lasting answers.

  • We put off doing things when we lack the desire to do it. Agreeable, right? If you do not have a driving force, a motivation to begin something and keep going till the end, you don’t like bothering. The reason why I ended up watching the movie. I love music as it energises me. Got a speaker and created a playlist of my favourite peppy songs. I didn’t know how time went as all the clothes, plates, homework were done in less than three hours, and I made up for the exercise by moving around and doing some smart rhythmic moves in between my chores. I’m a perfectionist, hence didn’t compromise on the quality of cleanliness and order while completing my tasks.

The resolution: Do what you love to do, what’s exciting for you. Or else, infuse love in what you have to do. Consider the values you uphold as a person and act accordingly.

  • We put off doing things when we have a fear of something. Fear is subjective and can appear in many forms, like fear of uncertainty, pain, lacking self-worth, failure, rejection, hardship etc. To know your fear, you need to ask yourselves why you don’t like doing something. Usually fear sets in on account of misconceptions we are conditioned to believe from a younger age.

In the movie, God asks the boy why he didn’t like Math. Surface reasons/excuses like he is dumb at math, his math teacher hates him, he has to keep up to his reputation as a lousy classmate who is thrown out of class, math is mentally challenging, his parents can’t find time to do homework for him, he is too mischievous to care etc. are overlooked by God. Finally he thinks it over and confesses that once when his teacher ridiculed him for doing a sum wrong on the blackboard, he got scared and pissed through his pants in class. Every time math homework reminded him of this early humiliating experience and suffers from mental block.

Who knows, all of us would have some deep-seated fears like this that make us procrastinate. Realizing what’s at the root of our fear helps resolve the habit. Uncovering subconscious fears is enough to realise that they are baseless and can be worked upon. Knowing yourself is the best knowledge.

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A self-confessed dreamer with a fine mix of sense and non-sense. Her mission is to bring a little more joy into the world. Graduate in English and Communication Studies, she studies at Christ University, Bengaluru.

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