Overcoming Procrastination: Why Managing Emotions is The Key

Let’s admit it, most of us procrastinate.

Alexandra Negulescu
4 min readFeb 25, 2023
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

It’s a common problem.

No matter who or what you have accomplished, it happens to all of us at some point.

The most common ways to procrastinate are:

  • Doing laundry or dishes.
  • Watching a bit more Netflix.
  • Getting caught in the rabbit hole of social media.
  • Or, learning, researching, planning, and strategezing a bit more.

I’m guilty of all of them; I can add more, but you get the idea already.

I’ve tried several techniques for overcoming procrastination, but most are just time-management techniques.

They work if your problem is one of structure and time.

But for some, it goes deeper than this, and you need to address the root of the cause.

That’s how it went for me.

In the last few years, I’ve changed careers, learned new skills, had to speak in front of a class full of people, led people, and started a business. All these changes brought a roller coaster of emotions, which can easily lead me to procrastination.

Procrastination is an Emotion Management Problem

Procrastination happens when we feel negative emotions toward a goal — anxiety, boredom, frustration, or overwhelm.

They may be negative, but they are not bad.

Think about them as a piece of information that wants to be accessed.

They are the way toward a new level of personal growth.

Emotions play a significant role in our decision-making process, and they can either motivate us to take action or hold us back from doing what we need to do.

For example, if you’re anxious about completing a task, you may avoid it altogether to escape the uncomfortable feeling. Similarly, if you find a task boring or uninteresting, you may procrastinate by doing something more enjoyable instead.

It’s essential to manage our emotions when facing tasks that require our attention, especially when we’re prone to procrastination. By becoming more aware of our emotional states and learning to regulate them, we can reduce our tendency to procrastinate and become more productive.

Several common emotional triggers can lead to procrastination:

  1. Fear of failure: Many procrastinate because they fear failing at a task. This fear can be paralyzing, making it difficult to take action and complete the task.
  2. Perfectionism: If you have high standards for yourself, you may procrastinate because you want everything to be perfect. This can lead to overthinking and spending too much time on minor details.
  3. Overwhelm: When we’re faced with a large, complex task, it can be overwhelming. This feeling can cause us to procrastinate because we don’t know where to start or how to proceed.
  4. Lack of motivation: Sometimes, we don’t feel motivated to do something, leading to procrastination. This lack of motivation can be caused by factors such as feeling tired, stressed, or uninterested in the task.
  5. Distractions: With the rise of technology and social media, distractions are everywhere. Procrastination can happen when we get distracted by emails, notifications, or other online activities.
  6. Negative self-talk: When we have negative thoughts about ourselves or our abilities, it can lead to procrastination. We may convince ourselves that we cannot complete the task, so we put it off.

By identifying these emotional triggers, we can become more aware of our procrastination patterns and take steps to manage our emotions effectively.

Techniques for Managing Emotions to Overcome Procrastination

Here are some techniques that can help manage emotions and overcome procrastination:

  1. Mindfulness and meditation: Practicing mindfulness and meditation can help reduce stress and anxiety, which can be major emotional triggers for procrastination. By taking a few minutes each day to focus on the present moment and breathe deeply, you can cultivate a sense of calm and clarity that can help you overcome procrastination.
  2. Working with a coach or therapist: A professional can help you work through negative thought patterns and beliefs. It can effectively overcome procrastination by helping you identify and challenge self-defeating thoughts and beliefs that lead to procrastination.
  3. Time management strategies: Effective time management can help reduce overwhelm and create a sense of structure and control. Techniques such as prioritizing tasks, breaking them down into smaller, manageable steps, and setting deadlines can help manage emotions and overcome procrastination.

Using these techniques teaches you to manage your emotions effectively and overcome procrastination.

However, it’s important to note that everyone’s experience with procrastination differs, and what works for one person may not work for another.

It may take some trial and error to find the techniques that work best for you.

Take away

We can improve our motivation, decision-making, relationships, and overall well-being by developing strategies to manage negative emotions and build resilience.

Although it is not easy to work with your emotions, the benefits of doing this work go beyond learning how to handle procrastination.

It’s helping you achieve your goals.



Alexandra Negulescu

The Multi-Passionate Person | Yoga Teacher & Mindset Coach | I write about entrepreneurship and personal growth. Join 2,2k readers here → https://bit.ly/3INH9os