Now accepting Telehealth appointments. Schedule a virtual visit.
Skip to main content

How to Procrastinate Intentionally

Many of us have heard the warnings about procrastination - the behavior of “delaying” or “postponing” a task, even if there are negative consequences in doing so. Procrastination in its definition, implies that people put things off despite knowing that something bad will happen, yet not all forms of procrastination are the same. Sometimes what we think is procrastination is not procrastination but the phenomenon of intentionally needing pressure to concentrate effectively.

There can certainly be danger in procrastinating medical treatment, mental health treatment, household chores, childcare, sleep and even professional obligations. These forms of delay can interfere with one's safety, daily functioning, interpersonal relationships and financial security. Intervention and support is needed in these cases, as people can fall into cycles of avoidance that are difficult to break. However, When procrastination is limited to specific contexts - it can actually be viewed as a less destructive form of task planning or Intentional Procrastination.

For example, some people need an impending deadline to feel motivated enough to complete really hard tasks - like writing a paper for school, reviewing a presentation for work, or practicing a move for a sports event or performance. Although these condensed periods of concentration lead to success, many can still continue to feel guilt towards delaying their work- to the point of becoming anxious as time passes. 

Procrastinating intentionally - or being convicted in your unique method of time management, can alleviate these feelings of guilt. 

Here are some questions to ask yourself to differentiate between dangerous & intentional procrastination: 

  1. “Have I ever missed a deadline in delaying these types of tasks?” 
  2. “Am I delaying these tasks because I am scared to do them or because I cannot concentrate right now?” 
  3. “Do I have a clear understanding of what needs to be done, and do I believe I can do it?” 
  4. “Is my health or the well-being of others going to be affected by my delaying of these tasks?”
  5. “Do I feel guilty about delaying these tasks, and if so is that because of my own beliefs or the beliefs of those around me?” 

A mental healthcare provider can help you separate dangerous or unhelpful procrastination from intentional procrastination / task planning. If you or a loved one is experiencing an extreme level of concentration difficulties, don’t hesitate to reach out for help & guidance. A trained therapist can utilize assessment and behavioral techniques to help you get back on track.

Siena Vaccara, LMHC Siena Vaccara received her master’s in Mental Health & Psychological Counseling from Columbia University. Siena believes in encouraging personal growth through education, cultural awareness, and building trusting relationships. She utilizes Feminist and Narrative treatment plans, as well as Cognitive Behavioral and Person-Centered techniques in session to incorporate an integrative psychotherapy approach that honors the unique needs of individuals. She understands the importance of the collaborative therapeutic space being non-judgemental, unbiased, open-minded, and strength-driven. Siena treats individuals with concerns ranging from personal transitions to family planning, identity, mood fluctuations, and stressful life events.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Community Building: Fighting Loneliness With Universality 

Therapy emphasizes individual needs, but Community Building is crucial for mental well-being. Engaging with groups combats isolation and promotes universality. Therapists suggest involvement in community activities like volunteering and cultural events.

Intrusive Thoughts: What Are They? When Should I Seek Help?

Intrusive Thoughts are sudden, distressing thoughts that occur during stress, such as violent or inappropriate actions. Seeking help is advisable if these thoughts significantly impact daily life. Therapists can provide support to manage them effectively.

Setting SMART Goals: Easing the Pressure of Expectations

New year brings reflection and goal-setting. SMART Goals framework (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) aids in setting realistic targets and maintaining motivation. Emphasizes self-compassion and flexibility in goal pursuit.