Procrastination is not a mental illness. However, it could be a symptom of many different mental health struggles.

Procrastination can look like this: staring at the to-do list and deciding to do absolutely nothing on it. Facing a deadline at work and deciding it’s the perfect time to reorganize your desktop. Having a difficult phone call to make and then doing anything and everything to avoid making it.

If you find that you are consistently procrastinating, talking to a counselor may help you discern the root cause of your procrastination problem.

The effects of procrastination.

While occasional procrastinating may not have serious consequences, chronic procrastination may lead to serious problems including the following:

  • underperformance in work or school
  • financial difficulties when necessary tasks are avoided
  • poor physical health if one procrastinates the necessary appointments or care

Many people also associate procrastination with laziness. This can create issues with your reputation and reliability. Understanding the root causes of your chronic procrastination may help your tendency to procrastinate.

Specific mental health challenges of procrastination.

If you struggle with depression or anxiety, you might procrastinate. When you have been diagnosed as neurodivergent (ADD, ADHD, or autism), procrastination may be one symptom of your brain’s differences.

When you have a diagnosis, it can be an explanation but not an excuse for procrastination tendencies. You are not simply lazy. Understanding your diagnosis can also help you find solutions that work for you.


The mood you feel is closely linked to procrastination. If you are feeling pressure from bosses or family members, it can keep you from feeling capable. It becomes a vicious cycle where you feel bad so you procrastinate, and then procrastinating makes you feel bad and it just feeds itself. Learning to let go of high expectations may help you move forward.


Lack of confidence or the fear of failure may lead to procrastinating things. Your anxiety about success becomes a hindrance to success. Perfectionistic anxiety may also lead to procrastination. Learning how to accept imperfection may help you move forward with tasks and projects.


In a season of depression, you may have an internal struggle with motivation and low self-esteem. Simple tasks seem to require Herculean effort. This sheer effort then causes you to procrastinate. Allow yourself the time you need to accomplish a task, not the time others tell you it should take.

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

One of the struggles of ADHD is time management. This can mean poor estimation of the amount of time a project will take, or being easily distracted when not engaged in the project. That tendency can make it seem like you are procrastinating.

Tips to overcome procrastination.

Try applying these tips when you are tempted to procrastinate. Yet don’t hesitate to reach out for more help from a qualified Christian counselor if you feel stuck.

Find accountability.

A friend, a partner, a loved one, or a counselor may be able to help you stay on track. Try to be specific about the role you need that person to play. They may need to be a cheerleader on the sidelines and have regular check-ins and reminders with you.

It may be a situation in which you would benefit from some expert coaching or light encouragement. Knowing how your accountability partner can help you will set you up to succeed in your endeavors at overcoming procrastination.

Figure out what motivates you.

This looks different for everyone depending on your goals and interests. While having a clean living room is enough motivation for some people, you may need a reward at the end. Positive feedback at the end or even during a project could help push through the stressful parts. Possibly using a reward system for yourself could be helpful.

Figure out your triggers.

Understanding yourself is a huge part of working through procrastination. There may be a lack of routine, a stressful situation, or an overarching mental health issue that needs to be addressed. Consider your diet and sleep habits.

There may be changes you could make that would improve the health of your body. If you always procrastinate on a specific task like laundry or phone calls, you can think about making changes to the setup or system you currently use.

Break down bigger tasks into smaller steps.

The sheer scope of a task may be the thing that keeps you from starting. Creating an action plan of small steps can help you accomplish great things. It may help you to start a to-do list with a few things you have already done for the day. Seeing a few finished things (simple ones like, “Get out of bed” and “Make a to-do list”) may give you momentum toward completing other tasks.

Forgive yourself when you fail.

This is a marathon, not a sprint. You will not overcome chronic procrastination in a short period. Give yourself grace and ask others to give you grace as you work through this challenge in your life. Set the bar low for success.

Carefully manage expectations.

Trying to live up to other people’s expectations of you can be discouraging. You do not need to live someone else’s life but live yours. If you do not have value in making your bed every day, do not let yourself feel bad about that.

There are certain expectations you may need to meet because of jobs and living with others. However, there are parts of life that can be lived on your terms. Set aside the shame and guilt that comes with trying to live up to other people’s expectations.

Bible words to encourage you.

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.Proverbs 12:25, NIV

Speak kind words to yourself, and ask for kind words from your friends and family.

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. – Hebrews 12:11, NIV

Often the first steps out of procrastination are the hardest. With diligent practice, you will begin to enjoy results.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.Galatians 6:9, NIV

The results of diligence are not going to be seen immediately, yet little by little they will become apparent.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10, NIV

God knows the ways you struggle, and he not only forgives you, but he also offers to strengthen you.

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.Psalm 34:17-18, NIV

There is no need to hide your struggle from God.

Quotes to inspire you.

“Never put off till tomorrow what may be done the day after tomorrow just as well.” – Mark Twain

“Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can’t invent new minutes. And you can’t save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow.” – Denis Waitley

“‘Procrastination is not Laziness,’ I tell him. ‘It is fear. Call it by its right name, and forgive yourself.’” – Julia Cameron, The Prosperous Heart

Counseling for procrastination.

As you strive to improve your quality of life, acknowledge that you may deal with procrastination as a symptom of mental health. Talk with your counselor about the ways you deal with procrastination. Your counselor can help you come up with practical solutions. You can reach out today to connect with a counselor.

“To Do List”, Courtesy of Annie Spratt,, CC0 License; “Start Making Changes”, Courtesy of Brett Jordan,, CC0 License; “Silhouettes”, Courtesy of Lance Grandahl,, CC0 License; “Lonely Road”, Courtesy of Paul Fiedler,, CC0 License


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