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Procrastination is the practice of intentionally putting off the doing of something that should be done.


Procrastination is the act of putting something that should be done off to a future time, similar to dilatoriness. The word procrastination entered the English language in the 1540s, from French procrastination, and directly from Latin procrastinationem (nominative procrastinatio), meaning "a putting off from day to day."

Procrastinationem is an action noun derived from the past participle stem of procrastinare, which means "to put off till tomorrow; defer, delay" from the Latin prefix pro-, meaning forward, and crastinus, "of tomorrow," from cras "tomorrow," a word of unknown origin. Procrastinare means moving or acting slowly so as to fall behind or be delayed, implying also culpability, as it is generally connoted with laziness or apathy.

Correlation with stress and illness
Possible costs

Procrastination has been linked to various mental health problems. A study completed in 1984 found that procrastination was significantly correlated with depression, irrational beliefs, low self-esteem, anxiety, and poor study habits. However, the scale the authors of this study used to measure procrastination operationalized it as dilatory behavior accompanied by negative affect about the dilatory behavior, meaning there is a possibility that certain people may procrastinate without experiencing adverse consequences.

Another study found that anxiety levels in procrastinators who have delayed studying spike up close to the exam period. In addition, researchers have frequently found a link between dejection and procrastination and showed that dejection is an outcome of procrastination (as opposed to a cause). It was also reported that scores on a procrastination scale were positively correlated with measures of perceived stress, negative life events, and daily hassles. On the whole, a variety of evidence suggests that procrastination is linked to negative mental health outcomes.

Possible benefits

Some procrastinators might claim that even though they may suffer more than other people close to a deadline, that may conceal a pattern of stress experienced by nonprocrastinators, who worry and labor intensely at an earlier stage. Thus, procrastinators may be subjected to stress late, whereas others are subjected to it early, but the total amount of stress could be similar for both groups. In some cases, procrastinators may even suffer less because of their tendency to contain stress in a short period.


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