From Extreme Procrastination to Failing to Act at All

You’re not lazy. This is why you’re stopped.

Lisa Daum
13 min readDec 18, 2019


Photo by Charles on Unsplash

There’s a big difference between regular old procrastination and failing to act at all. Another name for regular procrastinators is deadline driven. They may start later than some others may like them to, but they make their deadlines and do good work. It’s not a problem, but a particular style of working. I explore that further in the piece below.

Unfortunately some of us are dealing with something that’s disguised as procrastination, but is a completely different animal. We think it’s procrastination because we tell ourselves we’ll do it tomorrow, but the next day rolls around and something else happens. We think we’re lazy. We’ve been told that over and over and now we say it to ourselves. We’re afraid to act and afraid of what will happen if we don’t. In the meantime we watch our lives circle the drain and can’t get ourselves to do anything about it. We fear we’re like this because something, we don’t know what, is wrong with us.

We try to distract ourselves from all this fear by:

  • Constant TV watching
  • Letting time slide away on social media
  • Doing low value chores or errands before or instead of important tasks
  • Helping others with their projects or problems instead of working on our own
  • Over preparing or over researching without taking action
  • Putting tasks off to a more “appropriate” time, such as first thing in the morning because you’re too tired, it’s too late in the day to start now, or you’re not feeling motivated.

We look back at the end of the day, the week, the month, or the year and regret how we spent it. As a result we start to loathe ourselves. This is agonizing so we distract ourselves from our pain with these same unproductive behaviors. There’s a comfort in the sameness and consistency even if it’s leading us nowhere good.



Lisa Daum

I love animals, reading, and writing. Also a student of human nature. People are weird, but it makes us interesting. Email me: