Why Procrastination Sucks (explained in pictures)

by Vlad Dolezal on May 9, 2009

I get a lot of questions from people saying “But is procrastination really that bad?”

Yes, it is. And today, I’m going to explain why, using pictures.

What is procrastination

First let’s clear up some confusion about procrastination. Would you consider sleeping at night procrastination?

No? Then there’s no reason why you should consider having fun, or going out with friends procrastination either. They’re all natural parts of being human, and we need them to lead happy healthy lives.

As Benjamin Franklin said:

An ideal day consists of 8 hours work, 8 hours play, and 8 hours rest.

And that’s where the problem comes in. Procrastination is neither productive, nor fun, nor restful.

I mean, would you spend hours on facebook, checking your e-mails, and browsing news sites if you didn’t feel that you had to be doing something? Of course not! You might spend half an hour on them, but then you’d turn off the computer and go have some REAL fun instead!

Procrastination happens when you feel that you should be working… but you only confuse being busy with being productive. The fact is, taking a break, and having some fun with friends is often more productive than just sitting around! Sure, it doesn’t feel like work, but that’s a good thing!

Why procrastination sucks

For the purpose of this article, I decided to lump play and rest into the same category, calling it “Fun & Rest”. Here’s what an average person’s day might look like:


See the problem? Procrastination is not only unproductive. It also seriously eats away at your Fun & Rest time.

Ideally, you’d get rid of procrastination, and spend all your time either on Work, or Fun & Rest. When you’d start getting tired, you would take a break, instead of trying to push through it, and ending up spending two hours being busy without accomplishing anything.

In short, your day would look like this:


Now that’s a lot more fun, isn’t it? 😉

What to do about procrastination

So what to do? Most importantly, first recognize that you’re procrastinating. If in doubt, ask the following two questions:

  1. Am I being productive?
  2. Do I really want to be doing this?

If you’re not sure about the second question, take a short break, just 1 or 2 minutes. Often you need to break your current state to see that you’re really just stuck in mindless web-browsing mode, or similar.

If you are procrastinating, just stop, and go do something completely unrelated. Because fun and rest are much better ways of spending your time than procrastination. Every single time.

Have fun!