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Paul has a deadline looming in two hours. He's had the project on his desk for two weeks now, but never seemed to get to it. Now he's feeling stressed and worried that not only won't he get it in on time but that it won't be acceptable. He is beating himself up for once again waiting until the last minute to complete a project. This seems to be an ongoing habit.
Chuck has a project due at the same time, but he's not worried. His boss should know by now that projects get done when they get done… or are reassigned to someone else. He has more important things to do than jump every time he's told to. He has been called into the office several times now for his lack of attention to work, but why should he waste his time and energy on something someone else is capable of doing?
Both Paul and Chuck have issues with getting work completed on time, but there is a major difference between the two of them. One is a procrastinator… and the other is simply lazy.
Today we will take a look at the difference between these two conditions, which many people confuse as being the same.
What is Procrastination?
Procrastination is defined as the action of putting something off until a later time by making unnecessary tasks a priority. This generally leads to feeling stressed about a time crunch and feeling guilty about not starting sooner. The delay isn't intentional, it just seems difficult to get started.
Procrastination is often a matter of poor planning. Unfortunately, it often leads to bad consequences, both physically and emotionally.
What Is Laziness?
Laziness is defined as being unwilling to put forth the necessary effort to do a task. It is often associated with being undisciplined, unmotivated, and lacking self-control. The person knows there will be consequences, but they often don't care.
In their mind, the task just isn't worth the time and effort it takes to complete it. Thus, any stress that comes with laziness is usually having to deal with the consequences of being reprimanded for being late with a task or not producing at all.
Procrastination, Laziness, and Personality Type
Everyone has the potential to both procrastinate and give in to laziness. Your personality type has a lot to do with which one is most likely to occur. Every personality type has its own way of approaching necessary tasks. Each one also has a different reason to either disregard the task or put it off until the last minute.
The INFP personality is considered to be the laziest of the personality types. They can be very productive when they have the urge, but this personality type likes doing things in their own time and doesn't like being tied to schedules. They are not easily motivated by things that motivate most people such as money or success.
When it comes to procrastination, the INFJ personality wears the crown. The INFJ personality is often rushed at the last minute to complete a task. They want to succeed and get things done but tend to procrastinate because they are perfectionists. They fear their work won't be good enough. This personality type is often prone to anxiety, which is a major factor in procrastination.
Procrastination VS Laziness – 7 Differences
Procrastination and laziness may look alike, but the two have some major differences. Today, we are going to look at the seven major ways these two differ.
1. Willingness to do the task
A person who procrastinates wants to do the task, and they want to do it to the best of their ability. Unfortunately, they may have doubts about their ability. Their fear of failure makes them overthink the project as they are doing mindless tasks to avoid getting started.
A lazy person doesn't think the task is worth doing. They don't want to expend the energy doing it and may even disregard it as something that doesn't merit spending any time on. They have tasks they find more worthy of their time to do.
2. Whether the task eventually gets completed
The procrastinator will work tirelessly to see that the task is completed once they get started. They will stress over completing it in time so that they don't look bad. The procrastinator is a master at pulling all-nighters when it is necessary, and it is necessary often.
When a person is lazy, the task may languish uncompleted for months, never getting completed. They have the philosophy that if the task is so important, someone else can handle it as they go about doing things they find more interesting. They will complete the task if necessary but will often do so grudgingly.
3. A matter of choice
Procrastinators don't consciously choose to wait until the last minute. Often, things like exhaustion, anxiety, or depression set roadblocks and they literally can't bring themselves to get motivated enough to get started and complete the task.
For the lazy person, leaving the task unfinished is a matter of choice. It is something they find uninteresting, unimportant, and not worth the time and effort.
4. What feelings are involved
Procrastination comes with a host of bad feelings. The person feels anxiety about starting and then more anxiety about being strapped for time. They may feel guilty about leaving the task sitting there and may end up depressed because they feel somehow defective about being able to get it completed in a timely manner.
The person who is lazy doesn't feel regret about not completing a task. They may even feel resentful for being asked to do something they find is not worthy of their effort.
5. Reason for stalling
The person who procrastinates may stall for a variety of reasons. Most often, they experience anxiety about their ability to perform the task in an acceptable manner. They fear failure most of all. They are often perfectionists and are never satisfied that the work actually meets their discerning standards.
The person who is lazy just doesn't want to do the task. They may find it unworthy or they may not see it as something important. There are many more interesting and fun things to do instead.
6. Letting others take over the task
The procrastinator will hesitate about asking for help. Even though they may feel overwhelmed, they want to follow through with their obligations. They want to show their ability and be considered dependable. If they have to have someone take over, they often feel a great deal of guilt for what they consider to be a failure.
The lazy individual will gladly allow someone to take the task off their hands. In fact, they have no problem asking someone else to do something they don't want to do. After all, if the other person wants to waste their time, why should they care? The task gets completed and they don't get into trouble for not doing it. To them, it's a win-win situation.
7. How quickly one gives up
The procrastinator doesn't give up easily. They will work through the night to complete a project. They won't let difficulty, lack of sleep, or even illness to stop them from turning in something they are responsible for.
As soon as the lazy person hits a difficult spot, they are quick to give up and either leave the task or turn it over to someone else. They didn't want to do it anyway and the difficulty makes it even less appealing.
Each Has a Positive Side
Both procrastination and laziness come with negative consequences, but there are times when each may be a positive thing.
When a person is feeling overwhelmed or depressed and can't find the energy to take on a large project, doing the minor tasks and getting that to-do list shorter may make things less pressing. In many cases, waiting until the last minute helps the chronic procrastinator to quiet their overthinking and just get something done.
When life gets overly demanding and you aren't feeling motivated because you are facing burnout, taking a lazy day to do nothing is a matter of self-care. Everyone needs a day from time to time when they aren't obligated to do anything. An occasional lazy day can be what helps get you back on track emotionally.
Final Thoughts on Procrastination vs Lazy
While they may look alike, procrastination and laziness have many differences. Both create negative consequences, yet both can have a positive side.
Following through on your obligations is an important character trait and both types of individuals need to spend time trying to overcome their weaknesses. This is possible in both cases as long as the individual is willing to put in the time and effort.
In the end, there is a much greater reward to following through in a timely manner and not putting yourself through the stress of either chronic procrastination or chronic laziness.
Finally, if you want to level up your productivity and time management skills, then watch this free video about the 9 productivity habits you can build at work.