Procrastination Style: Social Procrastination

Social Procrastination is often it the result of a lack of development in the following Emotional Intelligence areas:

  • Assertiveness
  • Self-Regard
  • Impulse Control

Essentially, social procrastination is described as committing to a social responsibility (doing something for someone else) and then avoiding the task. Have you ever wondered why you commit to something and then feel resentful, or not follow through or not sure why you committed to something that you don’t even want to do? This can be explained through the above 3 areas of Emotional Intelligence.

  • Assertiveness: involves communicating feelings, beliefs and thoughts openly, and defending personal rights and values in a socially acceptable, non-offensive, and non-destructive manner.

Often people who commit to do something they don’t want to do, may not know “how to say no” in a respectful way. They may not take responsibility for managing their own life, for example, “they should never have asked me to do this!”. People have the right to ask and you have the right to say “no” and set healthy boundaries.

  • Self-Regard: Self-Regard is respecting oneself while understanding and accepting one’s strengths and weaknesses. Self-Regard is often associated with feelings of inner strength and self-confidence.

Often people who say “yes” to something they wish they had not, do not feel that they have the right to say “no”, or if they do, people will not like them. You do have the right to say no and you can do this in a very respectful way. “Thanks so much for considering me for this project/task, I really wish I could help you out, but I am so busy at this time”. If you always say “yes” so that people will like you, you will become the “go to” person, you may become overwhelmed and may become so angry that it effects the relationship adversely. True friends are understanding and it is your job to set healthy boundaries for yourself.

  • Impulse Control is the ability to resist or delay an impulse, drive or temptation to act and involves avoiding rash behaviors and decision-making

This is an interesting area of Emotional Intelligence Development. Often impulse control is linked to negative behaviours such as gambling, addiction and spending money; however, impulse control issues can sneak up on you with positive behaviors. There are so many cool things to learn and be involved with in this life and when something exciting is presented to you, it is tough to say “no”. Often people just instinctual say “yes” without considering the impact on their time or if it is even a task they want to do. People can impulsively say “yes” to be liked, to have the life experience, worried that they will never be asked again, etc. It is important to explore if you are saying “yes” because you have the time, the inclination and the need to participate prior to committing.


Take some time today to reflect on the times where you socially procrastinate. There are some interesting emotional indicators such as feeling resentful, angry that they asked you, guilty that you feel angry/resentful, anxious, avoiding by sleeping, scared to even start the task and finding many other tasks to do to delay starting. What are you experiencing?

For more information on building your Emotional Intelligence, check out the Modules in eLearn under “SuccessCoaching@MohawkCollege” (start with the Self Registration tab). I would love your feedback, feel free to comment, email me directly or book an appointment for more personalized assistance.

Your Success Coach,

Dr. Heather Drummond, Ed.D. (Counselling Psychology)

Success Coach * Professor * Counsellor

Mohawk College-Fennell Campus-“The Square“-C102/20

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