A common dictionary definition of procrastination is ‘to defer action’, i.e. to decide deliberately to do something later on (e.g. ‘I have deferred my decision until next Wednesday’). This is an example of planned delay in order to consider all the available evidence before making the decision. However, when individuals have problems with procrastination it usually refers to them acting in a dilatory manner and thus laying something aside until a future unspecified time (e.g. ‘I will do it eventually’); or, if a future time has been specified, no action occurs when the time arrives (e.g. ‘I was going to start the essay today but a friend popped round and one thing led to another’). To put the problem of procrastination simply: you keep putting off doing what your better judgement tells you should be done now (incidentally, procrastinate is often confused with prevaricate which means ‘to act or speak evasively or misleadingly’). Sometimes procrastination is accompanied by self-condemnation (e.g. ‘I want to knuckle down but I’m so bloody useless at doing it’).
You know what needs to be done yet you cannot get on with it. What blocks you from engaging in productive action? Hauck suggests that poor self-discipline is an unsurprising human trait as ‘avoiding a difficult situation seems like the most natural course to take because we are so easily seduced by immediate satisfactions’ (1982b:18). Glucksman believes that ‘family styles have a lot to do