The Procrastination Cycle

“You will never find time for anything. You must make it.” ~ Charles Buxton


Have you ever wanted to do something, however kept putting it off? What about started something and then not completed it?

These past couple of weeks, I was lucky enough to have some time off. I had plans of doing a number of things and many of them got completed, however there were a couple for some reason, I kept avoiding or procrastinating on until the last minute. One of these tasks was tidying up my finances as I had gotten a little behind in my own habits (these are my own standards that I set as I like to be ready for the end of financial year, which in Australia is June 30).

So back to the avoidance of tidying up my finances! What did it mean? For me it was –

  • entering my bills/receipts (personal and business), and
  • reconciling the receipts and payments.

Yes that seems pretty simple hey, however I had fallen quite behind on my habits and was avoiding the process of catching up.

Keeping up to date with my finances is a habit I continue to focus on and am getting closer to mastering. However, I did find myself falling back in to procrastination and my form of the procrastination cycle.


What is the Procrastination Cycle?

I came across the Procrastination Cycle in the book Procrastination: Why You Do It, What to Do About It Now by Burke and Yuen (2007). The Procrastination Cycle is a series of thoughts, feelings and behaviours procrastinator’s cycle through as they work towards completion of a project. According to Burke and Yuen (2007), each person has their own experience of the Procrastination Cycle and it can be drawn out over a period of hours, weeks, days, months and years.

The Procrastination Cycle goes like this –

  1. “I’ll start early this time.”
  2. “I’ve got to start soon.”
  3. “What if I don’t start?” some thoughts associated with this include – “I should have started sooner”, “I’m doing everything but,” “I can’t enjoy anything,” or “I hope no one finds out.”
  4. “There’s still time.”
  5. “Something’s wrong with me.”
  6. A final choice: to do or not to do. Path 1: Not to Do – thoughts of “I can’t stand this!” and/or “Why bother?” Path 2: To Do – On to the Bitter End – thoughts of “I can’t wait any longer”, “This isn’t so bad. Why didn’t I start sooner?” and/or “Just get it done.”
  7. The promise: “I’ll never procrastinate again!”

Sound familiar? Can you relate?


Questions for Reflection –

  • Are you procrastinating on anything at present? If so, what is it?
  • What does your procrastination cycle look like? You may like to use the above procrastination cycle to identify your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. However, remember to be self-compassionate and know most people procrastinate!


Feel free to share any questions below or on our Facebook page here.


If you are ready to take yourself on the adventure of getting to know yourself (your true self), why not join the Toolkit? A place where I share tools, inspiration and ideas to live a courageous and openhearted life.


Reference –

Burka, J., & Yuen, L. (2007). Procrastination: Why You Do It, What to Do About It Now. MA, USA: Da Capo Press.


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