Laziness vs Procrastination: What is the Difference?

laziness vs procrastination

In the busy and fast-paced world surrounding us, we often find daily tasks overwhelming, and productivity can feel like an impossible goal to reach. To avoid facing responsibilities, some people find themselves slipping into the world of procrastination whilst others consciously avoid doing what they need to, which is also known as laziness. 

The two behavioral patterns are often mixed up, but laziness and procrastination have differences, such as their causes, reasons and characteristics. Let’s take a closer look at laziness and procrastination and the differences between the two. 

What is Procrastination?

Procrastination is the act of postponing or delaying tasks to do at a later time. Often, less essential tasks are prioritized, which can lead to increased stress and guilt as more time passes. Procrastination can be described as task avoidance, as a person delays and postpones primary, essential tasks. 

This behavioral pattern is usually unintentional, as people find it difficult to motivate themselves to complete specific tasks. Some procrastination examples are academic procrastination, where an individual may put off a homework task, or household procrastination, where a person may delay household chores. 

Procrastination can stem from many reasons. For example, it can stem from the fear of failure, the trait of perfectionism, poor time management, or general anxiety. Procrastination can quickly become a habit, which can be challenging to change, and productivity can be hard to find. People who procrastinate often feel increased stress and worsened emotional well-being as a deadline looms like a dark cloud over their heads.

While most people say it’s laziness, science has found the real reason for procrastination can be Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD), depression, chronic apathy, and low self-esteem.

People who procrastinate do it because, just before they’re about to act, an inner voice tells them:

  • You’re not good enough
  • Nobody will believe in you
  • Why do you waste your time trying?

The worst thing about being a procrastinator is, you know exactly why you’re failing.

Is procrastination considered to be laziness?

Procrastination and laziness are often confused, and whilst they have some similarities, they’re not considered the same as they have many differences, such as intention, causes and origin. 

We’re all guilty of procrastinating sometimes, and who doesn’t love a lazy day now and then? Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed in our daily lives, which can lead to putting off important tasks to face them at a time when we’re feeling more prepared. 

Whilst we can all find ourselves slipping into habits, it’s important to remember that lazy people choose to avoid a task, as it’s a state of mind rather than a pattern. A person who procrastinates knows they should complete a task and want to get the results but simply can’t, and a lazy person fails to find the effort and doesn’t care. 

What is Laziness?

Laziness is a state of mind where a person lacks the effort and engagement to complete tasks. A lazy person often lacks energy, motivation and enthusiasm to work towards a goal and resists activities that involve even small amounts of effort. Laziness often leads to negative outcomes, such as missed opportunities and worsened performance. 

Laziness is usually defined as someone who lacks self-control and is unphased by consequences or the outcome of failure to complete a task. Unlike procrastinators, a lazy person will consciously avoid putting in effort and spend their time doing what they would rather do, such as excessive leisure. 

We’re all guilty of having a lazy day sometimes, and taking time to yourself can help prevent exhaustion and fatigue in the long run. A lazy day doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a lazy person. Still, if it becomes a habit and you find your productivity and motivation slipping, it may be time to take action towards overcoming this behavioral challenge.

Sometimes, laziness and depression can be linked, so if you’re feeling depressed and lazy, you should take the necessary steps to get the help you need. 

What are the Key Differences Between Laziness and Procrastination?

There are six critical differences between laziness and procrastination, and knowing the differences can help you decide which challenge you’re facing. From there, you can take steps to help overcome the challenges and take positive steps to increase your productivity and motivation.  

Here are the key differences between laziness and procrastination: 

  1. Intention 
  2. Willingness 
  3. Awareness of consequences 
  4. Reasons 
  5. Help from others 
  6. Giving into failure 

Let’s look at these differences in more detail:

  1. Intention 

A critical difference between laziness and procrastination is the intention behind delaying or postponing tasks. A procrastinator will intentionally delay a job in order to complete smaller, less important tasks first so that the primary assignment can be prioritized when the deadline gets closer. 

A lazy person will purposefully avoid a task due to a lack of effort, engagement and motivation. They often do not intend to complete a task as they would rather engage in activities requiring minimal effort.

  1. Willingness 

Willingness is another difference as a procrastinator wants to complete a task but lacks confidence due to perfectionism and fear of failure. This can lead to overthinking the task and cause a person to avoid getting started. 

A lazy person lacks the willingness to complete a task as they dont see it as valuable or worth their time, and they’d rather spend their time doing activities that require less effort. They don’t see value in the task and are unwilling to get it done. 

  1. Awareness of consequences 

Procrastinators have an awareness of consequences, which is another crucial difference. A procrastinator is aware of the looming deadline and the consequences of not completing the task. Whilst this can cause added stress and pressure, a procrastinator will eventually complete the task to avoid the negative effects of not. 

A lazy person lacks regard for consequences and is not motivated to work towards completing a task despite the negative outcomes it can cause. 

  1. Reasons 

Another difference between laziness and procrastination is the reasoning behind the delay. A procrastinator may lack confidence in their ability to complete a task due to a fear of failure or issues surrounding concentration. Procrastinators may postpone tasks because they worry their efforts won’t meet expectations. 

A lazy person often has different reasons for procrastinating as they don’t want to complete the task, seeing it as a waste of time. As a result, they’ll spend their time doing activities that they consider more fun and enjoyable. 

  1. Accepting help from others

A procrastinator will generally resist accepting help from others as they intend to follow through and complete the task themselves. If someone takes over, a procrastinator will often feel guilty as they feel the urge to meet the deadline and finish a job, even if it’s postponed. 

A person suffering from laziness will usually jump at the offer of someone else taking the task into their hands, as it means they don’t have to do it and can concentrate on what they view as more enjoyable. 

  1. Giving into failure

A procrastinator will ensure they complete a task and avoid giving in to failure. A procrastinator will push through, even at the last minute, and ensure they meet the deadline and prioritize their responsibilities. 

A lazy person won’t view failure as bad, as they didn’t want to put effort in in the first place. If they reach a point of difficulty, they’ll quickly stop doing the task or pass the responsibility onto someone else. Without motivation or a desire to complete a task, failure isn’t regarded as a problem. 

Despite laziness and procrastination often being mistaken for each other, they have distinct differences that set them apart. Recognizing and understanding the differences can help you discover how to deal with your challenges and push through these behaviors. 

What are the Similarities of Procrastination and Laziness? 

Alongside the differences between laziness and procrastination are some similarities. You can connect the two concepts with similar underlying causes, psychological factors, and the need to push through challenges to complete tasks. 

Here are some similarities between laziness and procrastination:

  1. Impact on well-being  
  2. Habitual patterns 
  3. Lack of productivity 
  4. Overcoming the challenge requires action

Let’s look at these similarities in further detail:

  1. Impact on well-being 

Laziness and procrastination can have a negative impact on a person’s well-being, as they can experience negative consequences like increased stress, missed deadlines, low-quality work and a sense of regret and unfulfillment for not completing a task. 

  1. Habitual patterns 

A similarity between laziness and procrastination is the habitual patterns that can form, which can be challenging to break. If failure to complete a task becomes too familiar, and laziness or procrastination takes over, it can be easy to fall into the same patterns time after time. 

  1. Lack of productivity 

A lack of motivation can cause both laziness and procrastination and by delaying or postponing tasks, a lack of productivity can arise. A lack of productivity can cause a person to fail to complete tasks, fail to work towards goals and can hinder a person’s progress. 

  1. Overcoming the challenge requires action

A similarity between laziness and procrastination is that both challenges require action from the individual. To overcome procrastination and laziness, you must take steps to alter your behavior, increase motivation and productivity and create positive patterns instead of old, unsuccessful ones. 

Alongside the many differences that laziness and procrastination have, they share some common traits, like the negative impact and consequences that delaying tasks can cause and the lack of productivity that arises as a result. Recognizing the similarities can help a person to develop new, more positive habits to overcome this behavior. 

Laziness and procrastination share some similarities, like a lack of productivity, habitual patterns and the negative impact on a person’s well-being. However, the two challenges have many differences, such as intention, awareness of consequences, willingness and the reasoning behind delaying or postponing a task. 

Recognizing and understanding these differences is vital as you can take the necessary steps to overcome your challenge. You can take positive steps to overcome laziness or procrastination and alter your mindset to increase productivity, motivation and unlock your true potential. For more insightful information, helpful tips and more, check out Virtue Map today and begin your transformation journey. 


Do lazy procrastinators exist?

Yes, sometimes a person can be known as a “lazy procrastinator”, meaning they avoid tasks because they don’t want to put in extra effort, despite being aware of the negative consequences. A person who does this is known as a “lazy procrastinator”, and it can be a challenging cycle to break. 

Procrastination vs. laziness, which is more common?

Procrastination and laziness are common challenges that people face, and they both share similarities that mean they can coexist within an individual. Knowing which of the two is more common can be difficult, as it can vary from person to person, but they’re both challenges that many people face daily. 

How to deal with procrastination and laziness? 

Dealing with procrastination and laziness requires a lot of patience as they can both be challenging to overcome, especially if they’ve become a habit. You can deal with the behaviors by finding the causes and reasons, setting realistic goals, and working on your time management. By utilizing anti-procrastination apps and books, you can work towards success, productivity and unlocking your true potential.

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