Why Talented People Procrastinate At Work

Talented individuals understand that their abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. This mindset allows them to overcome problems in order to achieve success. But it is often contrasted by procrastination due to their desire to achieve perfectionism. This means they avoid doing tasks because they fear failure.

While many think that being talented is enough to achieve success, it is actually quite the opposite when you’re also dealing with chronic procrastination.

Here are a Few Cancerous Reasons Why Talented People Procrastinate At Work.


Perfectionism is a double-edged sword that often keeps you from achieving your goals. It may indicate an internal identity conflict born out of uneasiness and concern.

The pursuit of perfectionism is a journey without a route map. Without discrete and measurable goals, you’ll never know if you’re getting any closer to the destination. For instance, you’re working on an important office presentation. You might end up spending hours trying to improvise and obsessing over minor details. You set the standards too high and end up not wanting to finish the job until it is perfect. This is one of the biggest reasons behind procrastination at work.

Fear of the Unknown

Talented individuals often fret over little things that don’t matter to others. It’s a major cause of fear and self-doubt. Most often, talented people cleave to ‘what ifs,’ that prevent them from reaching their true potential.

What if people don’t like my work?

What if people judge me for the mistake I do?

What if… I fail?

This form of negation keeps us from identifying our true strengths.

Lack of motivation

It is said that talent can make people lazy as they need to rely less on hard work to achieve the same results. But there are several underlying causes, including:

  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of confidence
  • Undefined goals
  • Stress

Getting distracted

Research conducted on humans and macaque monkeys shows the human brain was designed to be distracted. In between bursts of attention are blips of pleasurable, non-threatening distraction.

Perfectionism fueled by anxiety can impair focus. A part of your brain is constantly formulating critical self-evaluation for not doing a good enough. It gets distracted by catastrophic thinking: “I can’t afford to make a mistake in front of my boss”; “My coworkers will think I’m competent if I won’t do well.”

Other times the brain is plagued by temporary pleasures flooding our brain. It can make even the most talented individual constantly switch from one medium of distraction to another. Some of the biggest distraction are: social media, gossip, co-workers dropping by, texting, and the internet.

It’s human nature to instantly fuel feel-good hormones. A study from the University of California Irvine by lead research Gloria Mark found that most people distract themselves every 40 seconds when working behind a computer. What’s even more messed up is that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to regain focus on the task.

A habit of procrastination is hard to overcome. But it’s worth it. As the old saying goes: A stitch in time saves nine.

Subscribe to the leading HR Magazine to receive exclusive Human Resources news and insights directly to your inbox.

Anna Verasai
Anna Versai is a Team Writer at The HR Digest; she covers topics related to Recruitment, Workplace Culture, Interview Tips, Employee Benefits, HR News and HR Leadership. She also writes for Technowize, providing her views on the Upcoming Technology, Product Reviews, and the latest apps and softwares.

Similar Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.