Can someone explain procrastination to me?

YYYZ? Ellamenno? Someone?

I'm seeing instances of procrastination that are driving me nuts! I'm looking to understand it. I don't think there is a way to fix it, if he's not interested.

Two examples in the last weekend:

He is supposed to be at church early for choir practice. He doesn't tell me that, and doesn't get out out bed (although he is awake). Then I find out he has his mother's debit card, and he's supposed to give it back to her, but he has no idea where his wallet is. He finally gives up and leaves, 10 minutes late. He's in the choir, so he can't just sneak in the back. Why didn't he leave on time, why didn't he remember where his wallet is, why didn't he tell me he had this vital item, that isn't his, so I could look for it if he couldn't remember where he left it?

Trash in our neighborhood gets picked up on Friday. He's not working, so he's not getting up early enough in the morning. WHY won't he put it out the night before? He says "I'll get up and get it in the morning," but refuses to set the alarm clock, so of course, he doesn't. One of our cans doesn't get emptied. What is he saving by waiting until morning instead of doing it when it won't make him get up in the morning?

He's not interested in changing/improving this behavior. As I sit here with no food in my house because he lost his job for this kind of crap, I have to wonder: what is the advantage to him of procrastinating on things he knows he must do? Note that these are actual refusals to do things when they must be done, not getting distracted and "forgetting." He is taking medication but I'm not sure it's working.

I'm looking for any explanation of WHY he wants to be that way! I know I can't change him and I'm never going to have an acceptable quality of life as long as I live with someone who chooses not to do the things he knows he has to do, like work.


A lot of procrastination, on my part at least, is an avoidance of something I know might/will have a bad outcome. Like taxes or a home repair project I have never attempted before. I used to do this all the time... So many failures, and now new ways to get kicked in the face is what it felt like. I will say that after I've been on Adderall, I've discovered how much better it feels to "Attack" these problems. Just get it over with... If it's bad, it's going to be bad, so why carry the worry of "How bad" and get it over with and deal with the consequences. I'm finding that some things turn out to be easier that I feared and it is empowering to knock through projects. I used to feel so overwhelmed by new projects and this would lead to procrastination. Overwhelmed, because I did not need anything else to screw up and even worse have to call in a pro to fix something I could do. The anxiety caused a paralysis which lead to the apparent procrastination.

Why work on something that is a pain in the a$$, when you can work on something you won't mess up or even better do something that isn't work at all? :) I think when you feel bad about yourself and you don't really know why for so long, you avoid anything that adds to it. Then you are procrastinating to not feel bad for just a while longer. This of course only amplifies the problems, then you get to have people mad at you and get to feel guilty (Display Defensive Anger to deflect being wrong again) because you know you could have prevented the situation by just dealing with it in the first place. What a cycle...


I think too, please correct

I think too, please correct me if I am wrong, that a couple of things that add to this are "out of sight, out of mind" and the problem with time awareness. Weeks can literally go by without something being done and although I may be acutely aware of how long it has been...I truly think my husband has no concept of this and it seems like 'just a day or two ago' to him.

Thanks yyz

That does sound like an awful cycle and it certainly makes sense for things like taking the GRE (which he's been promising to do for years). But why procrastinate on things that aren't difficult, at which you won't fail and might even enjoy, like going to church? Why would it be better to get up and get dressed in the morning to put out the trash than to do it the night before, while you are already dressed? He's not going to fail at that! If I've got a time-specific task like that ahead of me in the morning, I have difficulty sleeping. I'm too afraid I'm going to miss it.

I think he thinks that if he fiddle-farts around long enough I'll do the task for him- I'll load the dishwasher, run the load of laundry, etc. even though these things are difficult for me. But the procrastinating on things I can't/won't do like putting out the trash or leaving for church makes me CRAZY!

Why didn't he leave on

Why didn't he leave on time

Hardest question of the bunch to answer.  I'm always late too.  I don't know why it's so hard, especially in the morning, to stop goofing off and get going BEFORE I'm 10 minutes late.  Recently it seems like nothing I try works.  Sometimes it seems like no matter how many arbitrary barriers I make to keep myself on track, I find a way through them to still goof off! 

why didn't he remember where his wallet is

Worst question to ask an ADHDer.  It's not like we try to forget things!  The better question is always "How can we keep him from losing his wallet in the future?" or "Where can he put his wallet so he knows it won't get lost?"

why didn't he tell me he had this vital item, that isn't his, so I could look for it if he couldn't remember where he left it?

​I'll bet he didn't want you to get upset about "Always keeping track of his stuff"



That's just it!

He's not interested in creating a system for not losing his wallet. I've tried and tried, but he just does not want to find one place, one basket, one drawer, whatever to put his cell phone, his wallet and his keys. He lost his job over this and we are going to have to break up and I'm going to have to move in with my daughter (because we can't pay the rent).

I know if he doesn't want to, it won't happen. What I'm looking for is why doesn't he want to?

And I don't want to impact other people with his ADD crap. I'd have been glad to find his wallet for him instead of impacting on my mother-in-law. And I wouldn't have fussed at him either.