Procrastination is the action of unnecessarily and voluntarily delaying or postponing something despite knowing that there will be negative consequences for doing so. The word has originated from the Latin word procrastinatus, which itself evolved from the prefix pro-, meaning "forward," and crastinus, meaning "of tomorrow." Oftentimes, it is a habitual human behaviour. It is a common human experience involving delay in everyday chores or even putting off salient tasks such as attending an appointment, submitting a job report or academic assignment, or broaching a stressful issue with a partner. Although typically perceived as a negative trait due to its hindering effect on one's productivity often associated with depression, low self-esteem, guilt and inadequacy, it can also be considered a wise response to certain demands that could present risky or negative outcomes or require waiting for new information to arrive.
From a cultural and a social perspective, students from both Western and non-Western cultures are found to exhibit academic procrastination, but for different reasons. Students from Western cultures tend to procrastinate in order to avoid doing worse than they have done before or from failing to learn as much as they should have, whereas students from non-Western cultures tend to procrastinate in order to avoid looking incompetent, or to avoid demonstrating a lack of ability in front of their peers. It is also important to consider how different cultural perspectives of time management can impact procrastination. For example, in cultures that have a multi-active view of time, people tend to place a higher value on making sure a job is done accurately before finishing. In cultures with a linear view of time, people tend to designate a certain amount of time on a task and stop once the allotted time has expired.
A study of behavioral patterns of pigeons through delayed gratification suggests that procrastination is not unique to humans, but can also be observed in some other animals. There are experiments finding clear evidence for "procrastination" among pigeons, which show that pigeons tend to choose a complex but delayed task rather than an easy but hurry-up one.