Procrastination is the act of delaying important tasks by engaging in more enjoyable ones that
require less effort and focus. The habit of procrastination stops people from achieving their
goals, both in the short term and long term. It’s important to understand the reasons behind
procrastination, and the different kinds, in order to work on getting rid of it.
Reasons for procrastination include but are not limited to:
Perfectionists put off work because they always want to perfect a task and they fear not
being able to do so. Naturally, putting it off is the safest and easiest option in order to
avoid disappointments regarding their performance.
2.Mental health reasons like ADHD or depression
People who struggle with a neurodevelopmental disorder like ADHD or a mental illness
like depression can find it difficult to manage time or begin tasks when they should.
3.Fear of failure
People who fear failure would rather not start a task at all than to begin and fail.
4.Preference for immediate gratification
Reasons for procrastination don’t always have to be complex, sometimes it’s as simple as
a preference for immediate gratification and a preference for an immediate desirable
outcome rather than a consideration of long term goals that require hard work.
Ali Schiller and Marissa Boisvert are two accountability coaches and co-founders of
Accountability Works, an organization where they help people achieve their goals. They stated
that there are four types of procrastination, and that knowing the type that you are will help you
find solutions to overcome this habit.
Four types of procrastinators:
1- The Performer ‘I work well under pressure’
If you are a perfectionist, then you probably fall under the category of the performer. You give
yourself a limited amount of time because if the results are not as perfect or as high as you want
them to be, you will subconsciously believe that it’s a direct result of working on it for a small
amount of time rather than it being a reflection of your own abilities.
2- The Self-Deprecator ‘I am so lazy right now’
This kind of procrastination stems from being too harsh on yourself. Rather than becoming
aware of their need for physical rest, they attach the procrastination to laziness and stubbornness
rather than a genuine need for rest.
3- The Overbooker ‘I am so busy’
Rather than admitting that the avoidance of the task is stemming out of an unwillingness to
begin, this kind of procrastinator blames their procrastination on their busy schedule. They fill up
their schedule to make it easier for themselves to use it as an excuse to not start other tasks.
4- The Novelty Seeker ‘I just had the best idea’
This kind of procrastinator gets fascinated with new ideas and works on it temporarily before
getting bored and not following through with it, and eventually hopping on to another idea.
Actions are not consistent, so projects never come to life.
5 tips to stop procrastinating:
1.Find out which kind of procrastinator you are
Understanding the root of the issue is the best way to find solutions for it. An
overbooker? Take a look at your schedule and evaluate whether you truly have time or
not. The performer? Start ahead of time with the intention of doing your best rather than
perfecting it. The self-deprecator? Manage your time in a way that gives you a break. If
you’re the novelty seeker, then start thinking of short term goals and be consistent as you
work in one direction to reach these goals.
2.Find out what your distractions are
What are you putting your energy into? What makes you focus on your tasks and what
distracts you? Putting these factors into consideration helps you eliminate distractions
and engage more in up-building habits that help you reach your goals.
3.Set smaller goals
Procrastinating can come from feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to start,
which often pushes “the overbooker” into procrastination. Setting attainable and
achievable goals will help you be more productive and less overwhelmed. It will also
give you relief when you see yourself ticking boxes off of your to-do list.
Part of procrastinating comes from choosing the easier alternative because we opt for
immediate gratification. Rewarding ourselves gives us motivation to delay the
gratification for something bigger after completing the task.
5.Find an accountability buddy
Research has shown that we tend to perform better when we are being watched, and for
that reason it’s important to have a coworker or someone you trust to hold you
accountable for the habits that you want to implement.
- What type of procrastinator are you?
- Who in your life can act as an accountability buddy?
- Does perfectionism play a role in your procrastination?