The 4 Types Of Procrastinators

Which type of procrastinator are you?

Amber Pitt
Jan 27 · 4 min read
Photo by Magnet.me on Unsplash

We all procrastinate, most of us, without really considering the reasons why we are doing it. We tend to assume that we procrastinate because we are weak or because we would rather be doing something more enjoyable. There are four types of procrastinators: the anxious, the fun, the “plenty of time”, and the perfectionist. We’re going to look further into these four types of procrastinators and offer some advice on overcoming this behavior.

The Anxious Procrastinator

Author of The Now Habit, Neil Fiore, defines procrastination as “a mechanism for coping with the anxiety with starting or completing any task or making any decision”. He suggests that people to procrastinate a lot poorly manage their time, often taking on more work than they are capable of completing, resulting in no time put aside for resting or taking part in fun activities. Not being able to fulfill these unrealistic expectations causes stress and anxiety, which some people then deal with by procrastinating.

As a way to overcome this procrastination, driven by anxiety, Fiore suggests the “un-schedule”. This method involves filling your schedule with rest and fun activities before scheduling your work. For example, if you typically find yourself browsing through social media for 20 minutes at three in the afternoon, add this into your schedule and plan your work around that. This scheduled downtime or fun will prevent you from over-scheduling and overwhelming yourself.

The Fun Procrastinator

The fun procrastinator would prefer to be doing anything else as opposed to the actual task at hand. How could you possibly bear to complete that boring project when there are so many exciting things you could be doing instead?

Let’s face it, you’re going to procrastinate anyway, so why not do so by tackling something else on your to-do list rather than watching those YouTube videos? This method is called “structured procrastination”. By starting a different task on your to-do-list, you’ve already given less priority to that project you’ve been dreading, and yet in the meantime, you’re still being productive with your time. I call that a win-win.

The “Plenty of Time” Procrastinator

Many find it difficult to begin a project, especially when knowing the deadline is a long way off. This particular type of procrastination is particularly popular with students, who typically wait until just a few days before the deadline to begin the project. This type of procrastination is not strictly based on deadlines. If you take a look at your to-do-list I’m sure there’s at least one task on there you’ve been putting off for weeks, if not months, am I right? This is because these tasks do not need to be done right away, resulting in you pushing the task further and further back.

Dan Ariely, professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University, experimented with his students, giving them three assignments and allowing them to set their deadlines. He predicted that his students would choose for the deadline to be the last day of term, giving them the most amount of time to complete the assessments. However, the majority of students chose an earlier deadline and received better grades than those who left their assessments to the last minute. The result of this experiment? By setting deadlines and publicly announcing them, you’re generally much more likely to complete the task, and even execute it well. Try telling your co-workers, family, and friends when setting deadlines. This form of public commitment is likely to motivate you to meet your deadlines and keep you on track.

The Perfectionist Procrastinator

You’ll notice that perfectionists are always heavily criticizing their work, setting the bar so high for themselves, and striving for the best, that the outcome is never quite as they had hoped for. The perfectionist begins procrastinating when becoming overwhelmed with the fear of producing work of a low standard, or fear of failing.

John Perry, a philosopher, and professor at Stanford University thinks that procrastination can be considered a good thing for perfectionists, stating “As long as they have a lot of time to complete a task, they fantasize about doing the perfect job. Leaving it to the last minute is a way of permitting oneself to do a merely adequate job. 99 percent of the time a merely adequate job is all that is needed.” Try looking at the five most recent tasks you completed. Was every one of them perfect? Likely not. Were they sufficient? Likely, you’re already working at a high standard, stop being so hard on yourself. One way to assist you to stop procrastinating, and overcome your routine of perfection, is to identify each time you didn’t do ‘the perfect job’, yet the consequences were the same as if you would have.

ILLUMINATION

We curate outstanding articles from diverse domains and…

Amber Pitt

Written by

Writer & Entrepreneur. Just living my best life and hopefully providing content you all enjoy!

ILLUMINATION

We curate and disseminate outstanding articles from diverse domains and disciplines to create fusion and synergy.

Amber Pitt

Written by

Writer & Entrepreneur. Just living my best life and hopefully providing content you all enjoy!

ILLUMINATION

We curate and disseminate outstanding articles from diverse domains and disciplines to create fusion and synergy.

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