Procrastination Help: Learn How You Procrastinate

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I was going to write about procrastination about a week ago, but, well, you know, things came up. So here we are, the end of the month, and still no article about procrastination. But here I am, scrambling to get this published before my end of month deadline.

I am sure this sounds vaguely familiar, as I am not the only one who puts things off until the last possible second. We all procrastinate, and some do it better than others. Yet there are an elite few who somehow have overcome this human trait. You know the kind I am talking about? The ones who are able to accomplish anything and everything. But when you ask them their secret, they typically reply with something to do about time management.

I am here to say that it is less about time management than we think. While working in a high school I stumbled across some interesting findings by Dr. Linda Sapadin about why we procrastinate. I am a huge believer in the more you know about yourself, the better you are able to overcome your limitations. Put another way, how can you work on your weaknesses if you don't know what they are?

Below are some of Dr. Sapadin's findings on procrastination styles. I hope this sheds some light on the ways that we all procrastinate, allowing us to better understand ourselves and work on our weakness of procrastinating.

*NOTE - Before reading further, please take the quiz to the right to learn your procrastination style. After taking the quiz, read more about your style of procrastination. You may have more than one. (This quiz is not scientific, and is for fun to learn more about your possible style of procrastination).

The Perfectionist

A perfectionist procrastinator may find it difficult to start or complete a task based on the following:

  • Fear of failure or success
  • A desire to outdo others and feeling judged/criticized
  • A need for control
  • An all or nothing mentality
  • Hypercritical of self and others
  • May stay in the planning stage extremely long for fear of failing (wanting to make it perfect)
  • May say, "I have to..." in regards to completing tasks

A perfectionist will most likely have difficulty starting and completing tasks because they ultimately fear failure and sometimes even success. Have there been times where you have put off a project because you don't want to screw it up, so you are developing and planning continuously until the last minute? One of the most common symptoms of a perfectionist procrastinator is a long and detailed planning phase.

The Dreamer

A dreamer may find it difficult to start or complete tasks based on the following:

  • Lofty goals
  • Many goals
  • Enjoys sharing grandiose ideas for the future
  • May hear them say, "Some day" or "I wish" often.
  • No plan, or vague plan

A dreamer procrastinator may have big long term goals, but no short term goals to help them reach their long term goal. Often they have many long term goals, and ones that are sometimes lofty. An example may be, "Some day I am going to start my own business". Yet the person makes no effort nor sets any short term goals to help them achieve what they push off into the 'someday'.

The Worrier

A worrier may find it difficult to start or complete tasks based on the following:

  • Indecisive
  • Extremely cautious
  • Does not like to try new things
  • Does not like change
  • Difficulty with taking risks, stays with routine or what is known to them
  • May often say, "What if?"

The worrier has a difficult time making decisions. They also have a difficult time with change, often creating a secure routine that doesn't involve taking risks. They may not start a task, or set new goals because they are afraid of the "what if?". What if that happens, or this? The worrier is comfortable where they are at.

The Defier

A defiant procrastinator may have difficulty starting or completing a task based on the following:

  • Rebellious
  • Non-conformist
  • Questions authority or one who has assigned a task
  • May often say, "Why should I?" when given an assignment or task
  • Likes to set own schedule
  • Passive-aggressive personality

The defier is the procrastinator who willingly defies time constraints because they do not want to live by anyone else's schedule but their own. Conformity bothers them, and so they may rebel in a passive-aggressive way by creating their own time table.

The Crisis-Maker

A crisis-maker procrastinator may have difficulty starting or completing a task based on the following:

  • Feels they thrive better under pressure
  • Enjoy sharing with others about their last minute panic
  • Love attention
  • Over-emotional and dramatic
  • Uses phrases with extremes in them, such as "unbelievable"

The crisis-maker procrastinates because they believe they perform better under pressure, and/or they enjoy complaining about how swamped they are with deadlines to co-workers, family, and friends. These people tend to be dramatic and enjoy attention, which is why they may share with others how much needs done before a certain deadline, and do it in dramatic fashion.

The Over-Doer

The over-doer has difficulty starting or finishing tasks based on the following:

  • Inability to prioritize
  • Cannot say no when asked for assistance
  • Strong desire for self-reliance
  • Compelled to take on many tasks
  • A do-it all and stay busy mentality
  • May thrive on providing assistance to others

The over-doer may have good intentions, but those intentions lead to procrastination. These are the type of people who will jump onto any and all assignments, never saying no to an opportunity. They take on a variety of tasks and may be driven by a need to be self sufficient or helpful. They might even stop a task when approached by someone with a new task, and pause the current task to start a new task. They may suffer from millions of tasks, very few completed.

We all have experienced procrastinating in varying degrees. Hopefully by reading this you can better understand yourself, and from there, better assist yourself in overcoming procrastination. I highly recommend reading Dr. Sapadin's book, It's About Time! The Six Styles of Procrastination and How to Overcome Them.

Oh, and I wouldn't wait to get started on reading the book and overcoming your procrastination problem!

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Comments 3 comments

kennynext profile image

kennynext 4 years ago from Everywhere

Sometimes the body and mind are both so wore down, you just can't do anymore. This is especially true for those working full time and carrying a full load at school.


melbel profile image

melbel 4 years ago from New Buffalo, Michigan

This is awesome! I am the over-doer for sure, but I think I have a hint of Dreamer and Perfectionist in me too! Awesome quiz, I really enjoyed it!


Doc Sonic profile image

Doc Sonic 4 years ago from Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Jared, you're right, it's not a time management problem. I fit the Perfectionist definintion above to a "T". Now I need to buy the book to learn how to deal with it. I once worked for a boss who was definitely a big-time Crisis-Maker. It was insane.

Good hub, voted up.

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