The Quick Report

Why You Procrastinate and What to Do About It

There are six types of procrastinators, and learning which type you are will help you identify why you procrastinate and how to stop. In addition, learn nine additional tips for reducing and defeating procrastination in your life.

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6 Types of Procrastinators and Their Mindset

The first thing you need to do is identify what type of procrastinator you are.

Below we will list the six different types of procrastinators and the type of mindset they have that causes them to procrastinate.

1. The Perfectionist

Someone with a perfectionist personality sets the bar too high. They can set their goals unrealistically high, set unachievable timelines, or set impossible standards. 

The standards perfectionists set for themselves can overwhelm them to the point they never start at all. Or if they do start, they don’t complete the goal. They often can’t accept something is good enough to let go and move on to the next task.

2. The Dreamer

Dreamers like to dream. They like to envision, conceptualize, and plan. They might get caught up in “feature creep,” where they keep adding more ideas and possibilities. 

Where dreamers have trouble is getting down to the practical part of getting to work.

3. The Worrier

A worrier may spend too much time checking and rechecking all the “what-ifs.” They also can be overwhelmed with too many choices or making choices at all. They don’t like change, and have difficulty with the unfamiliar. 

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4. The Crisis-Maker

The “crisis-maker” defines someone who creates a crisis due to their procrastination. This is typically someone who puts everything off until the last minute. They will insist they do their best work under pressure. They may even love the thrill and challenge of pulling everything together at the last hour.

5. The Defier

The defier typically rebels against deadlines, especially those set by someone else. They may wait to act when they “are good and ready” as a way of rebelling against someone else’s authority or rules.

6. The Overdoer

The Overdoer is someone who tends to take on too much or get involved in too many things simultaneously. This happens because of their inability to set boundaries or say no. As a result, they procrastinate on certain tasks because they have already overwhelmed themselves with other obligations.

How to Stop Procrastination for Each Type

Here are specific tips for each of the six procrastination types to change their behavior and stop procrastinating.

1. If You’re a Perfectionist

Step one: In every action you take, ask yourself, “When is good enough – good enough?” Identify the key things that matter and must happen. Don’t overfocus on insignificant things.

Step two: Break tasks into incremental, realistic, and achievable goals and deadlines. 

2. If You’re a Dreamer

Step one: Set realistic goals and timelines. Set a deadline for the planning stage, as well as a start date.

Step two: Don’t allow new ideas to throw your plan off course. Consider your first plan to be “Phase 1,” and any new ideas can be implemented after Phase 1 is complete as part of a “Phase 2.”

3. If You’re a Worrier

Step one: Remember, not making a decision is in itself a decision, and not helpful. Force yourself to take action by setting deadlines for when decisions must be made.

Step two: Follow through on your decisions. Things may fail, but you can regroup, readjust, and continue forward from there. It’s better than not making a decision and making no progress at all.

4. If You’re a Crisis-Maker

Step one: Research and plan a realistic timeline for getting started on your goal that does not include hurrying, rushing, or overworking. 

Step two: Set a definitive start date and get started according to the timeline in your plan. Do not allow yourself to wait until the last minute.

5. If You’re a Defier

Step one: To keep your rebellious side at bay, try to negotiate and be involved in the planning of anything that you can. This will help you feel more in control.

Step two: If you have to work on something according to someone else’s deadline, force yourself to comply. Go out of your way if necessary.

6. If You’re an Overdoer

Step one: Figure out why you never can say “no” to people. Once you know why, do some research to get advice from professionals on how to say “no” in a way that other people will accept.

Step two: Take inventory of everything you are involved in and begin to prioritize your to-do list. Tackle the most important things first. As you get things done, and learn to say “no,” you will actually be able to accomplish more in the future.

5 General Tips for Stopping Procrastination

At its core, procrastination is a habit. Like any habit, it can be minimized and eventually defeated through time and effort. If you don’t see results immediately, don’t get discouraged.

If you keep practicing the tips that follow, eventually you’ll be able to overcome the habits that lead to procrastination, get things done, and achieve your goals.

1. Baby Steps

Break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable ones. This will make the task seem less daunting and more achievable.

2. Deadlines

Set deadlines for yourself and stick to them. This will help you to stay on track and avoid putting off the task until the last minute.

3. Reward Yourself

Reward yourself for completing tasks. This will help you to stay motivated and make procrastination less appealing.

4. Eliminate Distractions

Eliminate distractions from your work environment. This means turning off your phone, closing your email, and finding a quiet place to work.

5. Forgive Yourself

When you find yourself procrastinating again, don’t make a big deal of it. Forgive yourself, then get back on track. Every single one of us procrastinates from time to time. Things happen. When they do, forgive yourself and move on.

4 Bonus Tips for Ending Procrastination

1. Identify What Makes You Procrastinate

What are the things that cause you to put off tasks? Once you know what your triggers are, you can develop strategies for avoiding them.

2. Be Realistic

We all only have so much time to spare and so much energy to put forth each day. No one is superhuman. Don’t try to do too much at once. Set goals that are possible to achieve within a realistic timeline. 

3. Take Breaks

Make sure breaks are part of your plan. If your goal is a long or difficult one, the more breaks you may need. Giving yourself a breather allows you to come back refreshed, maintain your focus, and avoid burnout.

4. Ask for Help 

No rule says you have to do everything on your own. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a friend, family member, or colleague if you’re struggling with a task.