Who isn't familiar with procrastination? For me, it's primarily household chores that get left behind, piles of unironed laundry staring at me accusingly. I just keep pushing it off. But did you know there are different types of procrastination and that each requires its own specific approach? Below, we explore the most common types and how you can outsmart them.
1. The Perfectionist
Type: As a perfectionist, you're always afraid that the result won't be absolutely perfect. This can lead to paralysis. Or you keep tweaking your work, and so you never really make progress.
Strategy: It can be helpful to set concrete and achievable goals and aim for 'good enough.' Establish a timeframe within which you'll complete the task and remind yourself that you can always make improvements after the work is done. This clears the way to finish your projects without getting caught in endless revisions.
2. The Dreamer
Type: Are you a dreamer who is good at coming up with ideas and plans but finds it difficult to execute them? Perhaps your project remains a beautiful plan in your head, never materializing into a result.
Strategy: Break your pattern by working with action plans. Write down all the tasks and set deadlines. Then focus on one project at a time and commit to a small daily effort towards your goal.
3. The Burnout Procrastinator
Type: If you feel overwhelmed by even the smallest tasks, you often don't know where to begin. Everything seems too much, and so you might decide it's better not to begin at all. Your procrastination stems from deep fatigue and feeling like your batteries are drained.
Strategy: Use the five-minute rule: start by breaking the task into smaller, more manageable pieces and spend only five minutes on a task. Often that's enough to break the lethargy and find the motivation to continue. Also, ensure adequate recovery and rest between tasks.
4. The Bore-out Procrastinator
Type: It could also be that your tasks don't challenge you. Boredom is your enemy. You find your tasks dull and meaningless. The absence of challenge and engagement leads you to apathy and hence procrastination.
Strategy: Think of ways to make your tasks more enjoyable or exciting, for example, by linking them to your passions or by adding an element of competition or reward.
5. The Crisis-Maker
Type: Do you need an adrenaline rush to spring into action? You work best under pressure, and therefore you postpone your tasks until the last moment. Only when the stakes are high do you feel sufficiently motivated to perform.
Strategy: Set earlier deadlines and share these with an accountability partner to create a sense of urgency. Link the completion of tasks to another goal or reward.
6. The Risk Avoider
Type: If you have a fear of failure, it can lead to you continually postponing tasks. The idea that you might fail then becomes paralyzing.
Strategy: It can help to adjust your expectations and thus work on your self-confidence. You can break the task into smaller tasks that you're sure you can handle, and thus gradually build up to more difficult tasks. Understand also that failure is part of the learning process.
7. The Improviser
Type: If you're disorganized, this can lead to procrastination because you have no control over your time and priorities. Maybe you find improvisation and spontaneity important, and thus you find planning tedious. Or you can't decide what you want to tackle, and thus you flit from one task to another without a clear goal.
Strategy: Cherish your spontaneity and improvisation but also bring some order to the chaos by developing a clear daily routine or using planning tools to organize your tasks. Prioritize activities and become aware of how you spend your time. This can help to find a balance between flexibility and structure.
Of course, the nature of your task can also present additional challenges. Complex and difficult tasks are a challenge for all types, as are boring tasks or tasks that don't suit you. A universal strategy is to break the task into subtasks and create an action plan. Additionally, look for ways to make it fun, exciting, or urgent.
So what type of procrastinator are you? Do you recognize yourself in any of these descriptions? Take these insights and see if you can apply them to your daily life. Perhaps you'll find a new way to approach your tasks that helps you overcome procrastination. Try out different strategies and see which works best for you.