6 Types of Procrastinators (and Ways to Beat It) 

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We all procrastinate at times. We tell ourselves that we will do our best work when we’re inspired. Some of us even find ourselves joking about it while falling prey to different types of procrastination. We often convince ourselves that we have plenty of time to do something, or that we will feel more inspired the closer to the deadline we get, but this is not always true.

Instead, as a 2015 study revealed, most people lose more than 55 days a year to procrastination, which equates to over 200 minutes a day. As you can imagine, this can have a massively detrimental effect on your productivity.

We already talked about why we procrastinate in an earlier post, so in the remainder of this piece, I’ll go through common types of procrastination and how you can deal with them. Later, we’ll explore how the avoider can overcome this productivity killer. First, though, let’s see how we can help the dreamer conquer procrastination and start transforming dreams into a reality.

Without further ado, let’s show procrastination whose boss and smash our goals.

Common types of procrastination

There are 6 common procrastination types. Perhaps you will see the type you fall victim to on our list, read on to find out how you can beat it.

A to-do list with one item on it, reading 'mainly procrastinate'.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

1.      The dreamer

Dreamers are typically super creative but can struggle to finish tasks. They tend not to pay enough attention to detail. They can have an abundance of great ideas about what they want to do, but dislike tackling all those pesky details which are a source of frustration. They also have a habit of underestimating how long it will take them to complete a task and are prone to becoming bored. They need a bit of variety to spice up their lives.

What should you do?

Here are our tips for how to fight this brand of procrastination.

  • Set yourself small, achievable goals each day that you have a realistic chance of attaining.
  • Draw up a plan of action for how you are going to do a specific task or achieve a particular goal and then stick to it.
  • Find yourself an accountability partner or tell your friends and colleagues what you’re working on. This will give you a sense of accountability and serve as motivation to finish the task. Doing this can be particularly useful when you have a deadline looming.
  • Reward yourself when you reach every milestone so that you are motivated to continue.

Now it’s time to explore what form of procrastination besets the avoider.

2.      The avoider  

Sometimes referred to as the worrier, this person is reluctant to take on new tasks for fear that they won’t be able to manage. This kind of procrastination is driven by fear. You may be afraid of the judgment of your peers, failure, or even success. Avoiders use procrastination as a sort of safe haven. I’ve been guilty of this sort of procrastination myself.

What should you do?

You can try the following things to beat this type of procrastination.

  • Explore your fears to give yourself a chance of identifying the root cause of them.
  • Start a journal in which you confront the question of what the worst-case scenario is if something doesn’t get done. This could help you put your fears in perspective.
  • To help keep anxiety in check, break up your day and allow time for a meditation session and maybe a walk in the fresh air. Both activities are known to relieve stress and may have the added bonus of boosting both your creativity and productivity.
  • Get the most challenging or complex task out of the way first.
  • Break bigger tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks.

3.      The perfectionist

This is someone who pays too much attention to little details. If you’re a perfectionist, you may fear starting something new and obsess over getting every detail exactly right. By doing this, you hope to avoid being embarrassed by sub-standard work, either consciously or subconsciously. You may be overwhelmed by your own high expectations.

What should you do?

Use these tips to get rid of perfectionism.

  • Set yourself, clear, tight deadlines, so you don’t spend too long on any single task.
  • Ask friends to frequently remind you that getting things done is better than trying to make everything perfect, as that goal is unachievable.
  • Celebrate when you complete a task to reward yourself for finishing something and not worrying about making everything perfect.
  • Focus on the positive and do your best to banish negative thoughts.

Next, let’s find out about the over-doer.

4.      The over-doer

Over-doers find it tricky to say no to taking on new tasks and to order tasks so that the most important is tackled first. Not being able to say no to new commitments means that too many demands are made of you at once. Thus, you procrastinate because you are overwhelmed by the sheer amount they must do. I’m definitely guilty of this one.

Let’s find out how to overcome it.

What should you do?

To stop yourself from falling prey to this, over-doers need to:

  • Acknowledge and accept your limitations.
  • Try your best not to take on an unmanageable number of tasks. Instead, set boundaries and say no when you need to.
  • Try to prioritise tasks so that you can work on one task at a time. You might want to use to-do lists to help you.

5.       The crisis maker

If you’re one of those people that leave things until the last minute, you might just be a crisis maker. You find deadlines exciting and think that you will work best under pressure, leading to poor time management. You may believe doing the task will be boring unless you work under pressure. It can also mean you end up panicking and rushing to get something finished.

What should you do?

Here are a few tips for crisis makers out there.

  • Try to identify healthy ways to motivate yourself, rather than relying on stress to spur you on.
  • Use the Pomodoro method and train yourself to work in short, focused sprints, with short breaks between each one. This allows you to break complex tasks up into smaller tasks you can more easily negotiate.
  • Create deadlines for yourself and get a burst of adrenaline that will help you finish tasks faster.

6.      The rebel

A poster on a break wall, reading "REBEL FOR LIFE"
Photo by Paulina Milde-Jachowska on Unsplash

Rebels don’t relish being told what to do, because they don’t like to feel they are being controlled. They don’t even like telling themselves what to do. Some tasks seem an unworthy or unfair use of their time. They wish to maintain a sense of individuality and control.

What should you do?

Rebels may wish to heed this advice.

  • Strive to be proactive rather than reactive.
  • Take time to reflect on how you could respond to something before acting.
  • Be aware when you are being defiant.
  • Select one task each week that you will finish in your own way, so you can express individuality.
  • Consider whether having short-term pleasure is worth the risk of having long-term regrets.

Wrapping up

You might have noticed that many characteristics of the various types of procrastinators have to do with your mindset. People are often driven to delay things because of fear, so working to make even slight adjustments to your attitude can pay off big time and help minimise the tendency to procrastinate.

You can start changing your mindset by doing small things every day, so you get used to a better way of dealing with your work. You could start by setting goals, breaking down big, difficult, or complex tasks into smaller ones, or by considering the value of each task you must accomplish in relation to the effort and time you will have to expend to complete it.

Soon enough, you’ll have the impulse to procrastinate under firm control. You are bound to see a marked uptick in your productivity and will be powering through tasks like a champ. Do you know what type of procrastinator you are? Let us know in the comments!

Published by Lizzie

Lizzie here. I'm a freelance copywriter and editor based in the UK. I'm also passionate about volunteering and hold an MA in History from the University of Warwick. I've written for a multitude of fantastic websites and companies, including a legal automation software company, a dog training site, and more. Check out my reviews on Fiverr and Upwork for more info!

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