What is procrastination? It is putting important tasks off to a later time. Recently this word has become really popular as everybody procrastinates from time to time. At my work I deal with procrastination a lot – both as a person consulting people on productivity issues and as a professional with a lot of plans that sometimes are postponed for no good reason. What I find interesting is the fact that there are three main reasons to procrastinate and thus there are three different types of procrastinators. Each of them need to be dealt with in a different way. Let’s have a look at these types and best strategies to fight a specific type of procrastination:
1. You don’t do what you should do because you are afraid of failure
This is the most common understanding of procrastination. You don’t get your stuff done because you are afraid that if you do … Feel free to fill in with whatever your fears are. You are afraid that your plan will never work out, so you don’t plan well. You are afraid that it will have the result you don’t want. You are afraid that your friends or family will not approve your actions. Whatever it is the fear holds you back.
2. You are tired
The second type of procrastinators are people who I worked with a lot. They have a job, a family, a group of friends, a hobby, they volunteer at an NGO and still they beat themselves up for procrastination. These are people who cannot accept they are human beings and as every human being they have only 24 hours a day. No more, no less. This type of people have either a problem with time management, specifically with organising time to rest or a problem with selection of tasks they are going to undertake. So when their bodies are screaming for good rest, even for some passive time, they feel guilty for not working and try to push themselves to work more. They try to force themselves to do more and instead of getting a nap or going for a walk they end up watching videos on youtube, staring at Facebook or some other activities that make your back hurt.
3. You postpone something that you don’t want to do
This type of procrastination is related to anxiety but in a different way than the first type. The third type of people make plans that are on one hand attractive but on the other hand scary. So if the thing that you are going to do is far away from now you really want it but if it is going to happen tomorrow – you feel like running away. The classical example here is a wedding plan. There are a lot of couples who plan a wedding for 3, 5, even 10 years and when one of the partners puts his or her foot down and wants to get married, the other one breaks up. Because the big part of him or her never wanted this marriage and the plan was sustainable only when it was distant.
Each of these types have different reasons for procrastination and they use different coping mechanisms. Each of these types should be recommended a different way of fighting procrastination. I will try to tell you more about them in coming posts so if you have any questions, please, send me a message. I will try to address them later. And now – get back to your work!