We all find ourselves procrastinating from time to time, whether it be putting off cleaning our rooms or struggling to start an essay. Sometimes we wonder why we just can’t mentally connect with a task. Here’s some insight into why we might procrastinate, the different types of procrastination and a few solutions.
There are a multitude of reasons as to why different people procrastinate. From the fear of failure to thinking we have enough time to do something and later realising you’ve run out of time. Procrastination can be linked to our emotions and moods. If we’re feeling overwhelmed, burnt out or anxious it will feel very hard to be productive and get something done. Too often procrastination gets mistaken for laziness when that simply isn’t the case. People can procrastinate out of wanting their work to be perfect and not knowing how to start something ‘properly’. We can psych ourselves out and feel as though we’re not ready to do a task. There are also various work styles, such as working best under pressure and thus leaving a task very near to the end to work better. Psychology Today discussed something called the “delay reduction theory”. Simply put, work gets done more when a deadline is approaching.
The Different Types
Various work on procrastination shows around 9 common types of procrastinators and if you’re anything like me you might find you’re a combination of a few of the options.
- The anxious procrastinator, someone who feels too anxious to work on a task and puts it off.
- The fun procrastinator would rather do something entertaining than begin work.
- The ‘plenty of time’ procrastinator isn’t always the best at time management and puts off work.
- The perfectionist struggles to begin out of wanting to make sure their work is perfect.
- The over-doer can often take on too many tasks and struggles to get them all done.
- The avoider often self-sabotages and feels they’re going to make mistakes.
- The crisis-maker procrastinates until they find themselves in a panic.
- The dreamer is very good at planning out how to get work done, without seeing the work through.
- The busy bee gives themselves lots of smaller tasks to do before getting to what they need to get done.
Procrastination can be seen as a sort-of spectrum, a person could be a mild to average procrastinator or even an anxious to active procrastinator. Onto some solutions on how to deal with procrastination.
There are a few probable solutions on how to work with procrastination and it’s mainly about finding out what works for you.
- Have some compassion for yourself. In other words, cut yourself some slack. As long as you know when you need to start something and when you need to take a break.
- Create a schedule. Making a clear timetable of when to do what might help.
- Give a task meaning. A Washington Post article spoke about how an English professor said that by writing down why getting a task done is important you might be able to work on it.
- Tell someone about your deadline. If you tell someone that you need to get something done, they can help keep you in line.
- Break it down. Take a task and break them up into piece-by-piece work. This way getting a task done doesn’t feel as big as having to do everything at once.
- Reward yourself. After getting a task done give yourself something to say well done, whether it be a Netflix break or some chocolate.
- Create a good workspace. Give yourself the best chance to get work done by creating an optimal workspace.
- Initiate a balance. The age-old saying is often right; work then play.
It’s important to remember that procrastination is common, and we do not need to put too much pressure on ourselves. To some extent, we might always procrastinate a little bit, and that’s okay as long as we give ourselves some grace and know that when it’s time to do something we need to do it. Take a breath, it will get done.