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What Type Of Procrastinator Are You?

What Type Of Procrastinator Are You?

“I never put off till tomorrow what I can possibly do – the day after.”― Oscar Wilde

Do you find yourself staring at a blank page all too often?

Is there a task that is a constant fixture on your to-do list?  

Is the last-minute stress the only way you get things done?

Procrastination is something that affects almost everyone. What’s more, over 20% of the population are chronic procrastinators. Putting off or struggling to get started with a task is not an issue with your time management, and it is certainly not a reflection on your productivity. The truth is that procrastination lies much deeper than that. It could be a reflection of your self-esteem, anxiety or perfectionism. So, what is really going on when you procrastinate?

The Three Types Of Procrastinator

1.     The Fear Of Failure Procrastinator

Between 7 and 17% believe that their fear of failure is the primary reason why they procrastinate. These people are known as the ‘anxious procrastinators’ and follow common traits of;

  • Scheduling more than they can do
  • Unrealistic at managing time
  • Have exceedingly high expectations of achievements
  • Do not prioritise fun and rest
  • Inability to live up to set standards leads to stress and anxiety.

Why does this type of procrastination happen?

Procrastination, in this instance, is a way to cope with the negative emotions that specific tasks may give. This feeling of not being good enough, not being able to deliver what you said you would, or not being able to do as much as you thought. Procrastination swoops in to help protect you of feelings of self-doubt, resentment, and anxiety, even if it is just for the short-term.

How to stop it

The challenge for anxious procrastinators is to overcome the intention-action gap. This means lowering your expectations of what you want to accomplish so that it is more in line with the actions you can comfortably achieve.

The best way to start this is with a planned diary where you block out chunks of time. Firstly, you fill your diary with rest, leisure and fun activities. Then you look to fit in work and the tasks you typically put off. Having fun and relaxation need to be a priority. When you fulfil this fundamental level of self-care, you can then start to see the actual time you have left available, which can stop you from taking too much on.

2.     The Instant Reward Procrastinator

If you have that one main goal for the day, you might find yourself doing anything else in order to avoid it. You may even take on tasks that you consider worse, just to put off what is actually important or urgent.

These procrastinators are likely to;

  • Reorganise the bookshelf or spice rack than sit down to work
  • Will offer to go on a coffee-run or make the teas in the office
  • Be more focussed on the number of tasks over quality
  • Struggle to prioritise important and urgent tasks.

Why does this type of procrastination happen?

The benefit of this type of procrastination is that you are still accomplishing other things. However, this can be a negative as you see your procrastinating actions as positive, rather than training your brain to focus on the most crucial aspect. You end up creating a routine of doing a whole host of non-important jobs instead of prioritising what matters.

This comes as part of the temporal motivation theory. The quick-wins that you are doing instead of the vital task provide instant gratification. If you know that it will take a longer amount of time to receive the reward for completing something, then you are less motivated to get started.

For example, a tidy and organised spice rack will be seen straight away, whereas a client making a decision on that big pitch you need to prepare may not see results for weeks or months.

How to stop it

The best way to kick this procrastination habit is to create a rewards system with treats that you know will work for you. If you finish that presentation, then you can reward yourself with organising the kitchen cupboards. If you go for that run, you can have half an hour reading your favourite book afterwards. The important aspect of this type of procrastination is the rewards for completion need to be immediate.

The problem is that our brains see procrastination as an instant reward. When we receive a reward, we tend to do it again. This can lead to a cycle of procrastination. However, when you start to train your brain with rewards for doing things, rather than for putting them off, you can begin to break the habit.  

The Perfectionist Procrastinator

With perfectionism, the temporal motivation theory plays a part again. When people are confident that they will acquire the desired outcome, motivation increases. For perfectionists, where nothing they do is ever quite good enough, so they don’t believe they can achieve their desired result, motivation drops. When there is no motivation, procrastination kicks in.

A perfectionist procrastinator is likely to;

  • Strive for the best
  • Believe they have time to do a perfect job, then leave it until the last minute
  • Will end up delivering work that they see as ‘adequate’ rather than perfect
  • Give themselves a hard time
  • Worry about a low standard of work.

Why does this type of procrastination happen?

This type of procrastination stems from the amygdala. It is this part of the brain that is seen as our internal threat detector. So, when we see a task as a threat to our self-esteem, or that we may not be able to deliver perfection, the amygdala lights up. This means that we will put off the task, even if we know delaying it will cause more stress in the future. The brain simply focuses on removing the threat in the present moment and will not worry about future threats.

How to stop it

Managing this type of procrastination can be really healthy in stopping you from trying to achieve unattainable perfection. It is important to look back over the times where you haven’t delivered perfection but still received a positive result.

Then, without the pressure of perfection, you may begin to practise ‘pre-crastination’, where you can actually take on the worst jobs first and focus on stress-free delivery, rather than stressful perfection.

What Type Of Procrastinator Are You?

If procrastination is stopping you from achieving what is important to you, then I can help with my bespoke, blended therapy. Whether through virtual consultations or in-person appointments at my Harley Street practice, we can uncover the mental blocks that may be in your way and how to push past them.

To find out more and discuss your specific requirements, email me on info@hypnosis-in-london.com to book your free 15-minute consultation.  

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