What Type of Procrastinator Are You?

What Type of Procrastinator Are You?

Summary:
– regardless of what type of procrastinator you are, procrastination is tricky to overcome because it involves a certain amount of self-deception – a person might say to themselves or others:
– I will do it later
– I’m tired – I need a break
– I’ve got some stuff done – this is my reward
– I have plenty of time
– these seemingly reasonable explanations/justifications sap motivation
– however, if procrastination is causing you trouble such as missing deadlines or you are feeli guilty about your procrastination, consider the following recommendations:
1) discern what do you get out of your procrastination
2) determine what type of procrastinator are you
– type 1: “the avoider” – I procrastinate to avoid unpleasant emotion like stress, uncertainty &/or feeling overwhelmed – this is considered “classic procrastination” – we are not necessarily avoiding the task – we are rather avoiding the negative emotion which goes along with that particular task – therefore we may avoid a “high-stakes task” such as studying for exams/ completing an assignment – on one level this makes sense because we wish to avoid what feels unpleasant – so instead we do anything/everything except the high stakes task & are in turn “rewarded” with not feeling bad in the short to medium term | we may also procrastinate on tasks for which we do not know what to do next – in such a scenario a person avoids the negative emotions of doubt, uncertainty or simply feeling stupid &/or incompetent – it is worth noting that this type of procrastination can be relatively small scale, particularly when such behaviour occurs because we do not know where some tool (we need) is located for example – but it can also be large scale – particularly where the avoidance interferes with larger aspirations (think College/University etc.,) & we are not sure what to do, how to follow through on a process & whether we can cope if we do | note though that this “avoider” type of procrastination still means you will feel bad at least on some level (this negatively feeling typically is low-grade & begins with the initial avoidance) & most definitely in the longer term as such negative emotions accumulate – note: such negative emotions typically involve feeling guilty, pressured &/or anxious
– type 2: “the optimist” – I procrastinate because I think things will not take too long or that I have more time than I really do – thoughts/self-talk &/or talk may include: it will just take a few minutes; no worries, I will get it done; I just have to do one more thing, then I will do it – note how the optimist type procrastinator under-estimates the time frame &/or over-estimates their ability – an observer or the person themselves may think this is just over-confidence (perhaps even a delusion if another person is let down) not procrastination – outcomes of such procrastination are frequently/always being late, under-prepared &/or over-committed – on the other hand, such procrastinators can use this optimism quite deliberately to use the pressure to perform better, even if it means they will “pull an all-nighter” to get a task done
– type 3: “the pleasure seeker” – I procrastinate because I just don’t want to do what I am supposed to be doing – such people often consider themselves to be lazy – sometimes this “playing”, “seeking of pleasure” &/or doing anything other than what they should do “gets out of hand” – particularly when they wait to feel good before starting a task – this is because that “feeling good” pre-requisite just never happens – pleasure seeking often gets reinforced – people may end up stepping in & doing the task for you – it even seems to the pleasure seeker that they are “getting away with it – however the problem is it breeds resentment & as a consequence the person develops a reputation for being unreliable [this occurs despite the consequences initially appearing hidden to the pleasure seeker]

Tips to consider regarding procrastination:
1) radically accept that you are procrastinating
– know intimately how procrastination disguises itself from you
– know how you “reason away” procrastination &/or justify it to yourself
– this is about accepting that such behaviour is ultimately a choice & you can decide if you wish to change such behaviour
2) change your environment
– ask yourself what enables your procrastination & then ruthlessly cut it out – if there are digital distractions such as an app, YouTube, Netflix etc., then delete them/deny yourself access | are distractions your bed or the fridge, then go to a library or a coffee shoppe rather than working from home
– this intervention is considered to be powerful because it forces you to confront your habits
– if denying access to distractions means you then shift to another distraction, this then provides information about your procrastination – that you are making choices in the moment
– ultimately the idea is to break the cycle of procrastination
3) notice when procrastination stops being pleasant
– the idea is to find out for yourself – when whatever you are doing to procrastinate – stops being fun
– so notice this & use this as a springboard
– when procrastination starts nagging at you – consider switching to something productive
4) do something easy on your to do list, but which is also productive
– remember it is almost impossible to shift from full-on procrastination to full-on productivity
– the idea is to gradually move ahead
– remember to be honest with yourself when choosing a transition task – the idea is to be task-oriented so you can move forward
5) limit your to do list (to three tasks, or one major and two minor tasks for e.g.)
– if a to do list is too big, it can seem overwhelming – further such lists are often unrealistic & can amplify procrastination particularly for the optimist type of procrastinator

Source: Savvy Psychologist | podcast date: 21 September 2018

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