How to Get Out of the Habit of Procrastination and Start Doing Stuff Today!
As a kid, procrastination was a word I often heard people use. It wasn’t a word that I ever truly understood, but Procrastination is a major problem for many people, myself included.
It’s an issue that seems to keep coming back every year, and it’s something I still need to work on.
There is something in the water out there… A lot of people around me seem to be facing the same problem as me when it comes to procrastination and finishing tasks that are important to them.
I know I’m not alone when I say that I sometimes feel overwhelmed by all the things that I need to do and sometimes just don’t have the time or energy to do them. But leaving things to the last minute makes us more stressed – and so the cycle continues.
Most people procrastinate on difficult tasks or unpleasant tasks that are boring or uncomfortable, but some people procrastinate for longer than others – and how do you know when it’s starting to become a problem, or holding you back?
When does your procrastination move from the typical level, into being one of the chronic procrastinators?
If you are at the stage where you are missing deadlines, or missing sleep because you have so much work that’s been left to the last minute, then it’s time for something to change.
It’s like a vicious cycle: you’re going to have to do it, but you don’t want to, so you procrastinate… and procrastinate. Leading to unfinished projects, stress and disappointment. You’re not alone—procrastination is a huge issue for millions of people all over the world.
In this article, I’ll be talking about the four main types of procrastination, and then we’ll be going over how to beat them, no matter which type of procrastinator you are – all with the help of a simple checklist
There are different reasons why people procrastinate, and understanding why you do this, and the causes of procrastination is the first step to overcoming this.
Which Type of Procrastination do you Relate To?
There are four major kinds of procrastination. We’ll be going over each of these types of active procrastinators and how to beat them so that you can have a better day to day experience in the long run.
Below are some of the most common procrastination profiles and personality styles. You may see these referred to by different names but the main types of procrastinators tend to fall into one or more of these categories.
The Anxious Avoidant Procrastinator
This type of procrastinator feels so overwhelmed by all of the tasks, that they would prefer to just pretend that they don’t exist.
This type of procrastinator is affected mostly by emotional triggers and would rather avoid even thinking about the tasks that need doing, because it makes them feel panicked.
This type of behaviour can be linked to low self esteem and low self-confidence. Maybe you don’t feel confident or capable to even start the tasks in question, so you just become overwhelmed.
The Perfectionist Procrastinator
This type of procrastinator will not start anything unless they feel sure that it can be completed to their extremely high standards.
This type of person can tend to be hard on themselves and would rather do nothing, than do something that doesn’t live up to their own high expectations.
Once you examine your perfectionist tendencies on a deeper level, and start to unpack this and let some of it go then you will find yourself able to
The Fun Times Procrastinator
This type of procrastinator can’t help but prioritise short term enjoyment and fun over the long term consequences.
If this is you, you are the type to choose short term gain and immediate reward over longer term payoffs.
This type may also be indecisive procrastinators. You are not sure which of your important tasks to start with – so why not do something fun instead. This type is also keen on pursuing more attractive new ideas, rather than finishing up the more “boring” tasks that have been waiting for a long time.
The Carefree Procrastinator
This type of procrastinator is so laid back that they always believe there is still enough time to get things done, and so they are always happy to put things off to the next day. But when the next day rolls around, the same thing happens again.
This type of procrastinator just can’t see to get enough of a sense of urgency to give their tasks much attention. Until the very last minute when an adrenaline rush will push them to finally get things completed.
However, when you do this – you are not giving yourself enough time to produce your best work as everything ends up being rushed. For college students, if this is you then you’re not giving yourself the chance to earn those top grades that you are truly capable of.
Procrastination is probably one of the biggest obstacles you’ll face when trying to achieve your goals. So let’s break everything down.
These steps may seem simple but by following along, you will find you have plenty of time to fit in your most important things, and even work on new projects.
Make a list of your projects and tasks
Sometimes we feel like we have so many things to do that we don’t even know where to start. Write a list, so you can see everything in front of you and then prioritise.
You could try using techniques such as bullet journalling to help stay on top of your lists.
Decide which project to start with
We need to start somewhere – you might want to start with the most important, or start with the smallest tasks so that you can quickly tick some off the list.
Create your not-to-do list
The not-to-do list is just as important as the to do list. It’s easy to waste so much time on things that are not truly a priority.
If something is sucking your time, without enough benefit then maybe it’s time to let that one go.
Create a procrastination purge list
Are you aware of the tools you use to procrastinate? Many of use use social media or video games. We tell ourselves it will just be a few minutes, but hours later our work still hasn’t been started.
Being aware of these and putting restrictions into place may be necessary. You can set limits on your phone games or social media apps via your iPhone settings.
Write down a list of emotional triggers
Then, explore your list and work out ways to avoid or overcome your triggers.
The stronger our emotional reaction to doing a task, the more likely we are to procrastinate with that task. Understanding this can really help to work past it.
Address any negative emotions you are feeling by writing them down and exploring them.
For example, there are tasks I put off because I am scared of doing it wrong, so I would rather keep pretending the task does not exist. This is a fear based trigger, however, doing that only make things worse.
Set a timer for 10 minutes and see how much you can get done
10 minutes is better than nothing. This checklist point is great for those perfectionist procrastinators.
If you feel like you don’t want to start, because you won’t be able to finish all in one go or because you may not be able to complete everything perfectly – starting this habit could be life changing.
I once heard a professor of Psychology say – anything that is worth doing, is worth doing badly. This sounds so weird at first, but the point is: just start. And doing even something is better than doing nothing.
Create a self-care task list and pick one thing to do each day.
We may have a huge list of things to be done for work, or studies, or family. It’s important to fit in something to fill our own cup too.
Sometimes this can be a cause of procrastination because we are just so burnt out, that we don’t have the energy to get started. So take a look at some of these self care ideas and incorporate something to help you maintain balance, and feel ready to take on your task list.
Write down a list of tasks that can be delegated
You don’t need to do everything yourself. A lot of time, we could be feeling overwhelmed because we are trying to juggle every single thing – but pass some of it along, where appropriate and you can free up enough time for the things that truly need your specific expertise.
Pick a task and just get started right now.
Sometimes there is no other way around it, than just starting. The sooner we start, the sooner the task is finished and a huge weight is lifted off our mind.
How you approach procrastination is determined by your personality type. The way you tackle procrastination depends on whether you’re a ‘diverter’ or ‘distracter’.
The best methods for fighting procrastination, which we provided in the checklist, are very simple and effective so I really hope it helps!
Anna is a Wales-based writer and graduate from SOAS University of London.
As the voice behind On Your Journey, she empowers women to embrace holistic well-being and spiritual growth through her expert insights into wellness and symbolism.
When she isn't writing thought-provoking articles, you'll find her busy crafting and raising her 4 children.