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Procrastination can be explained as the time between task identification and task completion. The dictionary defines procrastination as the act or habit of putting off or delaying. There are many procrastination types and understanding your type is extremely helpful in overcoming procrastination.

Procrastination Quote procrastination types

Procrastination Types

  1. CLASSIC – We pretend that other projects are of higher importance and we work on those instead. We can make ourselves feel good, briefly, by doing those tasks because we are accomplishing something. We do this because our brains typically prefer immediate results versus long-term results. We have an internal battle with our own brains trying to motivate our “current self” to do right by our “future self”.
  2. CLEANER – We decide that if our desk, home, or office was in order, our minds would be freed up for the real work. Sometimes this is very true! A cluttered desk, home, or office sets the tone for your day. Clutter can make you feel sluggish and weigh you down mentally.
  3. PERFECTION – We tell ourselves that we don’t have time to do the project perfectly and, therefore, we can’t start it until we have the proper time.
  4. BETTER THAN – We feel defiant because this task is beneath us, it’s not our responsibility, or it isn’t important.
  5. BLAME – We believe someone else is holding us up from getting the project done. It’s out of our hands!
  6. HERO – We cannot do our best work unless we hit crisis mode and become the hero. Crisis mode usually doesn’t happen until the deadline is looming. For some people, hitting crisis mode is the only way they can overcome the boredom of the task. But studies show that work completed in crisis mode is not our best work.
  7. FANTASY – We shouldn’t need to work hard to get what we want. Doing work sounds boring or frustrating.
  8. WORRY – We worry so much that we won’t be able to accomplish the task and be successful that we can’t even start, thus guaranteeing failure.

How to Beat Procrastination

When you Google this topic, there a millions of results! Let me provide you with a few tips and more resources. Keep in mind that you may only need to identify your procrastination type and then find a few, likely simple, ideas to beat procrastination. Don’t get too bogged down in the plethora of ideas. Find one or two that speak to you and take that first step forward!

When there is a part of the task that is boring, we tend to put it off. (See the HERO above.) We can’t imagine muddling through the tedious parts. This is an opportunity to define what is boring about the task. Being clear about the problem is half the battle! Once you are clear about what is making this boring, set aside a specific amount of time to process the boring parts. Incentivize yourself with a reward for surviving the boring stuff!

Maybe you have actually started the task but have found that you are not accomplishing much. Evaluate what is making the task difficult. Sometimes just getting specific with yourself will free up the flow and allow you to find a way to work smarter instead of harder.

Here is a perfect example of a task that I procrastinate. Writing a blog post can be challenging for me because coming up with a topic is not well-defined nor easy. Unless I have a quick inspiration, which occasionally happens, not having a topic to write about makes me procrastinate. I need to tell myself that there is a smarter way to create a topic. I do not have to simply wait for inspiration!  I remind myself that I can brainstorm a list of topics. Like all true brainstorming sessions, you should write ideas down with no judgment. Just let the ideas flow!  I also can review past notes of blog topics. I can then narrow down the options based on current ideas or inspiration. Once I have selected a topic, the process flows readily.

Previously on my blog I posted 12 Procrastination Beating Tips. It’s a quick read so see if you can find a couple of ideas that are meaningful to you. While researching this topic, I found James Clear, author of the NY Times Best-Selling book, Atomic Habits. He offers excellent articles dissecting procrastination as well as a newsletter. Tim Urban has a short Ted Talk that is entertaining and explains in simple terms what is going on in our brains when it comes to procrastination. I thoroughly enjoyed his talk and I bet you will too!

Take one step forward. Just one! You can do it.