Sometimes I make a lot more work for myself than I actually have and then don’t do any of what I was originally supposed to do. Maybe I’ll clean the entire house before I leave it to attempt to write an essay. Maybe I’ll do another few days worth of homework. Or my personal favorite, read an entire novel to avoid doing something else. Of course, the only place this got me is less time to break my bad habit.
Contrary to popular belief, the procrastinator is not just lazy. Here are three classifications of procrastinators from Psychology Today:
Thrill Seekers: This type puts things off for the sake of experiencing the euphoric rush that comes with waiting until the last minute
Rebellious Procrastinator: The rebellious procrastinator enjoys the idea that they are doing something that would usually be viewed as misbehavior. They don’t procrastinate because they want to, but rather because someone else does not want them to. Of course, this type of thought is developed as a child, but the behavior can be lifelong.
Anxiety Avoiders: The avoider will do anything it takes to avoid the stress and fear of failure that comes along with completing a task.
The reasons for procrastination are not the same for each type of behavior. The thrill seekers and the rebels are typically males that procrastinate to engage in a deviant behavior. Generally speaking, it is more socially acceptable for a male to procrastinate. However, if a male grew up in an environment with high expectations, he is more likely to be an avoider. Anxiety avoiding males and most female procrastinators that grew up in this sort of environment are more likely to associate their self-worth to their work. In other words, when they are turning in a project, they are allowing a piece of themselves to be scrutinized with a judgemental eye. Thus, avoiding becomes a strategy to avoid the feelings of such an anxiety-inducing task. Also, it’s much easier to accept a mediocre grade on a project if it’s something that you did in a short period of time.
Obviously, I am a recovering procrastinator and would definitely classify myself as the avoider type. Working through this might take years, but here a few tips that help me:
Clean your work environment to clear your mind
Do not focus on turning in something perfect
To keep working on something, think of it as starting it until you finish it. More on this here: https://zenhabits.net/starting/
Focus on your task at hand. Multitasking makes procrastination much easier.
Create an incentive like going out with friends after you get something done.
If all else fails, psychology today notes that cognitive behavioral therapy is known to help procrastinators.