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The 4 Types of Procrastination
You’ve done it.
I’ve done it.
At some point, we’ve all fallen prey to the trap of procrastination — and sometimes more than we would like to admit.
How do you procrastinate?
- Do you avoid chores you don’t want to do?
- Do you shirk complicated tasks that feel impossible to accomplish?
- Do you put off things on your to-do list that don’t seem urgent?
- Do you get distracted by standing tasks when new items come along?
Well, however procrastination shows up for you, you are not alone.
But procrastination is sticky. The problems it can cause can linger well beyond the individual task or topic you’re avoiding in the moment. The time lost, the energy spent — all of it adds up and can take a toll on what matters most in your life.
So today, I’m dedicating this post to talking about the 4 types of procrastination so that you can learn to recognize it for what it is when it rears its ugly head in your life.
Procrastination Type 1: The things we don’t like doing
We all have things we don’t like doing.
Maybe they feel annoying, or they don’t bring you pleasure, or they just plain ol’ suck your energy. These are the things we’re very likely to try to postpone.
Those are things we likely identify as chores.
Possible examples include:
- Tidying the closet
- Organizing your desk
- Paying the bills
- Grocery shopping
- Writing a letter to your Great Uncle Joe
Chores don’t always look the same from person to person. In fact, a chore for you might be someone else’s happy place. But the point is that whatever feels like a chore for you — something you just don’t like doing — is a likely zone of procrastination.
Procrastination Type 2: The things that feel big
Have you ever really wanted to do something specific, but it felt so big that you never started.
Welcome to the second type of procrastination.
This kind of procrastination is sneaky, because it often manifests in such a way that might trick you into thinking you’re making headway.
Does this sound familiar?
- You’ve spent a lot of time and energy researching what you want to do, but you haven’t started doing it yet.
- You’ve told everyone you know about your big plans and ideas for what you want to do, but you haven’t taken action yet.
Sometimes, when something we really want feels big — and especially when it matters to us a whole lot — it’s easy to put it off for “just one more week.”
But don’t be fooled. You might be doing the research, thinking a lot, and talking about it all the time, but if you’re not actually taking action, you’re in procrastination mode.
Procrastination Type 3: The things that lack urgency
This third type of procrastination is all about the relative urgency assigned to the task at hand.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that you tend to de-prioritize things when there’s not a hard deadline — and then you cram to get them done at the last minute when the deadline is near. Think filing taxes, sending in insurance claims, renewing travel documents, packing, or preparing a presentation for work. These are the kinds of things that many people tend to procrastinate on.
If they feel urgent, they’ll get done. If they don’t, they won’t.
Yeah, you know the drill. Exhausting, isn’t it?
Procrastination Type 4: The things that are expected
The last type of procrastination revolves around expectations, and it’s one of the most under-recognized forms of procrastination out there.
It’s when you prioritize what is asked of you or expected of you, but you deprioritize the things that you want to do for yourself.
For example, you plan to take a beautiful walk in the fall weather — some much needed “you” time. But then your partner calls and asks if you could take over the grocery shopping and cooking because their afternoon meeting has gone long. Or your mother calls right when you were going to get started on your passion project — and by the time the call ends, you have to get back to work.
This kind of procrastination is tricky because we can often feel like we’re getting everything done — everything anyone asks of us or is expected, we’ll nail it. But the truth is, there is something critical being left undone: the thing/s that you want to do for you.
Procrastination comes at a cost
It probably comes as no surprise to hear that procrastination comes at a cost.
- Wasting your precious time and energy thinking about doing something without actually doing it
- Missing out on seeing the potential of what we wanted to do for ourselves
- Feeling disappointed, unmotivated, or even just grouchy
Procrastination blocks us. We tend to feel paralyzed or overwhelmed. Sometimes it creates a feeling of guilt or chips away at our self-esteem — even when things do get done.
But here’s the good news: you’ve already taken the first step to recovery!
The first step, my friend, is awareness.
And now that you’re aware of the four types of procrastination, you can start moving toward a place of more serenity — and get closer to actually doing the things that you most want to do in your life.
So what’s next, you ask? I invite you to join me over on this week’s episode of the Girafe Coaching Podcast to learn more about your next steps to overcoming procrastination.
See you there!
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