Last Friday, I found myself sitting at my desk, staring at a blank document on my screen. The clock was ticking, and the deadline for my project was fast approaching. Instead of diving into the work, I felt an overwhelming urge to tidy my desk, check my emails, and scroll through social media. 

As the hours slipped away, my mind raced with stressful thoughts: “What if I can’t finish on time? What if it’s not good enough? Why can’t I just focus?” The longer I procrastinated, the heavier these thoughts became, creating a storm of anxiety and self-doubt. 

This all-too-familiar scenario is the classic dance of procrastination. We all know the feeling: the longer we put off a task, the more daunting it becomes. But why do we let procrastination hold us back, and how can we break free from its grip?

Procrastination is more than just a minor inconvenience; it’s a performance-limiting habit that can significantly impact your well-being. The more you procrastinate, the more you reinforce this detrimental behavior, leading to a vicious cycle of increased stress and reduced productivity. 

This accumulated stress manifests as guilt, panic, anxiety, and a sense of being overwhelmed, all of which can have serious health consequences. In fact, current research suggests that reducing procrastination by just 1% can lower the risk of stress-related illnesses by 63%!

To better understand how procrastination affects us, let’s explore the six types of procrastination identified by Dr. Linda Sapadin in her book How to Beat Procrastination in the Digital Age. Typically, individuals tend to exhibit behaviors from two of these primary categories. Which two resonate with you?


The 6 Types of Procrastination

      1. Perfectionist Procrastinator
        • Core Fear: Avoiding the fear of failure or success (I have to get this right).
        • Characteristics:
          • Has difficulty completing tasks due to very high standards.
          • Overthinks the plan, details, rules, and schedule.
          • Justifies imperfections by procrastinating (it would have been better if I had more time).
          • Has excessive focus on details and perfection.
        • DISC Profile: More common in individuals with a “C” profile.
      2. Dreamer Procrastinator
        • Core Fear: Avoiding the discomfort of confusion (I don’t know what to do).
        • Characteristics:
          • Dreams about projects but never starts.
          • Waits for opportunities rather than creating them.
          • Focuses on the end result rather than the steps needed to get there.
          • Disinterested in details.
        • DISC Profile: More common in individuals with an “I” profile.
      3. Worrier Procrastinator
        • Core Fear: Avoiding worry and anxiety (what if, what if, what if).
        • Characteristics:
          • Struggles to start tasks due to worries about potential outcomes.
          • Runs out of time due to excessive worrying.
          • Lacks trust in their ability to figure things out.
          • Gets stressed when there are unexpected events.
          • Obsessively focused on trying to control future uncertainties.
        • DISC Profile: More common in individuals with an “S” or “C” profile.
      4. Crisis Maker Procrastinator
        • Core Fear: Avoiding boredom (I work better under pressure).
        • Characteristics:
          • Ignores tasks until the last minute to create urgency.
          • Takes pride in living on the edge and taking risks.
          • Impatient with predictable or safe tasks.
          • Lacks focus on future planning.
        • DISC Profile: More common in individuals with a “D” profile.
        • NOTE: This is also very common for neurodiverse individuals such as those with ADHD, because the adrenalin associated with this behavior helps someone to focus.
      5. Defier Procrastinator
        • Core Fear: Avoiding feeling trapped (don’t tell me what to do).
        • Characteristics:
          • Irritable when asked to do undesirable tasks.
          • Resentful of productivity suggestions from others.
          • Sabotages tasks by working slowly or ineffectively.
          • Uses excuses like “I forgot.”
          • Disregard others’ opinions.
        • DISC Profile: More common in individuals with a “C” profile.
      6. Pleaser Procrastinator
        • Core Fear: Avoiding judgment and overwhelm (I don’t want them to be disappointed).
        • Characteristics:
          • Has difficulty saying no, leading to resentment and overwhelm.
          • Engages in busy work without accomplishing much.
          • Overly involved in others’ problems while neglecting one’s own.
          • Has a strong need for approval from others.
          • Displays excessive concern about others’ opinions.
        • DISC Profile: More common in individuals with an “S” or “I” profile.

Action Items

      1. Identify Your Patterns: Determine which two procrastination types resonate most with you.
      2. Catch Yourself: Be aware of when you are procrastinating.
      3. Understand Your Emotions: Identify the emotion you’re trying to avoid, name it, and lean into it. Remember, emotions typically last only 90 seconds.
      4. Challenge Your Thoughts: Remind yourself that procrastination never makes you feel better.
      5. Take Small Steps: Ask yourself, “What’s one small, easy thing I can do right now to move this forward?” Is it as simple as scheduling it early in the day when you have the most energy?
      6. Act and Celebrate: Don’t let your brain say no—take action and celebrate your progress!

By understanding and addressing the root causes of your procrastination, you can break the cycle and improve both your productivity and overall well-being.



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