The list below, summarized by Bill Heavy, describes the six types of procrastinators Dr. Sapadin identifies in her book ‘Its about Time! The 6 Styles of Procrastination and How to Overcome Them’.
These procrastinators desperately want life to be easy and free from pain. They retreat from the real world and live in their heads, where everything is vague, nonthreatening and cozy. They cherish the notion that they’re special, that they don’t have to play by the rules.
The worrier prizes security above all else and pays a steep price for it. He has a narrow comfort zone and paralyzes himself with anxiety when faced by risk or change. He suffers what Sapadin calls "anticipatory anxiety" and endless stream of "what ifs" about hypothetical situations, all with negative consequences.
This class of procrastinators resents authority but expresses the rebellion covertly. Ask a defier to perform a task and he’s likely to say, "sure, I’ll do that". Then he "forgets" what he promised, or delivers work that’s half-done, late or both. In relationships defiers put off meeting their partners’ needs in much the same way. This withholding stratagem gives them a sense of power, but their co-workers and lovers feel manipulated, used and betrayed.
Most of us do our best work under some kind of time constraint. A crisis-maker goes out of the way to create drama, going from one behavioral extreme or the other. He underreacts to a situation and then overreacts with a big shot of intense work to meet the deadline.
Basically, a perfectionist's self-esteem is on the line every time they do anything. Often they are idealists who are unrealistic in their use of time and energy. "That’s because perfectionists see everything in all-or-nothing terms," says Sapadin. "If the task they’re working on is a failure, it stands to reason that they’re failures too." Deep down, the perfectionist fears nothing so much as not measuring up.
Like the perfectionist, the overdoer doesn’t seem like a procrastinator because he’s always busy. He’s a people pleaser, the guy who never says no to taking on more work. In his struggle to do it all and feel self-reliant, he has no balance of work and downtime, drudgery and fun. The personal and the professional. He also disappoints the people he wants so desperately to please because he has taken on more than he can deliver.
For each type, Dr. Sapadin offers suggestions for change and action. I've given the book to several friends, and it's a great starting point if you're ready to move past this habit.
Where there is the possibility of control in our lives, it's very healing to grab it and run with it. So, which type of procrastinator sounds like you?