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The 3 types of procrastination, and tips to stop postponing tasks

The 3 types of procrastination, and tips to stop postponing tasks

April 1, 2024

Many people leave for tomorrow what they could do today, or leave it for the next week or even later.

Procrastination is the habit of delaying our commitments in an irrational and unproductive way. It generates a lot of stress and not a few frustrations.

Maybe you have tried, without success, to be faithful to your purposes, but you always end up procrastinating, if this happens to you, please read on because this article can help you. Specific, we will see what are the different types of procrastination , and how to deal with them.

  • Related article: "Procrastination or the syndrome of" I'll do it tomorrow ": what it is and how to prevent it"

Why do we leave things for tomorrow?

We procrastinate because we are divided, our brain is rational and this is reflected in the division of the limbic system and the cerebral cortex .

We have an instinctive, fast, energetic and visceral brain that only thinks about the now, that wants things now and that does not care about tomorrow, and we have another brain, the rational, the reflective, the one that thinks and analyzes and it costs act, is slower and more prudent, knows where he wants to go and thinks about the future.

Procratization is the result of the struggle between the emotional brain and the rational brain and when the will of our reason yields to the whims of instinct is when we recreate ourselves in procrastination.

Related article: "What is behind the habit of constantly postponing?"

Different types of procrastination

This phenomenon depends on several factors, so there are different types of procrastinators depending on the factor that has more weight in each person. Mainly:

  • Expectation : Low confidence in oneself.
  • Value : Dependence on reward and propensity to boredom.
  • Impulsiveness : He can not wait.

1. Expectation (confidence level)

Excessive optimism leads to inaction , waiting seated for a miracle to happen.

This optimism, understood as the difficulty attributed to the task, becomes especially clear when estimating the time that it will take us to meet our objective (fallacy of planning) and that finally turns out to be greater than in our estimates.

We usually try to calibrate the performance needed to achieve success with the least possible involvement : we want the greatest reward with the least effort. There are procrastinators by excess and by default of optimism, some believe they are more capable than they really are, this leads them to failure. Others, and they are the majority, more pessimistic, they are not aware of their abilities and they do not even try to try it.

In the balance is the key, the tasks that are a feasible challenge They are what motivate us the most for the action.

Generates success spirals

If we propose a progressive series of difficult, but ultimately affordable goals, we will maximize our motivation and we will give the achievement a meaning , a reflection of our ability. Every laboriously achieved victory gives a new sense of self and a desire to fight for more.

In the early stages of a complex project it is usually better to have process or learning goals than product or result; that is, the goals consist in acquiring or refining new skills or steps (the process) instead of reaching the highest score (the product).

The essence of the success spiral is that achievement creates trust , which in turn becomes a commitment that generates more achievement.

Cheer up with vicarious victories:

Surround yourself with spirited and optimistic people, attitudes are contagious. What others believe may influence your intention to act , do not share your plans with spoilers, do it with people who trust you and encourage you to fight for what you want.

The biographies of people who have inspiring lives and with whom one can feel identified are powerful resources that can help us. Watch motivational films, attend talks from people who have triumphed, be part of a group that tries to improve itself or improve society, as a volunteer or create your own support group.

Visualize it

The detailed mental recreation of a performance involves the mirror neurons, which record it in the brain almost as deeply as if it were actually being performed. However, do not settle for this, Go beyond, after vividly imagining yourself crossing the finish line from a 10-kilometer race, take an exercise in reflection and situate yourself in reality, in your current situation.

Observe this contrast, where do you want to go and where are you and then think about the first thing you must do to reach your goal, what is the first step? Take that step!

Anticipates the worst and expects the best

Avoid the syndrome of false hope, think carefully about what could go wrong, not to fall into catastrophism, if not to prepare for possible setbacks. Requesting an opinion from others can help. Make a list of the ways in which you usually procrastinate and have it in the field of vision when you are working.

Avoid risky situations: turn off the phone and avoid other distractions before getting to work. At work you have to take breaks so as not to overheat the engine, but stopping every now and then makes the engine cool down and have to warm up again.

Developing an emergency plan can also help: have someone to call if you feel you can be tempted to encourage you to stay true to your commitment.

Accept that you are addicted to procrastination

Assuming that a single failure entails a collapse of the will can be useful in some people, as in the case of Alcoholics Anonymous. Follow these guidelines:

  • Register it : Reflect on the times you have moved away from the goal and write it down.
  • Recognizes that the will betrays us with self-deception of the type: "it will only be this time".
  • Keep in mind that the first delay will allow you to justify all the rest .

2. Assessment (propensity to boredom)

Faced with this type of procrastination, you have to make the tasks become motivating.

Turn your tasks into a game, set goals

The tasks we hate are among those we tend to postpone the most, especially those repetitive, monotonous tasks that are very simple .

Turn it into a game: make the boring difficult, you must achieve a balance between your own ability to perform the task and the difficulty of the task in question and thus generate a state of flow: a state of maximum concentration and involvement in the What are you doing.

If you find it too difficult, you can get frustrated and abandon If it is too easy you will get bored and want to leave it.

Create a chain of small objectives that serve to achieve a long-term goal, this goal should be something motivating so that it is easy for you to go from link to link in the chain. It is easier to sweep the dining room if this is part of a more ambitious plan: to have a party at home.

Fixes the objectives in positive, reformulates the goals of avoidance in goals of approach:

  • Do not focus on what you do not want to happen, but what you want. This motivates more.
  • Achieving an ascent (approach) is better than getting you not thrown out (avoidance).

Distribute your energy well

Fatigue makes us procrastinate, it's hard to start if we do not have energy, self-control and self-motivation will generate wear and tear . Recognizing that our energies are limited will help us distribute them better.

Do not go hungry, try to make five meals a day, have a healthy and balanced diet. If you feed on scrap metal you will not surrender, you will have little energy and you will be an easy target for procrastination. Nuts and long chain carbohydrates are your best allies, but do not forget the rest of the food and drink water.

Do cardiovascular exercise, it is essential to stay healthy, energetic and vital. It will increase the efficiency of your immune system, you will not get sick so often, you will feel energized and although you may think that you do not have time for that, it is enough with half an hour three times a week and your productivity (and your health) will be greatly benefited. What it costs is to start, once you turn it into a routine, the difficult thing is to leave it. Further, program the heaviest tasks when you have the peak of energy (usually morning and noon).

Sleep the necessary hours , adults usually sleep between 7 and 8 but that depends on the case of each one. Take good sleep hygiene, respect bedtime schedules and wake up.

Respect your limits. If after all the above you still feel tired reduce your demand or seek help to comply with everything, but do not overdo it.

If you are going to procrastinate, do it well

Many people start cleaning the house, ordering the storage room or doing all sorts of useful things but that they are distracted from what they really should be doing . In my adolescence I had a roommate who was specially ordained during the exam period, because instead of studying, what he had to do, he began to organize everything.

Look at that task that you should be doing but you are avoiding (eg, studying). It establishes other tasks that, although they are not so important, are also necessary and you want to do them more (eg // order the desk while listening to music).

Find the balance between distracting yourself with these less important and more enjoyable tasks and that main task that you are running away from. Finally you will end up doing it, but take a break doing other tasks that you find most enjoyable.

Combine unpleasant tasks with small prizes

Procrastinators do not reward themselves after finishing their work. Giving yourself messages of praise and words of encouragement is a technique called "learned diligence" also help, incorporate this into your life.

Make a list of small prizes that you can give yourself: go shopping, give yourself a breakfast worthy of a king, get out of gear ... whatever motivates you.

Promise yourself one of these awards when you finish the task from which you are sneaking . Think of ways to make boring tasks more bearable: analyze political news by drinking your favorite coffee, doing your laundry listening to music or studying algebra in the company of a friend.

Make your passion your vocation

Not everyone has the privilege of dedicating themselves to what they really love, which is a shame, because we spend many hours of our lives working. There are those who can not choose, by multiple factors, but If you have the opportunity to combine your passion with your vocation, do not hesitate, throw yourself .

If you can dedicate yourself to doing what makes you jump out of bed every day to get to work without a doubt you will end up triumphing in that field.

Also, follow these tips:

  • Make a list of those professions in which you do activities that excite you.
  • Be honest with yourself : discard those that exceed your possibilities or that require skills that you do not have and / or are not willing to acquire.
  • Sort the ones you have not yet discarded according to the demand of the labor market.

If you have difficulties in all of the above get in touch with a job counseling service that knows how to value your skills effectively, that they know how to direct you towards what you are good at and have a better chance of succeeding.

3. Impulsivity (the central element of procrastination)

All the above is useful but what really sabotages us is our impulsiveness, it is the power of that instinctive brain, which is faster and indomitable than our rational brain. That's why when we think "I should not have eaten that cake" it's too late, because the emotional brain is like a rearing horse that has a lot of strength.

Here we will learn to use that other, more well-trained horse, our reason, so that the car goes to where we want and not where our impulses take us.

Precommitment: commit now to prevent temptations.

Find out what your temptations are (what distracts you from the objective and makes you lose time). Make a list. Put these temptations out of your reach: put the phone in airplane mode when you're studying, install software that blocks access to the Internet at certain times of the day ...

Do not let your needs reach a certain limit, if you need to take a game before going to study, do it, the question is that your work is not interrupted because suddenly you can not take it anymore and you have to play.

Add disincentives to your temptations to make them repellent, if for example you prefer to stay at home dozing before going to the gym then commit to a friend to send a photograph of your soaked shirt after the training session or otherwise you pay an agreed sum .

Use your attention in your benefit

Learn to handle distractions , neutralizing its effects on your will. For this you can use your attention:

Imagine catastrophic consequences if you give free rein to your temptations, the more vividly you imagine the most repellent disaster will be made and the easier it will be to evade them. This is called covert sensitization, if for example you are thinking of quitting smoking you can imagine your family crying inconsolably around your coffin in the funeral home. Yes, it is very extreme, but the question is to help you achieve what you want.

When temptation appears focus on the most abstract aspects . It is more likely to fall before a hamburger with juicy meat, melted cheese and crusty bread that if you look at its more abstract attributes such as shape, weight you think it can have, etc.

Eliminate, especially in your workplace, any incitement that is an alternative to distraction and replace those prompts with messages loaded with meaning for you , that link you with your values ​​or with the reason why you work. The picture of your family or the next holiday destination you want to go to can be good examples.

Separate as much as possible the place where you work from the place you do your leisure activities. If, for example, you do not have two computers, at least create two profiles with different backgrounds, that will give your brain signal of "time to work" or "time to play".

See specific objectives

This is the ultimate weapon against procrastination. Define your goals in a concrete way, knowing precisely what you should do? and when?

Fragments long-term goals into short-term goals. If you have to study a manual of human anatomy, start with the chapter that motivates you the most, first one, then another ... do not see the goal as a whole, break it down into small objectives .

When it costs you a lot to start with a specific goal, propose something that will "break the ice", for example, if you intend to go to the gym but it gives you a terrible laziness, just try to put on your tracksuit, put on your sports shoes and go with the bag to the gym door, nothing more. Once there you can turn around, but when you have taken the step of leaving home everything will be downhill.

Organize your goals in the form of routines that are carried out regularly, always in the same time and place, so the habit and familiarity with the space will play in your favor.


Procrasstination is a complex phenomenon Because there are many factors involved, we are constantly mired in an internal struggle between desire and duty and sometimes sabotage ourselves. "Know your enemy", know how procrastination works and the ways to overcome it and this will help you to fulfill your goals.

Do not leave for tomorrow, put these tips into practice today.

How to Stop Procrastinating And Get Stuff Done (April 2024).

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