Procrastination meaning and types of Procrastinator Personalities

 “Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.”

  -William James

What is Procrastination?

The meaning of procrastination in one word would be Delay. Procrastination is a habitual way of delaying tasks and activities even at the cost of negative outcomes or consequences.

It means postponing things to do at a later time.

It can be a disadvantage and a barrier in doing even the simplest tasks. In particular, a barrier for students in their studies as it prevents them from maintaining productive and healthy relationships with their teachers, families and friends. Procrastination can have both external causes such a work overloads and internal causes such as motivation and personality characteristics.

What are Procrastinator Personalities?

The following six procrastinator personalities identified by L. Sapadin (2012) in her book "How to Beat Procrastination in the Digital Age: 6 Unique Change Programs for 6 Personality Styles" explain the relationship between procrastination and personality factors (an internal cause of procrastination).

(a)    The Perfectionist believes that the world is an all-or-nothing place and tries to avoid failure and is afraid of not measuring up to the expectations of others. Procrastination allows and justifies for a perfectionist the idea to postpone completing an assignment giving the justification that if it’s not complete, it can’t be judged.

(b)    The Dreamer creates an ideal world in which he is a "special" person who does not have to play by the same rules as everyone else, thus yearning for an easy, painless and nonthreatening life. Though the dream is very comforting, it creates damaging academic, occupational and social/romantic consequences by producing late assignments, unfinished tasks and broken promises.

(c)     The Worrier has an overpowering need to feel safe and fears risk and change. They are predisposed to “what ifs” as they are expecting the worst and disastrous outcomes if they take an action.

(d)    The Crisis-maker waits until the last minute to get things done. S/he under-reacts to situations that provide plenty of time to work by saying, "I don’t work well until I really start to feel the pressure," and then over-reacts with great frenzied bursts of activity just before the deadline. It might work when the person is young but gets difficult with age.

(e)    The Defier harbours a deep resentment toward authority, and has learned that the safest way to rebel is to use passive aggressive techniques. When asked to perform a task, a defier will almost always confidently say “Sure, I will do that,” but then “forgets” to do what he promised, thereby leaving the task incomplete or poorly done. This strategy provides the defier with a sense of power over others, but unfortunately it often leaves the important people in his life feeling betrayed, manipulated and/or used.

This strategy often produces inevitable negative consequences such as failing a course or losing a job. Nonetheless, the defier consoles her/himself by thinking that this is the inevitable price he must pay if he wants to do things his own way.

(f)      The Pleaser is always busy and the focus is not so much on getting the work done, but on pleasing others. This leads to distraction from focusing on their own obligations. Pleasers may think they can do it all, yet, over time, they lose the balance between school and fun, work and leisure, and the professional and the personal.

Soon they are disappointing not only those they want desperately to please, but also themselves by producing mediocre work and making up excuses to explain why the work is late.

So, do you recognise yourself in one or more of these descriptions? If your answer is yes, then take the first step to transform yourself into a happier and more productive person by following these 3 steps/parts:

i.          Understand and Know Yourself: The first step is always understanding and acceptance of the Self. 

ii.         Be true to Yourself: Evaluate your strengths and limitations with absolute honesty.

iii.        Just do it today, not tomorrow: Take the first step today and keep taking small steps everyday towards  accomplishing your task.


  -    Procrastination is a habitual way of delaying tasks and activities even at the cost of negative outcomes.

  -    Six procrastinator personalities have been identified, namely: 

i.                     The Perfectionist

ii.                   The Dreamer

iii.                 The Worrier

iv.                 The Crisis-maker

v.                   The Defier

vi.                 The Pleaser

  -      Identify which category you fall into and start getting into the habit of doing it today and not tomorrow.

So how do you beat procrastination? Please let us know in the comments section.