This is how to stop procrastinating.

How to stop procrastinating

What type of procrastinator are you and what do you do about it?

Recently I read this article in Volkskrant about procrastination. Educationalist Lennart Visser revealed that 20 to 50 percent of students experience problems with study progress and performance as a result of procrastination. Visser also mentions that the cause of the procrastination is the most important in trying to stop doing so. In this article I will discuss 4 types of procrastinators and what they can do to get to the root of their procrastination-problems.

The perfectionist

Perfectionists know they have the potential to achieve great things, but that’s also often the root cause of their procrastination. Perfectionists expectations are way too high and they are deathly afraid of failure. The perfectionist connects self-worth to performance. The fear or performing badly makes the perfectionist push tasks back. If you are one of those people that procrastinates because you are afraid you won’t live up to expectations, maybe one of the following solutions will work for you:

  1. Good enough is good enough. This is probably not the first time you’ve heard this but try to focus more on realistic results than perfect results. Done is done, good enough is good.
  2. Find a study-buddy. By working with someone who does not focus so much on every little detail, you’ll be able to progress with your own work much faster as well.

The avoider

If you are a part of this group, you are great at procrastinating by avoiding all responsibility. Like perfectionists, avoiders are afraid of failure, but there’s an important difference. Avoiders are not convinced of their own abilities and often suffer from low self-esteem. They are afraid they are not capable or smart enough to do their work and so they avoid it completely. For avoiders the following methods could help:

  1. Look at the norm. The bar probably isn’t as high as you’ve made it out to be. By looking at others’ work, you can create a more realistic expectation of what you need to do.
  2. Ask for help. If you really are struggling, there’s no shame in asking someone to help you to get your work done.

The pleasure seeker

The pleasure seeker has a great life. They are capable and confident, and they know they will probably finish their work in time, so they tend to procrastinate by doing fun things. The pleasure seeker only works when they have to. This person has a love/hate relationship with procrastination, because they work well under pressure and enjoy the rush of the deadline, but they also experience stress and are sometimes unimpressed with their own work. If you’re the kind of person who often underperforms because you’d rather grab a beer than work, maybe these solutions work for you:

  1. Work together. By turning your regular work into group work you have people to keep you accountable ánd you’re doing something social, which might help you enjoy your work more.
  2. Treat yourself after your work is finished. Make a list of everything you’d rather be doing and allow yourself to do one of those things after you’ve finished a task.

The dreamer

The dreamer doesn’t mean to procrastinate, but often gets stuck in the planning phase. Because of these starting issues the dreamer never really gets started on a task and before they know it the deadline has come and gone. Planning is great, but only if you actually do the work you assigned yourself. If you have trouble getting started, you might be a dreamer and these tips might help you stop your procrastination habit:

  1. Break up large tasks in small pieces and practice by doing those small tasks one by one. Doing a little bit of work is better than not doing any work at all.
  2. Keep yourself accountable by assigning yourself one active task per day. Dreamers can be passive and this way you can break out of that cycle more easily.

To close off this article I’ll give you some additional tips that work for every type of procrastinator.

Tip 1: Avoid distraction
Yes, put away your phone, turn off your internet if possible and go study in a quiet space away from home. Procrastination becomes much harder when you eliminate every possible distraction.

Tip 2: Set goals
Planning might not be the only way to stop procrastinating, but it does help. By setting realistic goals and making them concrete you’ll have a much better idea of what you need to get done.

Tip 3: Start at the end
If you find the blank piece of paper in front of you intimidating, start somewhere halfway. If there’s any point in your paper or essay you have a vague idea about, do that part first. Getting something down will make it much easier to continue working.

Which type of procrastinator are you? And what’s your best procrastination tip?