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types of procrastination

Procrastination is a common behavior that affects everyone at one point or another. While some people procrastinate occasionally, others engage in it habitually and may struggle to complete daily tasks efficiently. Interestingly, there are different types of procrastination that individuals typically experience. Understanding the various forms of procrastination can help individuals develop a targeted approach to overcome it and improve their productivity.

Key Takeaways:

  • Procrastination is a common behavior that affects productivity and lifestyle.
  • There are different types of procrastination, with each having unique signs and symptoms.
  • Identifying the type of procrastination an individual experiences is crucial to developing a targeted approach to overcome it.

Understanding Procrastination Behavior

Procrastination behavior can be categorized into several types, each with its own set of delaying actions. Understanding the different manifestations of procrastination is crucial to addressing them effectively.

Procrastination CategoryExamples of Procrastination Behavior
Delaying StartingPutting off the beginning of a task, such as browsing social media instead of starting a work project.
InterruptionStopping a task mid-way, possibly due to boredom or discomfort, and switching to another task or activity.
PerfectionismObsessing over details to the point of delaying action, such as rewriting a sentence multiple times before moving on to the next paragraph.
OverthinkingSpending excessive amounts of time analyzing a situation or task, leading to indecisiveness and avoiding action.
DistractionEngaging in unrelated activities to avoid a task, such as cleaning the house instead of working on a project.
OvercommitmentTaking on too many tasks simultaneously, resulting in difficulty completing each one and ultimately postponing some of them.
Fear of FailureAvoiding a task due to fear of potential failure or negative consequences, such as not applying for a job to avoid potential rejection.
Task AversionAvoiding a task due to discomfort or aversion, such as not making a phone call due to anxiety or discomfort with phone conversations.
ImpulsivityActing on impulse and engaging in immediate gratification instead of completing necessary tasks, such as watching television instead of working on a report.

It is important to recognize which category or categories of procrastination behavior one engages in to effectively work towards overcoming these habits. By identifying specific delaying actions, individuals can take steps to address and ultimately overcome them.

Chronic Procrastination

Chronic procrastination is a major type of putting things off, characterized by a persistent delay in task completion despite negative consequences.

There are two main types of chronic procrastination: behavioral and decisional procrastination. Behavioral procrastination involves avoiding tasks or engaging in other activities instead of completing them. Decisional procrastination involves delaying important decisions due to fear of making the wrong choice or not having enough information.

Perfectionism and Procrastination

Procrastination due to perfectionism is a common form of delaying action that many individuals struggle with. In their pursuit of excellence, perfectionists often postpone tasks until they feel “ready” to complete them perfectly. This behavior can result in missed opportunities and unfulfilled potential.

There are different ways in which perfectionists tend to postpone tasks. Some may spend excessive time planning, researching, or organizing, while others may repeatedly revise and edit their work. Perfectionists may also struggle with prioritizing tasks and struggle to move on to other tasks until they feel satisfied with the outcome of their current task.

It is important for perfectionists to recognize the impact that their delaying actions have on their productivity and well-being. One effective strategy is to set realistic goals and deadlines, breaking tasks down into manageable steps. Perfectionists should also learn to accept mistakes and uncertainty, recognizing that these are natural parts of the learning and growth process.

Decision-Making Procrastination

Decision-making procrastination is a common form of procrastination that occurs when an individual faces a difficult decision. It involves avoiding the decision-making task altogether, even if that means putting off other related tasks as well. Some people may delay making important decisions, such as career choices or investments, due to fear of making the wrong decision. Others may struggle with smaller daily decisions, such as what to eat for lunch or what clothes to wear, leading to wasted time and reduced productivity.

Types of delaying tasks associated with decision-making procrastination vary from person to person. Some people may choose to distract themselves with unrelated activities, such as scrolling through social media or binge-watching TV shows. Others may seek out additional information or input from others, leading to analysis paralysis. And some may simply ignore the decision and hope that it resolves itself or that someone else makes the choice for them.

Task Aversion Procrastination

Task aversion procrastination is another example of a common form of procrastination that can have detrimental effects on productivity and well-being. This type of procrastination involves avoiding certain tasks due to discomfort or fear.

There are various manifestations of task aversion procrastination. Some individuals may procrastinate on tasks that they find boring or tedious, while others may put off tasks that require difficult decision-making or that involve confronting unpleasant situations. In some cases, individuals may avoid tasks that trigger feelings of anxiety or fear, such as public speaking or confronting conflict.

Distraction and Procrastination

Distractions are a common way individuals avoid important tasks, leading to procrastination. There are different types of delaying actions that people engage in when distracted.

Type of Delaying ActionDescription
Online browsingIndividuals browse the internet or social media to avoid important tasks.
EntertainmentIndividuals watch television, play video games, or listen to music as a means of distraction.
ChoresIndividuals engage in household chores or other mundane activities to avoid important tasks.

These types of tasks commonly used as distractions can be detrimental to one’s productivity and prevent the completion of important tasks.

Procrastination Due to Overcommitment

Procrastination due to overcommitment is a major category of putting things off. When individuals take on too many tasks or responsibilities, they may become overwhelmed and struggle with completing them on time. This can lead to stress, anxiety, and lower productivity levels.

One way in which overcommitted individuals tend to postpone tasks is by multitasking. Although multitasking may seem like a way to get more done in less time, it can actually be counterproductive, leading to decreased focus and concentration. Another common way in which overcommitted individuals procrastinate is by delegating tasks to others, which may relieve some of the pressure but can also create a dependence on others and decrease one’s sense of control over their work.

Fear of Failure and Procrastination

Procrastination due to fear of failure is a common form of putting tasks off. Individuals who struggle with this type of delaying action may avoid tasks to protect themselves from the possibility of failure. This fear can lead to a lack of motivation to start or complete tasks, causing further delays.

There are different ways in which fear of failure contributes to procrastination. Some individuals may feel that they are not good enough to complete the task or that mistakes will be seen as a reflection of their abilities. Others may worry about being judged or criticized by others if they fail.

Avoidance of difficult or challenging tasks can be a way to maintain self-esteem and prevent negative feedback from others. However, this type of procrastination can be detrimental to personal and professional growth and may lead to missed opportunities.

To overcome procrastination due to fear of failure, it is important to recognize the thoughts and beliefs that contribute to these feelings of inadequacy. Actions such as setting small goals, breaking tasks down into manageable steps, and seeking support from others can be effective in building confidence and reducing anxiety.

In summary, procrastination due to fear of failure is a kind of delaying action that manifests in different ways of postponing tasks. By identifying and addressing these thoughts and beliefs, individuals can overcome their fear of failure and achieve their goals.

Impulsivity and Procrastination

Impulsivity is another factor that can contribute to procrastination habits. Individuals who struggle with impulsivity may have a difficult time delaying gratification and prioritizing long-term goals over short-term desires. This can lead to various manifestations of impulsive procrastination.

One common form of impulsive procrastination is task-switching, where individuals frequently shift from one task to another without completing any of them. This behavior can make it difficult to accomplish anything meaningful, as tasks are left incomplete and important deadlines are missed.

Another form of impulsive procrastination is overcommitment, where individuals take on too many tasks without considering their ability to complete them. This can lead to a feeling of overwhelm and avoidance of certain tasks, perpetuating a cycle of procrastination.

To overcome impulsive procrastination, it can be helpful to practice mindfulness and develop a stronger sense of self-awareness. This can help individuals recognize when they are about to engage in impulsive behavior and instead choose to prioritize important tasks.

Additionally, creating schedules and setting specific, achievable goals can help individuals with impulsivity issues stay on track and avoid getting sidetracked by short-term desires. Breaking down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable steps can also make it easier to avoid task-switching and stay focused on completing important work.

Overcoming Procrastination Habits

Procrastination can be a challenging habit to break, especially when it comes to different types of procrastination. However, with the right strategies and techniques, it is possible to overcome common forms of procrastination and improve productivity. Below are some tips to help:

1. Practice Time Management

One of the most effective ways to overcome procrastination is to establish a schedule and stick to it. Prioritize tasks based on importance and allocate specific blocks of time to complete them. Use digital or physical calendars to keep track of your schedule and set reminders when necessary. Breaking large tasks into smaller, more manageable steps can also be helpful.

2. Set Realistic Goals

Be realistic about the amount of work you can accomplish in a certain period. Setting overly ambitious goals can lead to feelings of overwhelm and discouragement, which can ultimately contribute to procrastination.

3. Minimize Distractions

Distractions can be a major hindrance to productivity, so it’s essential to minimize them. Some strategies to consider include turning off notifications on your phone or computer, using noise-cancelling headphones, and avoiding social media during work hours.

4. Address Underlying Issues

Often, procrastination is a symptom of underlying issues such as anxiety, perfectionism, or fear of failure. Addressing these issues through therapy or self-reflection can be instrumental in overcoming procrastination habits.

5. Practice Self-Compassion

Be kind to yourself and avoid negative self-talk. Remember that everyone struggles with procrastination from time to time, and setbacks are a natural part of the process. Focus on progress rather than perfection and celebrate small victories along the way.

By implementing these strategies and techniques, it is possible to overcome different types of procrastination and improve productivity. Remember, breaking a habit takes time and effort, but the results are well worth it in the end.


Procrastination is a common problem that affects individuals from all walks of life. In this article, we explored different types of procrastination that people commonly engage in, including chronic procrastination, perfectionism, decision-making procrastination, task aversion procrastination, distraction, overcommitment, fear of failure, and impulsivity.

It is essential to recognize the different manifestations of procrastination and identify strategies to overcome these habits to improve productivity and achieve personal and professional goals. By implementing effective time management skills and adopting a proactive mindset, individuals can break free from the cycle of procrastination and achieve success.

Remember, procrastination is not a permanent state, but rather a learned behavior that can be unlearned. So, start taking action today and tackle your types of procrastination habits head-on to transform your lifestyle.


Q: What is procrastination?

A: Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing tasks or actions that need to be completed.

Q: Why do people procrastinate?

A: People procrastinate for various reasons, such as fear of failure, perfectionism, overcommitment, and a tendency to be easily distracted.

Q: What are the different types of procrastination?

A: There are several types of procrastination, including chronic procrastination, perfectionism-related procrastination, decision-making procrastination, task aversion procrastination, and procrastination due to overcommitment.

Q: How does chronic procrastination impact productivity?

A: Chronic procrastination can significantly reduce productivity as tasks are consistently delayed, leading to increased stress and lowered performance.

Q: What is the connection between perfectionism and procrastination?

A: Perfectionism often leads to procrastination as individuals strive for flawless outcomes and may delay tasks due to the fear of not meeting their high standards.

Q: What is decision-making procrastination?

A: Decision-making procrastination occurs when individuals avoid making important decisions, leading to delays in progress and potential negative consequences.

Q: What is task aversion procrastination?

A: Task aversion procrastination is when individuals avoid certain tasks due to discomfort, fear, or a lack of motivation to engage with them.

Q: How does distraction contribute to procrastination?

A: Distraction plays a significant role in procrastination as individuals engage in various activities to avoid important tasks, leading to further delays and decreased productivity.

Q: How does overcommitment lead to procrastination?

A: Overcommitment occurs when individuals take on too many tasks, resulting in difficulties completing them all and leading to procrastination as tasks are postponed.

Q: What is the connection between fear of failure and procrastination?

A: The fear of failure often leads to procrastination as individuals may avoid tasks to protect themselves from potential failure or negative outcomes.

Q: What role does impulsivity play in procrastination?

A: Impulsivity can contribute to procrastination as individuals prioritize immediate gratification over long-term goals, leading to delays in completing important tasks.

Q: How can I overcome procrastination habits?

A: To overcome procrastination, it is important to develop effective time management skills, set clear goals, prioritize tasks, break them into smaller steps, and eliminate distractions.