What Kind of Procrastinator Are You?

Who I am
Robert Maurer


Procrastinators is a very stimulating world, not boring at all.

Those who are part of it contribute, with their own character and their habits, to give each one a different nuance and to make it interesting and varied.

The constant postponement of the procrastinator in fact it responds to psychological mechanisms that are at the same time:

  • Very strong and precise: that is, it does not procrastinate by chance, but as a consequence of deep reasons, inherent in our mindset. 
  • Very different from each other: the result can be the same, but the situations in which we do it and the reasons why we procrastinate are often profoundly different (to find out a few go to this article)

Although each procrastinator is therefore somewhat in its own way, we can distinguish, within this general definition, some typical categories.

In my manual dedicated to how to win the postponement I have identified 5 main ones:

  • the lazy
  • the insecure
  • the perfectionist
  • busy
  • the coward

Let's see them one by one.


Individuals who fall into this category are activated only at the last moment, when the commitments made the adrenalinic flavor of the emergency.

In the inactivity phase, some of them are confident that everything will be fine and that a short time is enough to do what they have proposed.

In others, on the other hand, a vague worry makes room, but it is promptly chased away by a more pleasant thought and a more satisfying activity, which in most cases is doing nothing.

Behind this attitude there is a certain superficiality and a tendency to minimize issues that concern them: as if school, work or other activities weren't so important as to deserve their best effort.

Often the lazy procrastinator is also prone to overestimate himself and lives in the illusion of being able to get by at the last minute without too many problems.

Maybe, since in the past he made up for lost time thanks to skill and luck, he thinks that that condition of grace will accompany him forever.

But if in some cases this can happen, in many others things are different.

In fact, the time remaining is often too short to complete the set task.

Not to mention the fact that moving in a hurry, at the last moment, can lead to doing things badly, with a certain negligence and poor results.

A typical example of this type of procrastinator are those students who, in the end, pass the exam more or less always, thanks to a little luck and a few twists and turns of nights on the books.

In one way or another they even get to graduate, but with results below their capabilities.

In the long run, these types of people risk:

  • Getting tired much more than the others, precisely because of the commitment necessary to recover the long periods of inactivity.
  • Living in regret of what they could have done and have not done.

In short, the lazy procrastinator, even when he succeeds, never fully expresses his potential.

And this is a real shame.

What to do when you find yourself in this situation: get used to anticipating your deadlines, perhaps using others as a stimulus.

For example, if you have the exam on the 20th of the month, prepare it with a partner who wants to be ready for the 10th.

If you are working on a project that needs to be delivered on a Friday, promise that you will send it on a Wednesday.

Making these kinds of commitments to other people it will help you compensate for low responsibility that sometimes you show to yourself!


Unlike the previous case, here there is no superficial approach to the work to be done, on the contrary, it is exactly the opposite.

The insecure procrastinator sees the commitment that awaits him as an insurmountable mountain, an obstacle too difficult and insidious to overcome.

There would also be an intention to deal with it, but there is a great sense of insecurity to frustrate any type of initiative fear of other people's judgment and failure.

Indeed, the insecure procrastinator lives in constant fear of failure, and this certainly does not help him to cope with his duties.

At the root there is often a low self-esteem, which leads him to think that he is never able to accomplish something. And then he goes back to infinity, terrified of disappointing himself and those around him.

On the other hand, only those who make mistakes. And therefore, if he doesn't, he can't be wrong.

In the end, unsurprisingly, the insecure procrastinator ends up getting stuck e leave everything in total stillness.

The few times he manages to get something done, he does it with truly excessive anxiety and torment.

Typical examples of these dynamics are when it is necessary to start a very long diet, or to recover entire exam sessions, or to straighten work situations that now seem completely compromised.

The final goal appears so great and difficult that it completely blocks any initiative.

What to do when you find yourself in this situation:  he learns to break up his goals into many parts, in such a way that:

  • they will give you less awe
  • you will get small in-between successes that will boost your self-esteem and confidence that you will make it


A common category of procrastinators is that of perfectionists.

The problem of these people is related to too high expectations they have of themselves. They never allow themselves to make a mistake, to take a false step, and their life must be a continuous display of high-level performance.

This desire to always do well, to always be impeccable, it leads them to never feel ready enough to address obligations and deadlines.

If there is a margin, even minimal, of insecurity, they prefer to postpone and struggle to fill the gap that separates them from absolute perfection.

The result is that when it comes time to act, they hesitate too much and they don't dare, they don't try, they don't jump.

Often, at the root of this attitude, there are self-esteem problems similar to those of the insecure procrastinator, only that the procrastinator blocks before starting, while the perfectionist stops before finishing.

Classic examples of the perfectionist procrastinator are:

  • the student who continues to postpone the exam date
  • the writer who always reviews the same manuscript for years
  • the aspiring blogger who never goes online
  • in general all those who they can't get their dreams out of the famous drawer

The philosophy behind this attitude is "all or nothing" and the phrase that is repeated most often in these cases is, needless to say: "I'm not ready yet".

What to do when you find yourself in this situation: accept that failure is always possible, because not all variables will always be under control.

And remember we only have one life, don't spend it waiting for Godot. 


This type of procrastinator appears, to a superficial glance, dynamic, determined, enthusiastic and curious.

He is the typical person who never backs down from a project and responds enthusiastically to new stimuli and interesting proposals.

A great frequenter of online courses, he buys books, jots down ideas and enthusiastically documents himself on the internet.

Too bad, however, that its impulses never reach something concrete and indeed, they deflate with the same speed with which they were born. As soon as you get to the practical phase, in fact, this type of procrastinator backs out, resists and loses all initial interest.

His commitment is limited only to the phase in which he can fantasize and give vent to his imagination. The next stage, the one in which you test your limits and face the first obstacles, makes him run away.

If you've ever played with 1-2 year olds, you will have noticed how easy it is to attract their attention waving a shiny object in front of their eyes.

And how, with the same ease, can distract them from that object shaking another.

It is the same thing that happens to the busy procrastinator, who enthusiastically moves from one project to the next without ever finishing anything.

And in fact the British have coined a very appropriate definition for this type of attitude: "shiny object syndrome”: the shiny object syndrome.

What to do when you find yourself in this situation: before embarking on a new project, you must learn to stop for a moment and seriously consider if you really are you want, you can and it's worth it carry it out.

Sometimes you just need to sleep on it over one night o count to ten to avoid embarking on things that, in the long run, interest you only superficially.


Those who belong to this category above all, they postpone uncomfortable situations, that make them uncomfortable and force them to deal with their exposed nerves.

They do not like to hear the truth, not even from themselves, and so they do nothing but postpone, thus deluding themselves into escaping that moment.

The classic example is the sedentary man full of ailments who, for fear of receiving a lecture from the doctor, keep postponing the visit set months earlier.

Not to mention those who, by making excuses after excuses, postpone the feared confrontation with the accountant because they know that there are extra expenses in sight.

Or finally who, while not going there for months, just can't make a phone call to cancel your gym membership or music class.

In all these cases, what is scary is simply confronting or admitting out loud a truth that is known all too well.

The interesting aspect of this category is that often, those who are part of it, it stands out for punctuality and reliability in many other contexts, such as the business one.

The cowardly procrastinator can be, in this sense, a real paradox.

It faces long and difficult tasks without problems, but stops in front of junk that takes from 5 minutes to two hours: a phone call to make, a laboratory exam to take, an email to write.

What to do when you find yourself in this situation: you have to learn to get out of your comfort zone, perhaps by making a written list of these small activities and leaving it in plain sight on your desk or bathroom mirror.

In the end, the discomfort of having to deal with that list every morning will be stronger than the discomfort you feel doing the things that are written on it, and so one after the other you will carry them out.


I have never met anyone who, at least in some aspect of life, does not have the tendency to postpone more than what would be needed.

The important thing, however, is to identify what one's tendency is and become aware of the behavioral patterns of which we are victims.

Once you have identified our behaviors and understand our reactions, it is useful to start asking yourself some questions about it.

  • Why do I always tend to postpone and escape from my responsibilities?
  • Why is it so easy for me to use this solution?
  • Why do I persist in doing it even though I know it is a harmful habit?
  • What are the consequences of continuing to postpone this or that thing?

La awareness of one's way of being, in fact, is a fundamental starting point for any path of self-improvement.

And especially, allows you to choose.

In fact, I believe that it is impossible, and all in all undesirable, never to find yourself procrastinating.

But it would be nice to be able to do it by choice, not because you are dragged into it, reluctantly and without awareness, by their own impulses.

A greeting. Anthony

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