The Subtle Art of Procrastination

Put it off till the time is right....

Put it off till the time is right....

As a coach, one of the main issues individual clients share with me is procrastination. It’s defined as ‘the action of delaying or postponing something.’ We’ve all experienced some form of procrastination from time to time. However around 1 in 5 of the population are labelled chronic procrastinators.

Some of my clients have refined procrastination into an art form as they find more and more creative ways to avoid a key action. The irony is that in other areas these people nail it, but they have certain areas where they avoid doing what is needed and what they know they need to do.

It’s not as simple as telling or shouting at someone to do something though and we need to dig a little deeper around procrastination. Procrastination researchers Joseph Ferrari PhD and Timothy Pychyl PhD[1], identified 3 main types of procrastinators:

1.       Arousal types – those who wait until the last minute for the euphoric rush

2.       Avoiders – these can avoid fear of failure or even fear of success. They seek to avoid being judged by others or not being exposed for lack of ability.

3.       Decisional procrastinators – they struggle to make a decision. If they don’t make a decision then things happen anyway but that way it’s down to someone else so they cannot be held responsible. 

We tend to choose our behaviours in relation to the perceived rewards that doing or not doing something brings. These behaviours may have worked well for us in the past but need to change now as they are stunting personal or business growth.

If you find yourself suffering you might want to review your skills, knowledge and attitude towards the thing you’re procrastinating over. Share some of your concerns with a friend or a coach and they can help you make sense of your behaviour and look at ways of putting new strategies in placed to change the behaviour. It’s not like the flu you won’t just shake this off.

It’s not more willpower, this is a myth. You need the right strategies and support systems to help you move from procrastination to being a proactionater[2] (someone who takes positive action on something). The right coach can help you or your staff to engage and make the changes needed to move your levels of engagement and productivity.

Contact us to explore what strategies might work best for you. We love helping people create clarity and achieve success. 



[2] I coined this term to give clients a more positive term to use instead of trying to not be a procrastinator.