Understanding Your Procrastination Style

The first full week of March is National Procrastination Week. In honor of that, I am publishing a daily blog with tips about how to deal with procrastination for each day this week. Here’s the second blog in the series…

There are many reasons solopreneurs and business owners procrastinate. It could be due to perfectionism, overwhelm, or problems prioritizing. The key to overcoming procrastination is learning what your procrastination style is and how to deal with it. Once you’re armed with this information, you’ll find it easier to defeat procrastination and get back on track.

It’s Time to Put Down the Cape, Superman (or Superwoman)

It would be an understatement to say you have a lot on your plate. You have so much to do that your plate is overflowing with tasks. Your to-do lists are usually a mile long. You’re always in motion, bouncing between projects and deadlines. You take on too much and usually, you don’t realize that until you’re way over-committed. You may procrastinate by avoiding your to-do list or working on tasks that are necessary but in the long run, won’t improve your bottom line or make you happy.

Your Struggle is: Refusing to Delegate.

Take a deep breath and take a critical look at your to-do list right now. Ask yourself what tasks are ones that only you can do, like coaching your clients or creating your new service package. But if a task doesn’t require your attention, consider delegating it. You can delegate by hiring a virtual assistant or taking on an intern that’s interested in your niche.

Stop Being a Perfectionist with Your Projects

Not only do you feel the pressure to get everything done on your to-do list, you also feel pressure to have it done perfectly. You hate rolling out anything that does not represent your best work and you’re continually finding flaws in the finished project. You may procrastinate by telling yourself you’ll release your coaching program after you’ve polished your copy one last time or gotten two more testimonials.

Your Struggle is: Failing to Launch.

Launching a new product or service is scary. You may find it helps to hire a coach that will encourage you to launch version 1.0 and upgrade your offering later on. You could also try setting a public deadline. Let the world know when they can expect your product and stick to that date, no matter what.

Being A People Pleaser Means Your Needs Are Ignored

Whenever someone presents you with a new idea or project, you jump on it. You’re enthusiastic and you love getting to say, “Yes”. The problem is if you say, “Yes” to everything, you end up saying, “No” to important things. You may procrastinate by taking on someone else’s workload instead of tackling your own. You tell yourself you’ll work on growing your business as soon as you finish this marketing task for a client.

Your Struggle is: Failing to Prioritize..

You put others’ needs and wants before your own. In some cases, this is admirable and it comes from a good place. But if you want to succeed with your business, you have to become ruthless and willing to cut projects and clients that aren’t right for you. Stop trying to fit your work around everyone else’s needs. Instead, do your work first and if you have extra time and energy, you can invest in helping someone else.

Procrastination is not a diagnosis. Rather, it’s a symptom of something else that you need to address. Once you understand the root cause of your procrastination, you can begin to beat it and get back to being productive.

If you struggle with procrastination, it may be helpful for you to dig deeper to understand the underlying cause for putting things off.  Dr. Linda Sapadin has written a wonderful book, called , It’s About Time: The 6 Styles of Procrastination and How to Overcome Them. 

Chronic procrastinators are not lazy; they simply need to cultivate a more natural and fluid transition from mental activity to physical activity, while allowing an appropriate amount of time and energy to complete the task. To do this, the procrastinator first needs to understand the inner conflicts that produced the procrastination pattern. Dr. Sapadin’s book provides a quiz to help the reader understand which procrastination style or combination of styles best fists them, and it offers suggestions for changing how you think, speak and act, based on your procrastination style.

Review of the Six Styles  of Procrastination (as identified by Dr. Sapadin)

Style #1: Perfectionist. Reluctant to start or finish a task because they don’t want anything less than perfect.

Thinking Style:  All or nothing
Speaking Style:  I should…  I have to…
Acting Style  Flawless
Psychological  Need For:  Control

Style #2:  Dreamer.  They don’t like details.  This makes ideas difficult to implement. 

Thinking Style:  Vague
Speaking Style:  I wish…
Acting Style:  Passive
Psychological need for:  Being special

Style #3:  Worrier.  They have an excessive need for security, causing them to fear risk.  They fear change, causing them to avoid finishing projects so they don’t have to leave the comfort of the “known.”

Personality Type:  Fearful
Thinking Style:  Indecisive
Speaking Style:  What if…?
Acting Style:  Cautious
Psychological Need For:  Security

Style #4:  Defier.  A rebel seeking to buck the rules.  By procrastinating, they are setting their own schedule — one that nobody else can predict or control.  More subtle forms are called passive-aggressive.

Personality Type:  Resistant
Thinking Style:  Oppositional
Speaking Style:  Why should I…?
Acting Style:  Rebellious
Psychological Need For:  Non-conformity

Style #5: Crisis-Maker. Addicted to the adrenaline rush of living on the edge.

Personality Type:  Over-emotional
Thinking Style:  Agitated
Speaking Style:  Extremes – “Unbelievable”
Acting Style:  Dramatic
Psychological Need For:  Attention

Style #6:  Over-Doer.  Says yes to too much because they are unable or unwilling to make choices and honor priorities or boundaries.  They have difficulty making decisions.  Prime candidate for burnout.

Personality Type:  Busy
Thinking Style:  Compelled
Speaking Style:  Can’t say “no”
Acting Style:  Do-it-all
Psychological Need For:  Self-reliance

The last chapter deals with the process of change, and Dr. Sapadin provides comprehensive insight and solutions for those paralyzed by procrastination. For additional help, read her book, It’s About Time: The 6 Styles of Procrastination and How to Overcome Them

Did you like this post? Learn how to defeat procrastination and get things done when you download your free Dealing with Procrastination workbook here.

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