The thief of time.

Procrastination is the action of delaying or postponing something that needs to be done. It’s where we put things off, and often, instead of doing the thing we’re meant to do, we put things back in; silly things, useless things, pleasurable things, useful things, endless things…you name it and someone will be doing it!

If you put ‘Types of Procrastination’ into a search engine, you’ll see many different categorisations of procrastination. It’s amazing how many models and explanations exist to describe the phenomenon, but not surprising.

After all, who of us has not indulged in a little procrastination (or a lot)? It’s no wonder that so much time and energy has been put into trying to understand the behaviour.

The many types of Procrastinator…

This is by no means an exhaustive list of types found on the internet in a recent search. Run your eyes over them and see what feels most familiar or interesting, then follow the link if you’d like to know more. Each site has useful tips and tricks on how to overcome the challenges presented by their identified forms of procrastinator.

Lists of Procrastinator Types…

List 1

  • The Perfectionist
  • The Dreamer
  • The Avoider
  • The Crisis-Maker
  • The Busy Procrastinator

For more on these above types, see link HERE

List 2

  • Anxious Procrastinator
  • Fun Procrastinator
  • “Plenty of time” Procrastinator
  • Perfectionist Procrastinator

For more on these above types, see link HERE

List 3

  • The Performer
  • The Self-Deprecator
  • The Overbooker
  • The Novelty Seeker

For more on these above types, see link HERE

List 4

  • The Perfectionist
  • The Impostor
  • The Dread-Filled
  • The Overwhelmed
  • The Lucky One

For more on these above types, see link HERE

List 5

  • The Avoider
  • The Optimist
  • The Pleasure-Seeker

For more on these above types, see link HERE

List 6

  • The Wishful Thinker
  • The Last-Minute Junkie
  • The Resourceless
  • The Perfectionist
  • The Intimidated

For more on these above types, see link HERE

And so on.

If you are a procrastinator, you are not alone. If you are a perfectionist, you seem to have taken up residence in nearly every set of procrastinator types. Well done on that superpower.

I was recently at a workshop for business creatives and the topic of procrastination came up. I was very interested in the ideas of the presenter, who stated that there are three types of procrastination behaviour, which I’ll explain below.

But First…

Instead of trying to decide which type of procrastinator you are, you can instead identify the activity you succumb to and take steps to either avoid it or change it in future.

The Three Types of Procrastination Behaviour

1. Procrastination with Purpose

This is an activity that has a clear beginning, middle and end. It can’t be done forever. Typical activities include baking, a social phone call, cleaning and exercise.

This is the lesser of the ‘procrastination evils’ because there is a way out once the activity is completed. It has a natural ending. You might be tempted to think of it as a warm-up activity to help you get prepared for the main task you’re avoiding, and if it serves that purpose, it is not the worst habit to have. However, when you’re time-crunched, even this behaviour can get in the way of your success.

2. Procrastination without Purpose

This is where you dive into activities that have no end in sight. The activities themselves are designed to keep you trapped in an endless loop. Typical examples are social media, streaming (tv series) and gaming. We could add masturbation and napping here for those who like to indulge in pleasurably addictive flights of fancy.

This is a dangerous type of procrastination because it can swallow large chunks of your time in distracting and pleasurable ways. Even worse, it could get you emotionally riled up to the point where you’ll find it hard to get back into a productive state when you’re experiencing anger at some social injustice, or distracted by the many diverting bits of information that hit your brain in a short amount of time.

The best way to handle this behaviour is to avoid it completely when you’re trying to get something done. If you must dip a toe in these waters, set a timer first to remind yourself to claw out of that pit before your day gets consumed.

3. Meaningless Busy-ness

This is an equally treacherous behaviour to fall into, as it is capable of swallowing entire days or weeks under the guise of being useful or necessary.

The most typical example is that of doing research, especially if you’re engaged in some form of writing. Other examples include list-making, organisation of things/rooms and replying to emails. The perfectionist will lose themselves in needless editing or polishing. Each of these activities may look useful and productive, but when they are not the main thing you’re meant to be doing, they will get in the way of the real work.


If you find yourself immersed in an activity that is not on your to-do list for that day, or it is not moving you towards your important or immediate goals, you can be pretty sure that you are in the act of procrastination.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Watch your habits and behaviours for a week. Make note of your typical procrastination activities.
  • Identify your most destructive go-to procrastination tendencies.
  • Decide which tendencies should be avoided altogether and which must be limited.
  • Set a timer before taking part in streaming/gaming/social media platforms.
  • Make use of apps that help with accountability and block you from certain platforms. Go to THIS SITE for some ideas.
  • Make sure you set a few big goals for the week ahead. Plan your days out for best use of your time in a planner or calendar.
  • When using a planner, allocate the amount of time it will take you to complete a task. Be realistic.
  • Block out a chunk of time to get your important/creative work done before you attend to less important work (such as replying to emails).
  • Use a timer and divide your work into small, manageable chunks of 25 minutes. Have a 5 minute break between sessions to recover.
  • Ask yourself what the trigger is for these behaviours. Is fear holding you back? Or overwhelm? Not knowing how to do the thing? Not wanting to do it?
  • Get started on the task-you’d-rather-avoid in the smallest way possible. You may find yourself in ‘doing mode’ before you have a chance to procrastinate.

With a little conscious practise, you can reduce your procrastination so that it does not become the main thing in your day. Time can indeed be rescued.