To help you see the variety of ways people manifest procrastination, here are 9 kinds of procrastinators from David Giwerc from the ADD Academy.
Perfectionist Pam. “I must have the perfect plan so I won’t fail. If I can’t do it perfectly, then I won’t do it at all.” Fear of failure and a standard of perfection paralyze this person. She may get lost in planning forever, trying to create the perfect plan, which does not exist. Perfectionist Pam can see the details of the plan, but finds difficulty seeing the big picture. She needs to learn the vital life skill of getting the balance between holding the big picture and seeing the details simultaneously. She exhibits rigid thinking, or perfectionist thinking.
Passionate Patrick. He becomes so excited about an idea or concept and tells everyone how great it is. However, he ends up spending all his time defending the idea rather than doing it. Passionat Patrick needs to learn the vital life skill called emotional self-regulation. He needs to learn how to stay calm and focused when he gets excited. This skill will enable him to get jobs done on time and in a systemised fashion.
Problem Proliferator Penny. She finds fault with everything that is not her idea, but eventually, she’ll even find fault with her own ideas as well. She’s looking for problems rather than possibilities. Those with ADHD are hardwired to focus on the negative. Penny is most likely a perfectionist as well. Through coaching she will learn to pay attention to what she is paying attention to. She will learn to focus on possibilities. She will learn to lower her perfectionist standards.
Puzzle Paul. “When I’ve worked out all the pieces of the puzzle and all the people, then I will do what I need to do to get the job done.” Paul is waiting to see the whole picture before he can start. Puzzle Paul needs guidance in just jumping into a project without seeing all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. Very often in life we need to just start, and the rest will fall into place as we go along.
Picture Polly. “I see the entire picture of what the end product should look like and can work out how all the pieces fit together, but I don’t know how to get the pieces into a list let alone work out how to prioritize the list” Picture Polly needs help in systemising her list. She needs to learn how to judge which ideas get done first, and which ideas to do later. The human brain can only focus on one idea at a time.
Potential Percy. “This project has so much potential if only we could get the right amount of money or the right people.” Percy talks a good game but is always finding escape through finding fault. He will talk a great, enthusiastic game until action has to occur. Potential Percy needs to just start the project. He needs to create a false deadline that will feel real to him, and that will enable him to activate the motivation in order to start.
Pretender Patty. She fakes others out by making them believe she has been successful in similar types of projects before, but she’s just talking to feel better until she has to do the work. This trait is common in those with ADHD. They need to take ownership of their faults and admit them openly to others. Doing this actually generates more respect from others.
Pressure Pete. He puts off beginning a project while waiting for the deadline to draw near enough to bring the adrenaline needed for focus. Pressure Pete is exhibiting is the common challenge of self-motivation. Those with ADHD need an outside deadline. The deadline needs to feel very urgent in order to perform. This is a big challenge.
Pessimistic Pearl. She feels so overwhelmed by what she wants to do, it feels too big for her, so she visualizes failing and therefore can’t begin. She doesn’t realize that she’s planning to fail. Pessimistic Pearl needs to learn the essential life skill of learning how to break down large tasks into bite size chunks. She needs to visualise herself succeeding. Our beliefs act as a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Please note that a person may have more than one kind of procrastination at work in different kinds of situations.
We all suffer from some of the above forms of procrastination, however when these challenges come in the way of one’s life success, it is time to go and get help.
Please understand that if you or someone you know exhibit any of these challenges, they will not go away with time. Since these deficits are rooted in the brain, as life progresses, and more demands are made on you they will get worse. Too many parents and schools choose to bury their heads in the sand and ignore the obvious with disasterous consequences.
We get calls daily from prospects who tell us that they have emotional problems and need therapy before coaching. Let’s be honest, if you have a history of chronic procrastination in even one of the 9 above areas, you will suffer from increased anxiety and depression. When our clients learn the vital life skills that they are lacking through no fault of their own, their negative feelings decrease and are replaced with hope, empowerment and inner peace.
Find out how coaching can help you here.
Find out how to instantly motivate yourself, stay focused and get things done here.