What Type Of Procrastinator Are You?

Procrastination is a common problem found in every corner of the professional universe, and it can be a big stumbling block for business owners. But why do we procrastinate? And more importantly, how can we overcome it?

Male office worker procrastinating at his desk

Between 15 and 20% of adults report regularly procrastinating. What’s more, 25 percent of these people even consider procrastination to be a key personality trait.

If you struggle with procrastination, you may feel like you’re constantly stressed and overwhelmed. This is not an ideal state for an entrepreneur — or any other busy professional, for that matter — who always needs to be making the most of their time.

In this guide, we help you understand exactly what procrastination is and why so many people struggle with it. More importantly, we share our practical tips on how professionals like you can overcome it. 

What Is Procrastination?

At its most basic, procrastination is a time management issue. It involves intentionally putting something off until the last minute — or, in some cases, even indefinitely.

Why Do We Procrastinate?

Some scientists have described procrastination as a “self-regulation failure.” In other words, procrastinators fail to regulate the emotions they have about a specific task or responsibility. As a result, they wait until the last minute to get it done — or possibly don’t do it at all.

Others have said that procrastination occurs because of a battle between two parts of the brain: the prefrontal cortex and the limbic system.

Time for a quick biology lesson!

The prefrontal cortex of the brain is responsible for planning, organization, and personality development. The limbic system is sometimes known as the “lizard brain,” and it controls the fight or flight response, pleasure-seeking behavior, and basic survival instincts. 

The limbic system develops long before the prefrontal cortex. Because of this, when faced with boring tasks or things that we don’t want to do, the limbic system often wins. Instead of buckling down and doing something difficult, boring, or time-consuming, we instead seek pleasure and avoid stress by engaging in another activity.

The Four Types of Procrastinators

Though we all may procrastinate, we might not procrastinate in the same way as one another.

In an article for Business Insider, accountability coaches Ali Schiller and Marissa Boisvert claim there are four main types of procrastinators, or “avoidance archetypes”. Let’s explore these in more detail…

Type 1: The Performer

Nothing sums up “The Performer” better than the words “I work well under pressure”. Except for maybe, “left ‘til the last minute”.

If you’re a “performer”, you may struggle to get started when a new assignment lands on your plate. It’s the pressure of a looming deadline at the eleventh hour that forces you to focus and get things done.

Schiller and Boisvert believe that for many “performers,” one of the reasons behind this behavior is perfectionism. Completing the task in a rush gives them a reason why their work won’t meet the unreasonably high expectations they set themselves.

Type 2: The Self-Deprecator

This type is similar to “The Performer” in that they are both perfectionists who have high standards for themselves.

What sets “The Self-Deprecator” apart, though, is the way they respond to their own procrastination.

“Self-Deprecators” are very hard on themselves when they put off a task. They may tell themselves that they’re lazy, that they aren’t good enough, and so on. Not only is this kind of self-talk harmful and unproductive, but it can also create a negative feedback loop, or a vicious cycle. 

If someone believes they are not good at something, they may be less likely to start when a new task is given and more likely to procrastinate. This can lead to poorer performance, which then reinforces the initial belief that they are not good at the task. As a result, this may cause them to avoid trying altogether in the future.

Type 3: The Over-Booker

This type of procrastinator commonly fills up their to-do lists or calendars to the point where they frequently feel overwhelmed with all they have on their plate.

Overbooking themselves may make these procrastinators feel ambitious or productive at first, but this can actually be an avoidant behavior.

For “Over-Bookers”, there is always something more important to be doing. It’s easier to say that they’re “too busy” to do something than to face the task or admit that they don’t want to do it. 

Type 4: The Novelty Seeker

The “Novelty Seeker” has what Schiller and Boisvert refer to as “Shiny Object Syndrome.” This type of procrastinator is always starting new tasks or projects before seeing their current ones through. They’re drawn to the next new or interesting thing and have a hard time finishing what they start.

While these individuals are great at making initial decisions and plans, they struggle with the follow-through and often have a lot of projects going at once. Sometimes, they have so much going at one time that they cause themselves to burn out. 

Entrepreneurs often fall under the “Novelty Seeker” category. They’re enthusiastic, passionate, and interested in lots of different things. None of these are bad personality traits, by any means. It might go without saying, but having a lot of unfinished projects can hinder your ability to push your business forward.

Tips For Tackling Procrastination

Whether or not we like to admit it, procrastination affects us all to some extent. This isn’t due to being lazy or not committed to your work.

As we mentioned above, a biological battle takes place in our brains when we’re met with a difficult task. It’s understandable that, sometimes, our limbic system will win and we’ll end up putting off certain tasks.

That being said, we don’t have to let procrastination stop us from achieving our goals. As a team, we at OK Launch have spent many years wrestling with procrastination and all of its knock-on effects, and we have tried every trick in the book. Here, we’ll be sharing what we find actually works best:

Keep Tabs

A key first step to tackling procrastination is knowing how often you do it and what causes you to do it.

The best way to figure out the answers to these questions is by keeping of tally throughout the day to see how many times you procrastinate. Pay careful attention to the context in which procrastination occurs, too.

For example, do you procrastinate at certain times of day more than others? Are there some tasks you put off more than others?

Knowing this information can help you build a better daily routine and structure your schedule around the times when you are most productive. Let’s say you tend to procrastinate more often in the afternoon. If this is the case, it might be better to schedule your most challenging tasks for the morning. 

Simply being more aware of what we’re doing in the moment not only makes it easier to spot when we’re procrastinating, but it also takes away many of the “automatic” elements of the process. This also gives us a chance to see how detrimental procrastination is to our productivity.


Have you ever had such a mountain of tasks and responsibilities that you didn’t know where to begin? Have you ever been so overwhelmed that you just did nothing at all?

This issue can be all too common for procrastinators, especially “Performers” or “Over-Bookers”.

Sometimes, knowing what not to do is as important as knowing what you want or need to do each day. If you set yourself too many priorities for the day, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to complete them all. 

The trick to staying on track is to handpick a small number of jobs that you must complete by the end of the day.

Impact-score each task on your to-do list or calendar. Then, base the priority on how time-sensitive the task is, as well as its impact on your business. Once you’ve done this, move on and complete each task in order of highest priority to lowest priority.

When you break down your tasks into easily digestible lists, you can make your workload seem less overwhelming. This makes it easier for you to get started and helps you to check things off the to-do list more quickly.

Dopamine Rewards

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter produced by the brain. It is associated with feelings of pleasure, reward, and motivation. The happiness you feel when hugging your loved ones? The satisfaction you feel from eating your favorite food? That’s dopamine at work, and—you guessed it—it’s created in the limbic system.

If you find that a lack of mental satisfaction or reward from completing certain tasks is what stops you from getting things done, there is a simple trick that can help retrain your brain.

If a task seems boring or unfulfilling, in other words, it won’t provide you with a hit of dopamine, try scheduling something immediately afterward that does trigger that feel-good chemical. Whether it’s a coffee break, a walk outside, listening to your favorite music, or a five-minute social media break, providing yourself with the “reward” that you wouldn’t get normally is a highly effective way of making sure those tasks don’t get put off any further.

Share Your Intentions

It sounds simple, but many people find that they’re more likely to do something when they’ve told someone about it.

Why? Because sharing your intentions creates a sense of accountability. You feel a greater obligation to follow through and get things done because you want to uphold the expectation you’ve set for that person or group.

If you struggle with procrastination, start sharing your plans with a co-worker, a friend, or a family member. Let them know what you plan to do, and when. You’ll find you’ll be less inclined to put it off and miss your self-imposed deadline.

Create A Visual Reminder

Some people find that even just writing something down, whether or not they share it with someone, can create more accountability.

If a procrastinator sees a sticky note on their wall reminding them that a deadline for a particular task is approaching, they might feel more inclined to focus and get it done, even if they’re not looking to it.

Keep in mind, too, that you’ll likely receive a small dopamine hit when you finally get to take that sticky note down or cross an item off of your to-do list.

This serves as a visual and tangible reminder that you’ve accomplished something. It can also help to feel more motivated to accomplish more tasks in the future.   

Final Thoughts

No matter what kind of procrastinator you are, you’re not alone when it comes to dealing with this problem. Keep the tips discussed above in mind and you’ll have a much easier time maximizing your productivity and setting your business up for long-term success.

If you need more help staying organized and getting things done, OK Launch can help. Sign up today and access all the tools you need to take back your time and achieve your goals.

How to achieve your goals

Supercharge your success

Download our FREE 20-page guide on how to achieve your goals

Download now

Ready for your business to thrive?

Get instant access to the tools you need to reclaim your time, hit your goals and achieve more

Start for free now