Procrastination is the thief of time and self-respect. People who are in the grip of this terrible habit can’t fully perform and must resort to excuses and lame explanations of why things weren’t done. Help is available for people who want to function as mature adults and get rid of this childish bad habit. But they have to accept responsibility for making the changes needed. Otherwise, their potential will be unfulfilled and their destiny a sad one.
Different Types of Procrastination
Some procrastinators seem to be con artists. They just offer the same old song and dance about why they couldn’t get something done on time. Other procrastinators don’t seem to care enough to even offer excuses. That’s just how they are and others can take or leave them as they are.
According to an article in Psychology Today, “Procrastination: Ten Things to Know,” 20% of people identify themselves as procrastinators and have procrastination as a pervasive lifestyle whereby they can’t seem to regulate their behavior. Three different types of procrastinators were identified by Dr. Joseph Ferrari of De Paul University:
- Thrill seekers who put things off until the last minute for the rush they get in trying to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat
- Avoiders who are so concerned about what others think about them that they prefer to fail due to lack of effort rather than be seen as lacking the ability
- Decision procrastinators who don’t make decisions. They believe this absolves them from responsibility for the lack of results.
People who care about all these types of procrastinators may be able to help them understand that they have fallen into nasty, anti-social, selfish vices, or bad habits, that are also self-defeating. Those bad habits can, however, be replaced by good habits, with some guidance and lots of effort on their part. Some procrastinators may be able to transform themselves through knowledge and hard work building up good productive habits while others will require therapy.
The best way to avoid becoming a procrastinator is to have good role models growing up. Unfortunately, people don’t get to choose their parents. So, if unlucky, a person may have copied a parent who was a procrastinator or rebelled against an authoritarian parent through procrastination. People seem to be stubbornly loyal to the example of key role models like parents, or the behaviors, they adopted to oppose parental tyranny, and it is not easy to change bad habits originating in one’s youth.
The first step in overcoming procrastination is to admit it, claim ownership of it, see it as the vice it is (a nasty bad habit), and understand that it makes both them and others unhappy. If a person wants to be happy and help important others to be happy, then the awful habit of procrastination needs to be overcome. A good means of doing that is by acquiring four virtues (good habits) in particular that allow little room for procrastination:
Four Good Habits to Cultivate
Justice is the good habit of giving to others their due, as in doing one’s fair share.
Courage or fortitude is a good habit that helps people overcome the resistance involved when they need to do things that incur pain or require a major effort.
Procrastinators can confront their vice head-on by cultivating these key virtues of justice and courage.
Temperance is the good habit of moderation that helps people control their desires for pleasure and comfort, enabling them to behave as adults instead of indulgent children.
Another virtue that helps procrastinators is diligence, the virtue opposed to sloth. The good habit of diligence can be practiced by “just doing it,” instead of postponing action. Think instead of “do it now,” whenever important tasks need attention to arise. Research has shown that self-imposed, realistic deadlines can help, as well as focusing on concrete details of the tasks.
Reprogramming Behavior to Stop Procrastinating
Practicing the virtues of justice, courage, temperance, and diligence will dramatically redefine the procrastinator’s character and reputation. Instead of being seen as a slacker, he or she could well become a respected adult, all grown up and responsible, and full of potential.
This reprogramming of behavior for success requires hard work to establish productive good habits. Remember that overcoming years of ingrained bad habits won’t be easy and may require professional help. People who have their act together can lead by example and assist by talking about how to successfully approach tasks in life. The use and acceptance of deadlines and focusing on the concrete details of tasks should help.
Get Rid of Procrastination
Procrastination robs people of their potential and affects 20% of the population.
Three types of procrastinators exist based on thrill-seeking, avoidance, and decision-making paradigms.
Overcoming procrastination involves identifying bad habits, accepting responsibility, and developing good habits such as justice, courage, temperance, and diligence.
Reprogramming behavior to stop procrastinating requires hard work to establish productive habits and may require professional help.