The 4 types of procrastinators and how not to be one

by Apr 26, 2021


  • put on, and hung out, a load of laundry
  • scrolled through TikTok
  • tried to teach my cat to shake hands
  • stared at a blank wall for “thinking time”

This is not an atypical day for me – it’s very easy to get locked into a procrastination cycle, and pretty tricky to get out of it. The problem is that while I’m procrastinating, I’m not actually enjoying any of the things I’m doing – my mind is always on the tasks I should be doing. And when I actually get to them (uni work, a report for work, a boring household job), I often find that they’re not as bad as I made them out to be.

Why do we procrastinate, and what can we do to break the procrastination cycle? (This is not a rhetorical question. I really need some help.)


Know thyself

According to accountability coaches Ali Schiller and Marissa Boisvert, there are four main types of procrastinators: the performer, the self-deprecator, the overbooker, and the novelty-seeker. Knowing which umbrella you fall under could lead to some much needed self-reflection, and help you figure out how to break free from the chains of procrastination.


The Performer

Excuse: “I work best under pressure.”

The Performer forces themself to do work by leaving everything until the last minute. Often perfectionists, Performers work under intense pressure, which can often lead to burnout.

Solution: choose a date and time to start a task, rather than finish it, so you have something positive to focus on.


The Self-Deprecator

Excuse: “Ugh I’m so lazy, I’m the worst.”

Self-deprecators also procrastinate through pressure, but in a distinctly negative way. They avoid work through negative self-talk, making excuses for themselves even while admonishing these very excuses.

Solution: take a break to allow yourself to recharge. Go for a walk, play with a pet, or sit outside to let your energy replenish.


The Overbooker

Excuse: “I have no time! I’m too busy!”

Instead of starting one task, Overbookers are easily overwhelmed by how much they have on their plate at any one time. They say yes to everything, and then once their calendars are completely full, get stressed by how much they have to do, and never actually start.

Solution: be selective with what you take on, and try saying no. Reflect on what you’re trying to avoid by overcommitting to projects.


The Novelty-Seeker

Excuse: “But what about…”

This procrastinator is like a puppy, always getting distracted by new and exciting ideas. While this can be a great thing – novelty-seekers are often creative and entrepreneurial – it can also lead to a lack of action or follow through. On the other side, they can be like the Overbooker and take on too many new projects without having the time to work fully on one thing.

Solution: whenever you have a new idea, write it down so you don’t forget, but put it off to the side until you’ve finished your current project.


No matter which procrastinator you may be, the power to change is in your hands. Try out one of these techniques next time you’re staring at the wall, and you might just find yourself back on track. Anyway, now this is done, back to TikTok…


Featured image courtesy of Pexels

Gifs courtesy of giphy

Lily Cameron

Lily Cameron

Communications Assistant

Lily Cameron is a writer and editor based in Sydney. She is a UTS Communications (Creative Writing) graduate, and current Communications Assistant at UTS Careers. She is passionate about telling stories, both hers and others’, and the way digital and social media is changing the literary landscape. Her writing has appeared in Voiceworks, The Brag, and elsewhere.