There are two main types of procrastinators. The first is the relaxed type. This person seems very relaxed on the surface – they highly prefer pleasurable activities while avoiding negative, unpleasant tasks as much as possible. Thus, they are still doing “things,” but in the process they underestimate how much work they have to do. The relaxed type is in effect ‘denying’ or ‘covering up’ the truth about the work they have to do. Thus, they often don’t think they have a problem, because they’ve got it “under control.” They think that the task can be completed within a short period of time, and thus they can wait to finish it until they need to. Of course, in theory they should just do the task now to make sure it gets done within the time frame and to allow for any extra time as needed.
The other type of procrastinator is the ‘tense-afraid’ type. This person has many negative feelings associated with the task that are simply overwhelming. They don’t think that they can have the ability to do the work, so they give themselves constant breaks, claiming to be relaxing in order to ‘try it again in the morning’ when they are fresh. Of course, the actual quality of rest they are getting is dubious, and usually the cycle begins anew the next morning.
The Deadline – Do You Really “Work Well Under Pressure?”
For both of these individuals, once the deadline comes, the kid gloves come off and the procrastinator finally gets to work. During this frantic period, they may be very productive and efficient, though the final product may not be as good as it could have been. In addition, this gives rise to the myth, or the self-defeating narrative, that the procrastinator ‘works well under pressure.’ This is a lie. You have to work well because you have no other option – it’s do or die time. If you actually got started early, you’d find that you’d work better and do a better job than when you leave it to the last minute.
Ultimately, in both cases procrastination is just about lying to ourselves. We lie to ourselves about our capacities and abilities, our deadlines, and our emotions and feelings. We lie to ourselves about how long it will take to do a task, how much it will ‘hurt,’ and how much time we truly have. Thus, procrastination is not just a thief (of time), but also a liar.