The act of procrastination is seemingly a large problem in the UK, in which over half of the UK population have stated that procrastination has affected their life in one way or another. While it may seem like a harmless thing to do on the surface, studies are increasingly alerting us to the consequences of procrastination, which can have adverse effects on our physical and mental health.
In a recent study by Legal and General, it was identified that there are a number of different types of procrastinators. Below, we’ll take a look at four different personality types, identifying their triggers, common behaviours and what you can do to counteract such behaviours.
Planners are people who come up with a solution for what they need to do, but then put it into action at the next suitable time, rather than straight away. According to figures, the biggest planners are those aged 35-34, in which 34% of this age group make up the planner type personality in the Legal and General study.
Planners are the most effective of procrastinators as they are able to get tasks done in an appropriate amount of time. Research suggests that planners could be perfectionists. Perfectionists are likely to worry about low standards of work, strive for the best and give themselves a hard time, which can lead to delaying a task.
To counteract this, planners should keep a note of their work so they can look back and evaluate the results. They can see that although it wasn’t perfect, they still achieved a positive outcome.
2. Easy Goers
Easy goers are people that tend to be quite laid back and let tasks sit for a few days. Studies suggest that this type of behaviour is caused by a lack of confidence, motivation, and comprehension.
In the long-term, this type of behaviour can have a number of effects on everyday life, from a breakdown of relationships, to poor studying and decreased wellbeing.
To combat this behaviour, easy goers should create a reward system that motivates them to get tasks done.
A procrastinator is someone who will actively put off tasks for up to a week before doing them. One of the reasons for procrastinating can be a fear of failure. These types of procrastinators will typically schedule more than they can do and be unrealistic at managing their time.
To help stop this type of behaviour, procrastinators can block out chunks of time to prioritize fun and leisure activities. By establishing a fundamental level of self-care, people become more efficient in achieving fewer rewarding tasks.
4. Chronic Procrastinator
The chronic procrastinator actively puts off tasks for weeks before completing them. Studies have shown that this type of chronic procrastination is linked to emotional instability and increased levels of stress and anxiety.
Research suggests that chronic procrastination is a misguided form of regulating the emotions, in which people try to put off unrewarding tasks and replace them with more rewarding ones in order to fix a negative mood or emotion.
It’s thought that long term chronic procrastination can lead to a number of mental and physical health problems, including a weakened immune system and increased risk of catching colds and the flu, increased risk of anxiety and depression and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
To counteract these issues, chronic procrastinators should try to implement a wellness plan where they prioritise their physical and mental wellbeing.1
Overall, the study by Legal and general suggests that procrastination is an increasingly large issue in the UK. As the pandemic has been a leading cause of stress and anxiety, many more people have resorted to procrastination as a way of handling their emotions. While there’s no quick fix solution, it seems that by prioritising health and wellbeing, people can counteract procrastinator behaviours.