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What Kind of Procrastinator Are You?

Bill Vossler


In the book It’s About Time, Jack Maguire and Linda Sapadin say there are six types of procrastinators. Which one are you?

• The perfectionist says, “But it’s not perfect!”
• The dreamer says, “But it’s so difficult!”
• The worrier says, “But I’m afraid to make a change!”
• The defier says, “But why should I do it?”
• The overdoer says, “But I have so much to do!”

• The crisis-maker says, “But I like doing things at the last minute.”

Figuring out what kind of procrastinator you are can help you figure out how to stop procrastinating. When you do, you’ll have a lot more worry-free, relaxing time to spend with God and to have fun.

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Procrastinator? Not Anymore!

by Bill Vossler

I learned the hard way that procrastination has a nasty downside.


The wind howled against the windowpane next to the table where I sat. Mittens purred warmly in my lap, and the book I was reading was at a high point.

Mom interrupted my reading, “Do you have enough money to pay your newspaper bill? It’s due tomorrow.”

I didn’t feel like braving the frigid North Dakota night to knock on customers’ doors to collect the money. So I lied, without thinking about the consequences.

“I have enough money in my account,” I answered, turning back to my book.

“Um, $240?”

I knew I had $200 in my checking account. I figured I would collect the $40 I had lied about after school the next day. Tomorrow was Friday, so I reasoned that the check wouldn’t clear the bank for a few days anyway. I took Mark Twain’s advice: “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.” I’d do it sometime. Then I put it out of my mind.

A few days later, my Mom greeted me with an overdraft from the bank.

I closed my eyes. I’d meant to collect for the paper. In addition to disappointing my mother, my newspaper supervisor gave me an angry call because my check had bounced.

Proverbs 19:5 says: “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will not go free.” While procrastinating doesn’t always have such immediate consequences, in general, putting things off always causes more trouble than it’s worth.

Why procrastinate?

Lynn Lively writes in The Procrastinator’s Guide to Success that procrastination is when “you know what to do, but you don’t do it.” It’s a game of not thinking about what you want to avoid doing.

We’ve all waited until the last minute to do something we don’t want to do. In The Procrastinator’s Handbook, Rita Emmett writes that the reasons vary and may be due to fear—fear of making mistakes, fear of responsibility, fear of rejection, even fear of success.

Why not procrastinate?

Who cares if you put things off? You should. Procrastination increases stress, piles on guilt, lessens productivity, and creates crises where none exist.

Procrastination has some nasty downsides. Procrastinating can keep you from mastering an early set of skills that you need in order to later master another set of skills. For example, you can’t multiply if you don’t know your times tables. You can’t read at a tenth grade level later in your academic career, if you cut corners while in fifth grade. As you limit your skills, you’re limiting your career choices for the future. Procrastination keeps you from reaching your potential.

Your habit of procrastinating can affect others, too. Say you’re working on a group project, and you just don’t come through on your portion of the project. Others will realize that your word is no good.

Many procrastinators say, “I work better under pressure.” That just means you’re irritable and less than friendly to those around you until you get your work done.

The best reason for not procrastinating is the good feeling you get when your work is done.

Stop procrastinating now!
Here’s how:

1. Admit you have a problem. You can’t solve a problem if you don’t think there is one.

2. Figure out why you’re procrastinating.

• Are you afraid? Nobody ever died from failure or embarrassment.

• Feeling overwhelmed? Remind yourself that no matter what, you can do only one thing at a time.

• Feeling inadequate? Ask God for strength. Psalm 29:11 promises: “The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.”

3. Make a plan. An old saying goes like this, “Have three minutes? Use the first one to plan the next two.” What do you need to get done? Write a five-page essay? Find an after-school job? Get out of a relationship?

4. Divide your tasks into smaller pieces. Each smaller step of a task is much less intimidating, making it easier for you to handle.

5. Reward yourself. For finishing the first paragraph of an essay, allow yourself free time to listen to music for a few minutes. If you’ve finished the essay and rewritten it, allow yourself to do something you enjoy—get outside, go somewhere, do something fun.

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