Site icon Dan Silvestre

The Procrastinators Ultimate Guide: The 6 Types (With Tips for Each One)


Procrastinators! Dreaded term. You want to believe you don’t, but we all fall for it.

The difference is, some of us do it once a week, and others all the time.

But most people don’t even have that choice. After trying fifty different blog tips without success, procrastinators start to doubt.

“I know the why, how, and what. Why can’t I do what I need to do to win?”

If you don’t want to be a slave of your emotions, keep reading. You’re about to discover all the techniques proven to stop procrastination once and for all.

But as you already know, it’s not about throwing you some tips and hoping you take action.

What I share is practical and works for everyone. For the sake of simplicity, we’ve categorized these into six personalities: the optimistic, distracted, perfectionist, busy, guilty, and disorganized.

If you feel like those terms just described you, don’t worry. Even the most iconic entrepreneurs procrastinate at some point.

When it’s not one type, it’s another. Maybe all of them at once.

Then, How on Earth Did the Great Become So Successful?

 There are a few omitted truths you must know about procrastination:

Who knows? Maybe you told yourself to read some productivity articles to feel like working, “prepare,” or [enter your excuse here].

Hey, if that weren’t a problem (we’ve all been there), you wouldn’t be here. Are you ready to face this demon?

What Type Of Procrastinator Are You?

“But Dan, I can’t stay motivated all the time. After I finish, my to-do list keeps getting longer!

That doesn’t sound very fulfilling.

Before you complain that you’ll have to work forever, let me tell you why you won’t: momentum.

Procrastinators severely overestimate how hard it is to complete the task. While starting is hard, scaling is FAR easier. 

Look at any entrepreneur. Ask them if it takes 10X more hours, energy, or skill to make 10X more money. It doesn’t.

Whatever it’s taking you to start, you’ll find later that you achieve 10X more work with the same willpower.

Yeah, you’re still “working.” Except that it’s 10X more rewarding.

Paradox? The more you work, the less it feels like a grind.

Whenever you find yourself procrastinating, go back to this section and identify what procrastinator type you’re playing.

1. Optimistic Procrastinators

Problem: You overestimate your skills and underestimate the challenge. You delay and can’t get started because you’re bored, overconfident, or not giving it enough relevance.

Why? It’s common to have unrealistic expectations with projects you’ve never tried before. Otherwise, your goals are too small, or you didn’t break the big goals into daily tasks.

Typical behaviors:

Solution: Increase your sense of urgency, fix your expectations, or make it a challenge to get done as much as possible asap.

2. Distracted Procrastinators

Problem:  You may even love your work, but other tasks seem more attractive. You can’t stop doing other activities unless the deadline is right in front of your face.

Why? Everything in the universe gravitates towards the path of least resistance. If you don’t fix your environment, it’s a matter of hours before your willpower runs out. 

Logic doesn’t work. Because your thoughts only reaffirm whatever decision your emotions have already made.

Typical behaviors:

Solution: Take extreme measures and block your distractions. Plan days where you reward yourself generously, so smaller temptations won’t be attractive anymore.

3. Perfectionist Procrastinators

Problem: Preparation is paralyzing you. You want to improve quality when, ironically, you didn’t work for long enough to optimize anything. 

Also, you might have prioritization issues, giving too much time to details that may not matter and waste your time.

Why? We tend to overthink when a task is out of our comfort zone (or the consequences are critical). But no matter the preparation, you can’t remove fear or flinches completely. 

You can take it either as a sign to take action or freeze.

Typical behaviors:

Solution: Shift your focus from results to actions until you get used to your routine.

4. Guilty Procrastinators

Problem: Your interpretation of failure is dissuading you from working. 

You might have failed either because you didn’t take action, the strategy was wrong, or something external to you. You can’t accept your failure or believe that you will fail again no matter what you try.

Why? Past results are triggering negative thinking and discouraging you. You might already know how to fix it, but you’re too frustrated to take action.

Typical behaviors:

Solution: When you failed, you didn’t know everything you just learned here. Check the article field-notes and apply the strategies shown. 

But first, take a day off to stop thinking and break the procrastination doom loop.

5. Busy Procrastinators

Problem: You have no time left because you’ve committed to too many projects. Even if you have time, you sometimes don’t see the point in spending time on those tasks.

Why? Taking action is good — except when you have no time left to think. 

If you don’t give yourself room to breathe, something WILL go wrong. When unexpected problems arrive, you’ll complain to have “no time” for them or diminish their importance.

Typical behaviors:

Solution: Focus on results

Your decision of what work matters is a multiplier compared to the linear progress of working more hours. Use some time management techniques to help you.

6. Disorganized Procrastinators

Problem: Your poor time-management/prioritization skills are causing delays. It gets worse when working on long-term projects.

Why? You hate routines because they “take away your freedom” of living happily. But because you’re always working on overdue projects, you neither have time to do what you love. 

If your plan is so strict that you dread it, change the routine.

Typical behaviors:

Solution: If you’re inexperienced or don’t have a system, you’re already working on the problem by reading this guide. Be sure to check the GTD flow chart, the Pomodoro technique, and Eisenhower’s Matrix to learn to work smarter.

5 Mindset Shifts That Will Make Or Break Your Work Ethic

1. Impulsivity

Have you ever regretted wasting hours, if not the whole day, on a useless task? 

You don’t even remember how you got to that decision. You lie to yourself with a “two-minute distraction” that ends eating up your day.

When making decisions, impulsive people prefer short-term results over longer tasks.

2. Sense of Urgency

Our motivation to complete work is inversely proportional to the time we have left. 

We underestimate the time it takes when the deadline is far away. It doesn’t matter whether you’re skilled in the project or never tried it before.

3. Perception of Work

Prolonged procrastination distorts perception. Work looks more arduous than it is. 

But if you spend most of your time not working, can your judgment be anything but accurate? You may not remember how satisfying it feels like getting things done.

Keep in mind thinking also affects your perception.

The reality? What you or others or think about your performance doesn’t matter. If you didn’t get results yet, it’s because you did it wrong, or you didn’t do it right for long enough.

4. Agreeableness

Some people may feel powerful and satisfied with surprising others with unexpected work patterns. But nobody benefits from inconsistency: it only makes it harder to trust each other.

This behavior suggests you don’t like the task, or you feel obligated to do it for someone else.

5. Busyness

Since “I’m busy” became the most popular answer, people have used it as an excuse (aside from the 1% who literally have no time).

 Although some stages of your life require you to jam projects, it’s often a consequence of not managing time well in the first place (or underestimating the work required).

11 Procrastination Busters To Get Work Done TODAY

1. Checklists

You feel intimidated by work because of a lack of clarity, high complexity, or something you have never done before. You also tend to overthink everything.

How? Picture the best way to complete your task with detail by creating a checklist. 

Start working according to the list for testing. If you find you missed some points after you finish, add them too. 

Now, you can get work done without thinking or worrying about forgotten details.

2. The 2-Minute Rule

You encounter too much friction to start. Just thinking of it incites boredom/stress/dread.

How? Also known as the Do Something Principle, you want to take enough 2-minute tasks to create momentum, whatever they are. After a dozen of them, work feels much lighter. Start with anything (e.g., brushing your teeth) but end with the tasks that relate the most to your intended work (e.g., if you’re writing, start by adding 50 words to your paper in two minutes). 

Avoid taking more than one hour per session, though, because then you could consider it procrastination.

3. The Hour Non-Negotiable

It becomes harder to re-prioritize tasks as your day goes on.

How? You force yourself to work on your project for the first hour of the day, which is a piece of cake after a restful night of sleep. 

The more “loyal” you are to this rule, the easier it feels to do it. You won’t get much done in one hour, but it will become a catalyst for more productivity throughout the day. Why? You set the right priorities.

It’s the whole idea behind the book Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy.

4. The Celebration/Resting Day

Your work isn’t very stimulating, and the small pleasures of your comfort zone are distracting you.

How? Plan a day where you allow yourself to do anything you enjoy doing, productive or not. 

Think of yourself now: you might be procrastinating with little distractions. Compared to that big celebration, they feel like a waste of time, and therefore less attractive. 

Wait, then what is stopping us from taking the celebration treat right now? Self-awareness.

It’s much easier to resist big distractions because they are extravagant and exaggerated. We’re more likely to accept innocent, two-minute distractions, which later turns into hours anyway.

Taking days off work has become the most overlooked productivity technique.

5. Habit Bunching

You can’t find a way to build good habits without taking months. You want it NOW.

How? Do you like to drink coffee? Listen to music? Walk outdoors? You can combine enjoyable, passive tasks to make work more bearable. 

Although their effect decreases over time, it will help you build the habit of working. Later, try removing those support habits. You will be able to stay productive without them.

6. Personalized Timeframes (aka Mini-Days)

You’re reactive to deadlines. You convince yourself you’re skilled, and you have enough time in the day to do it later.

How? If your sense of urgency depends on the deadline distance, a small (yet realistic) one will make you achieve as much as possible.

 If you feel like the day is too dull, break it down into mini-days: one for working, another for learning skills, and relaxation. The difference with time-blocking is that you will aim to achieve the whole day’s work in each mini day, achieving 3-4x more results. 

Sounds impossible? It works better than you think. At least, it will force you to get creative and think of how to make it.

Like the Non-Negotiable Hour, this technique depends on your level of consistency. The more you do it, the easier it is to believe your rules.

7. The Hourly Challenge

You don’t mind wasting time between hours as long as the overall day is a success.

How? Make a shift from daily to hourly reviews. 

Run a script where you plan to give your best work every single hour. Define how much work you need to do in one hour to consider it a personal record. 

Ask yourself:

Looking to go beyond your limits can be motivating but also creates a perfectionist tendency. Here’s how to get more done:

If you ever optimize eight work hours (wow!), then it may be time to work smarter instead and do something different.

8. Buffering

Your estimations are too optimistic and wrong over 90% of the time.

How? Allow yourself 30-50% as a margin of error for all your expectations. If something goes wrong, you lose nothing. If not, you got extra time to get the job done earlier and have free time later (stress-free!). That means:

9. OKR Goal-Setting System

When setting goals, you use results as metrics — not actions. Because this binary thinking doesn’t give you any control of the outcome, you find expectation gaps and lose motivation.

How? OKR stands for Objective Keyword Result. Here’s how it works:

I recommend combining the OKR method with the 10X Rule. Example: 

It may take less than that, but at least you set your expectations right. Maybe you don’t get the 100 clients until you’re writing the message Nº9500 (or you get them before the first thousand).

You’re no longer thinking about results but actions.

Did I mention Google invented the OKR Method? Now you can set goals as the Internet giants do.

10. Done Better Than Perfect

You’re too perfectionist to start.

How? Create a system that prevents perfectionism and rewards action:

11. Environment Optimization 

Your workspace doesn’t let you focus. You get low-quality work done because you can’t get into the zone.

Also, create productivity spaces and start designing your defaults to make smarter decisions.

Avoid the Single Worst Mistake of a Procrastinator


Imagine you’re procrastinating for the whole day (it should be easy).

You know you’re living below your potential. When the day ends, you feel deception because you didn’t get enough value from the day. 

So you stay up late, try to work but get no results.

You wake up anxious and tired, increasing the chance of falling into procrastination. That’s the procrastination cycle.

You can see similar behaviors in other examples:

If you find yourself here, it’s better to accept a losing day and immediately prepare for the next one.

The Next Time You Procrastinate, Remember This

Hopefully, you’ll get some good from the unbelievable research that went into this guide.

If it saved your day, I’d appreciate it if you shared it with your fellow procrastinators.

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