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VIP: Very Inventive Procrastinator

Colette Robicheau


Many of us think we have conquered procrastination and have become efficient workers. This may be true for some of us, but when it comes to procrastination we may have just become a little more creative. You may just be a V.I.P. - Very Inventive Procrastinator. Read the statements below to see how many you can identify with.

  • I like to get a lot of little jobs out of the way before starting a major project.
  • I have a messy desk, overflowing in-basket and paper that needs to be filed.
  • I frequently go back to work with my "homework" still in my briefcase untouched.
  • I frequently tell myself, "I'll put it here for now and put it away later."
  • I have at least two major projects at work or at home that I am leaving until I have more time.
  • I have several broken items at home waiting to be repaired or articles of clothing waiting to be mended.
  • In the mornings I rarely get up when the alarm sounds or at the time I planned to get up.
  • I like to stick with a task until it is perfect.

    How many of those statements described you at least some of the time? According to Dr. Linda Sapadinin in her book It's About Time, there are six styles of procrastination:

  • The Perfectionist- Spends too much time past the acceptable level of work
  • The Dreamer- Focuses on fun and easy things in hopes the difficult will disappear
  • The Worrier- Is afraid to make mistakes, so never gets started
  • The Defier- Puts things off as a way to object to having to do it
  • The Crisis-Maker- Lives for the adrenaline of working against the clock
  • The Over-Doer- Takes on more can they can do in a timely manner

    Which are you? Each type of procrastinator has uniquely inventive ways to procrastinate.

    "But I want it to be perfect!"
    "But I hate all those bothersome details"
    "But I'm afraid to change!"
    "But why should I have to do it?"
    "But I only get motivated at the last minute!"
    "But I have so much to do!"

    Sound familiar? Not to worry, there is hope for VIPs who thought they had procrastination beat. The ideas below should help you kick the habit:

  • Change your "can'ts", "shoulds", and "somedays" to "cans", "coulds", and specific times.
  • Identify why you procrastinate. Do you try to perfect everything? Do you worry? Do you like the feeling of beating the clock? Do you take on too much?
  • Set a goal for the thing you've been putting off. Pick a specific date to do it, and schedule time in your planner to get it done.
  • Break down the overwhelming tasks into chunks, and do them a little at a time.
  • Keep telling yourself, "If it's unpleasant, I'll do it now and get it over with."
  • Disorganization breeds procrastination, so get organized.
  • Tackle the distasteful tasks when you're feeling good or have just accomplished something significant.
  • Force yourself to start. Once started, you'll build momentum. Keep starting, and you'll develop the do it now habit.
  • Decide on a reward for finishing a task that you have been delaying. Example: a coffee break, a new shirt, a night on the town. Provide yourself with an incentive to get it done.

    We would also like to acknowledge Harold Taylor's "Procrastination Self-Assessment" and "25 Ways to Overcome Procrastination for info in this article.

    Colette Robicheau, President of Organize Anything, is a consultant, coach, and speaker who helps people set priorities, stay focused, manage time, and transitions so they can achieve their goals, grow their business and be more successful.

    Contact her at and sign up for her newsletter of useful tips at