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You Think About Procrastination All Wrong

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If you beat yourself up because you can’t seem to stop procrastinating, wait…
It may not be as hopeless as you think.

Convinced you are a procrastinator?

There’s a chance you feel terrible for no valid reason, and shouldn’t be so hard on yourself!

In this blog post, you’ll discover how to stop feeling guilty. You actually may not even be a procrastinator.

I recently listened to the podcast version of this interview with Dr. Mary Lamia, who is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst.

And I had a real “Aha”-moment regarding procrastination.

According to Dr. Lamia, people are usually either task-driven or deadline-driven.
And this impacts how and when you complete tasks.

Deadline-driven people naturally do things later, when the deadline is looming.

Let’s take a look at an example

Workload procrastinator

After a quite painful collaboration (for both of us), I now understand that one of my colleagues is task-driven and I am rather deadline-driven.

We simply didn’t understand each other.

He thought I was disorganized and incompetent. I thought he was a big pain in the neck, stressing out for no reason.

It was awful and neither of us handled the situation particularly well!

I usually start and complete tasks by order of priority, and this order is generally defined by deadlines.
My colleague prefers to get tasks out of the way immediately. Otherwise, he gets stressed.

I can’t imagine how that works because I always have plenty of “critical” things to do. And not because I let them pile up.

Improve teamwork

What I learned, thanks to this Podcast, can make a difference and improve teamwork.

If you are having trouble with someone you work with, this person might not be a jerk (on purpose) but simply have a different mindset.

So if you can discover where the tension comes from, you might be able to find a compromise that works for all of you.

Both task-driven and deadline-driven people complete tasks on time. They simply have different motivators.

Teamwork with sticky notes to complete tasks

Being rather deadline-driven myself, this is a relief. It always felt like a weakness and I often wish I were able to start sooner.

But you have to ask yourself: Did you meet the deadline and did you do a good job?

If so, there is nothing to feel bad about!
We need to stop self-shaming, even if there is always room for improvement.

Procrastination can be a defense mechanism

Dr. Lamia blew my mind when she said that procrastination is an unconscious excuse to avoid the risk of failure.

We put off certain things forever because we’re scared to pour our heart and soul into something, only to fail.

This would be so shameful that “I’m too lazy” just feels better. This is not procrastinating!

Starting the Learning Ninja blog was scary, too. I put it off for years.
And one day I simply took the leap because it was just ridiculous to procrastinate forever.

Recognizing this can also help improve your well-being...

Because you can tackle the real problem you didn’t know you had.

Maybe all of us could use a little more introspection.

But still, let’s see what you can do to use your time wisely…


To make the best use of the limited time you have each day, you need to get clear on where you want to go and which steps you need to take.

Write down your overall goal….

Then break it down into milestones so that you can track your progress.

They are also a great opportunity to celebrate your intermediate wins along the way.

Now, what steps do you need to take to reach your first milestone?

Be specific

Be as specific as possible so that you can easily check whether you’re on track or not.

Get clear on how much time you need each day to work on your goals.

You have to decide what matters to you most and be diligent about it.
Then you have to consciously say “no” to everything that isn’t that.

“I don’t have time for…” simply means that it’s not a priority.

Make sure you set your priorities right and that you productively work on your goals before you get stuck with other stuff.

To better teamwork and great projects!


Improve yourself. Improve your life!

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PS: Comment below if you thought this was a surprising perspective on procrastination

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Herb

    Having read this I thought it was very enlightening. I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this together.

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