Empowering the Freelance Economy

What’s your procrastination type?

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A guide to the many types of procrastination and how not to let yours cripple your freelance business

As a freelancer, you’re your own boss. You set your own hours, choose your own projects, and are ultimately responsible for your own success. But this freedom comes with a challenge: procrastination.

Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing tasks, often due to fear, self-doubt, perfectionism, or a lack of motivation. While it’s a common problem for many people, it can be especially detrimental for freelancers, whose livelihoods depend on their ability to meet deadlines and deliver high-quality work.

But did you know that procrastination has many faces? That’s because there is always a why behind why you are putting off doing something. And our personality has a lot to do with that. Given there are many personality traits, there are six different types of procrastinators, each with its own unique set of challenges. Here we outline them so you can decipher which one you identify with most.

The Perfectionist

This type of procrastinator is always striving for perfection, which can lead to them putting off tasks until they feel they can be done flawlessly. This can result in missed deadlines and frustrated clients.

  • Motto: “It has to be perfect, or it’s not worth doing.”
  • Impact: Spends hours fine-tuning minor details, missing deadlines and frustrating clients.
  • Strategies: Embrace “good enough,” set realistic goals, and reward progress, not just perfection.

The Dreamer

Dreamers are often passive and have a hard time focusing on difficult tasks. They may get lost in their own daydreams and forget about the work they need to do. This can lead to them falling behind on their workload and losing clients.

The Worrier

Worriers are indecisive and often lack confidence in their abilities. They may spend so much time worrying about whether they can do a task well that they never actually get started. This can lead to missed opportunities and lost income.

The Defier

Defiers procrastinate as a way of rebelling against authority or expectations. They may put off tasks simply because they don’t want to do them. This can damage their relationships with clients and make it difficult to build a successful business.

The Crisis-Maker

Crisis-makers thrive on the adrenaline rush of deadlines. They wait until the last minute to start tasks, which can lead to shoddy work and missed deadlines. This can damage their reputation and make it difficult to find new clients.

The Overdoer

Overdoers take on more work than they can handle, which can lead to them feeling overwhelmed and stressed. They may procrastinate on tasks because they feel like they don’t have enough time to do them all. This can lead to burnout and resentment, which can damage their business in the long run.

If you recognise yourself in any of these descriptions, don’t despair. There are steps you can take to overcome procrastination and become a more productive freelancer. Here are a few tips:

  • Identify your procrastination type: Once you know what type of procrastinator you are, you can start to develop strategies to address your specific challenges. Spotting them in the first place can be tremendously productive.
  • Set realistic goals: Don’t try to do too much at once. Break down large projects into smaller, more manageable tasks.
  • Set deadlines and reward yourself for keeping them. Having a deadline can help you stay on track and avoid procrastination. For example, if you have a deadline for next Wednesday, set your personal deadline for the end of play Monday or midday Tuesday and adjust your schedule accordingly. Think of the extra time as “me time” and treat yourself to something for keeping on task and on time. This should help you stay motivated and on track. The same can be true for admin and domestic tasks: set yourself a time frame to get the job done. For example, Tuesdays from 9 am to 11 am. That way you are allotting that time and will stay focused on the task.
  • Take breaks: It’s important to take breaks throughout the day to avoid burnout. Get up and move around, stretch, or take a short walk.
  • Seek help: If you’re struggling to overcome procrastination on your own, don’t be afraid to seek help from a therapist or counsellor.

The aim of this exercise if to understand the why behind your procrastination and take steps to overcome it. This way you can boost your productivity and build an even more successful freelance business and build in more time to do the things you love without having a nagging deadline in the back of your mind.

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