There’s more than one type of procrastination?

What student hasn’t – at least one time – delayed writing a paper or studying for an exam until the last minute? What adult hasn’t procrastinated on some project or another at home or work?

Procrastination isn’t anything new to most people, particularly to people with ADHD.

But, did you know that there are several types of procrastination?

Joseph Ferrari, PhD is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at DePaul University in Chicago and an international researcher and expert on the issue of procrastination. He and his colleagues have identified at least three distinct types of procrastination:

  • Avoidance procrastination:  delaying tasks to avoid revealing a perceived lack of ability or other “flaws” (can be associated with perfectionism)
  • Arousal procrastination: delaying tasks to experience the “rush” of working close to a deadline
  • Decisional procrastination:  delaying decision-making situations, experiencing indecision

According to Dr. Ferrari, the prevalence of procrastination among people without ADHD varies by age and is around 70% among college students and 20% among adults. In research published in 2006 in the Counseling and Clinical Psychology Journal, Ferrari documented the fact that procrastination is more common among individuals with ADD than without. In fact, he found that the prevalence of all three types of procrastination (avoidance, arousal, and decisional procrastination) is significantly higher among people with ADHD.

Procrastination has been associated with a number of problems including low self-confidence, worry, social anxiety, feeling depressed, and lacking energy. You might wonder which is the chicken and which is the egg here?

Here’s some food for thought on this topic:

  • How often do you find yourself procrastinating? (be honest)
  • What types of problems does procrastination cause for you?
  • What benefits do you get from it?
  • Is one type of procrastination (avoidance, arousal, or decisional) more common for you than others?
  • In what ways might understanding the three types of procrastination  be helpful to you?

To read more about procrastination, check out these other blog posts:

If you need some help addressing procrastination in your life, consider working with an ADHD coach. Contact me for a free initial consultation today!

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