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Every writer has struggled with procrastination at one point in their lives. Personally, procrastination has become a bad habit I haven’t been able to break. Even if you gave me an entire year to complete an assignment, I probably would leave it to the last minute.

I’ve never given much thought into why I procrastinate. I’ve also never actively tried not to do it. I’ve always told myself that I procrastinate to

alleviate anxiety. I already worry about everything anyways, why add more stress when I can put it off until later.

Most (if not all) articles written about procrastination give advice on how to overcome it. I really wanted to prove everyone wrong, to find the positive side to procrastination because procrastination has become like second nature. I’ve always said that I do my best work under pressure. But apparently even this is a common excuse procrastinator’s use.

I have always been lucky in that procrastination has never blown up in my face. During my four years of undergrad, I never once failed a class or assignment, despite completing only one assignment in advance.

That being said, I used to believe that procrastination was a failing on my part. I thought I was just being lazy. But doing further research into why we procrastinate has given me insight into what this habit really is for me: a coping mechanism for self-doubt.

According to an article from Business Insider, there are four main types of procrastinators:

  1. The “performer, who says ‘I work well under pressure’”

  2. The “self-deprecator, who says ‘I am so lazy right now’”

  3. The “overbooker, who says ‘I’m so busy’”

  4. The “novelty seeker, who says ‘I just had the best idea’”

I fall under the first category; I’m a performer. The article explains, “this procrastinator forces themselves to focus by shrinking the time they have to tackle a task…The real reason behind this is perfectionism. If you’re tight on time, there’s no way the task can be done to your unreasonably high standards anyway, right? For others, the issue is simply falling back into old patterns and beliefs that we have about our 11th-hour saves."

Before today, I would have never called myself a perfectionist - but I guess I do have perfectionist tendencies. Like so many writers, I struggle with self-doubt… constantly wondering if my writing is any good. The thought of writing something people don’t like is one of my worst fears. I procrastinate because my fear of failure makes it difficult to start projects.

I’m a procrastinator, and maybe I always will be. But knowing that I’m not alone in the ways in which I procrastinate is really helpful. Learning how to not give in to self-doubt is something that I will forever struggle with, but in the future I hope to give myself the benefit of the doubt, to allow myself to grow, and to see potential failures as learning opportunities.

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