What Are the Two Types of Procrastination?

Procrastination is a phenomenon that affects nearly everyone at some point in their lives.

It is the tendency to postpone tasks or activities that we should be doing, often because they are unpleasant or challenging.

While there may be some short-term benefits to procrastinating, like putting off an unpleasant task or taking a break from a challenging project, in the long run, it can lead to significant negative consequences; like missed deadlines, decreased productivity, and increased stress levels.

There are generally two types of procrastination: active and passive.

Active procrastinators are individuals who actively choose to postpone certain tasks or activities.

They are fully aware that they are procrastinating and do so deliberately…

Often because they are seeking a short-term mood boost or believe that they work better under pressure.

Passive procrastinators, on the other hand, typically are not aware that they are procrastinating.

They simply find themselves unable to get started on certain tasks or activities, attributable to a variety of causes.

This type of procrastination is often linked to anxiety or perfectionism.

If you find yourself struggling with procrastination, there are a number of strategies you can use to overcome it.

These include setting realistic goals and breaking down tasks into smaller steps.

Active Procrastination

Active procrastination is a term that was first coined by Timothy Pychyl in 2000.

It is when people use procrastination as a way to actively improve their lives.

Active procrastinators believe that by putting off certain tasks, they will be able to achieve more later on.

For example, an active procrastinator might put off going to the gym today because they know they will be able to work out for longer tomorrow.

Active procrastination is often used as a way to increase productivity.

The theory is that by putting off certain tasks, we will have more time and energy to devote to other tasks.

Active procrastination can also be used as a way to prevent burnout; by taking breaks and delaying certain activities, we can avoid feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.

Active procrastination is a controversial topic, and there is still debate about whether or not it is actually effective.

However, there is no doubt that it can be useful for some people.

As long as you don’t suffer from poor performance or missed deadlines, active procrastination on certain tasks may provide greater control over your schedule.

Passive Procrastination

It is a type of procrastination that happens when someone does not take action because they are not sure what to do or because they are afraid of making a mistake.

Passive procrastination can be frustrating because it can feel like you are stuck in a rut and not making any progress.

The good news is that this psychological response can improve with practice.

The key is to start taking small steps towards your goal; once you get started, you will often find that the rest of the task is much easier than you thought it would be.

Passive procrastination is also often caused by mental health issues; an example of which could be the perfectionism mindset.

Therefore, if you are worried about making mistakes or failing, it can be helpful to remind yourself that done is better than perfect.

By taking action, you will learn more about what works and what does not work, making you better able to achieve your goal in the long run.

Passive procrastination can be overcome with effort and perseverance.

Just remember to take things one step at a time and to focus on progress, not perfection.

Associated Types of Procrastination

Active and passive procrastination is sometimes referred to as adaptive and maladaptive forms of procrastination.

Passive procrastination is also connected to the notion of traditional procrastination.

Whereas active procrastination is associated with well-adjusted procrastinators who delay regularly but are not always negatively impacted by their activity response.

The distinction between active and passive procrastination is linked to the difference between avoidant procrastination, which involves delaying because of fears and worries, and arousal procrastination, which entails purposely waiting until just before the deadline to make tasks more interesting (i.e., indulging in sensation seeking).

However, the differences between these types of procrastination have also been disputed.

Finally, there is productive procrastination (also known as structured procrastination), which involves performing helpful things while delaying more essential tasks.

This sort of procrastination has both advantages and disadvantages compared to non-productive procrastination, although it is linked with a number of risks.

The Active Procrastination Scale

The key behaviors that distinguish active procrastination are as follows:

  • Outcome satisfaction: This describes your desire to be satisfied with the outcome of your effort, even if you had to hurry through it.
  • Preference for pressure: Studies have shown that people who prefer to get things done when they are under pressure tend to produce more.
  • The intentional decision: It represents the deliberate decision to delay.
  • Ability to meet deadlines: This represents the tendency to finish tasks on time.

The Potential Benefits of Active Procrastination

Active procrastinators are more like non-procrastinators when it comes to using time purposefully, having greater self-efficacy, experiencing less stress, and having better academic results according to some research.

Active procrastination, according to some studies, may also have additional advantages, such as a better capacity to handle difficulties in a creative manner and an enhanced propensity to be in a flow state while working.

Despite this, active procrastination may not result in all of these advantages, especially not consistently.

Criticisms Of Active Procrastination

Active procrastination has attracted a lot of criticism, despite the fact that there is some evidence to suggest it might be helpful.

Active procrastination may not be advantageous, according to research, although applying the concept in reality is certainly not risk-free.


The majority of people seeking help for this issue are passive procrastinators, where the issue is negatively affecting their lives.

From poor financial habits to impacted academic performance, delaying what could be done today can have drastic consequences.

So if you suffer from this condition, consult qualified professionals to explore the underlying issues and formulate a plan of action.