Although a procrastinator is usually defined as someone who intentionally and habitually puts off doing something, the act of becoming a procrastinator is a psychological process. There are various stages of Procrastination. Stages that all people are guilty of doing at some point in their life.
In order to be branded a true procrastinator one must complete all three stages. The first stage is denial. All people commit this stage of procrastination. Denial is the stage in which people take into consideration time constraints, other more important aspects in their lives, and the difficulty of the task ahead. Taking into consideration time, importance, and difficulty; one starts to formulate reasons for putting off the project. Most people believe that they have plenty of time before the deadline looms over their head.
Usually people think that walking the dog, cleaning the house, or even organizing their sock drawer is more important then the task they are faced with. After several days or even several hours of putting off the project, a person comes out of the stage of denial. If a person is not a procrastinator the project will be done immediately once denial vanishes. If a person is a procrastinator, they will progress into the next stage of daydreaming.
In the second stage of procrastination, a person has the intention to do the project but becomes side tracked. This is where daydreaming occurs. While sitting there, a person starts to formulate ideas. These ideas start to remind the person of the silliest stuff: a commercial jingle or the time in third grade when they fell off a swing and spilled the contents of their head on the ground. Then, they begin to think that the swing incident is why they are irresponsible today.
This leads to a mental note to contact the lawyer about a possible lawsuit. After all this legal contemplation, the person realizes that they have spent a good two hours figuring out whom to sue and they have not yet started. Daydreaming ends at this point. Once in the stage of daydreaming, a person can neither regress to the stage of denial nor begin the project.
Since daydreaming is over the final stage sets in, paranoia. Once paranoia has a hold of a person, they can be called a procrastinator. While in the stage of paranoia a person realizes that they are going to fail. Paranoia is actually a positive stage. People begin to work like a maniac. Usually this stage of procrastination results in a loss of a nights sleep.
This is the end of the procrastination cycle. In addition, it is the defining moment of becoming a procrastinator. Procrastination can be a positive action since a person learns how to work under pressure. Just because a person has put off one or two projects does not mean they are necessarily a procrastinator by nature. It means that they are human. In order to become a procrastinator one must continually complete the cycle of denial, daydreaming, and paranoia.