The More You Do – The Better You Feel

How To Learn to Overcome Procrastination and Live a Happier Life

The 25 Characteristics
of the Human Ostrich

What makes someone a Human Ostrich?  We could say that anyone who habitually procrastinates on a regular basis is a Human Ostrich.  Figuratively speaking, we Human Ostriches automatically stick our heads in the sand at the slightest inkling of concern that we may have to deal with a task we perceive as being complicated, frustrating, boring, or otherwise unpleasant in some way.  While it’s unlikely that a single procrastinator will possess all of the traits listed in the following table, you may find that you identify with some of them within yourself, or within someone you know.  Mark the adjacent checkboxes wherever and whenever you identify with a trait.

  1. Many procrastinators believe that worrying over a task is a helpful activity.
  2. Charlie says, “I wait until I ‘feel like doing it.’  It’s as if I’m waiting until it feels like ‘the right time’ before I’ll do something.  The only thing is, that ‘right time’ never comes—so nothing gets done.”
  3. Many procrastinators become overwhelmed by anxiety while trying to choose between several “high priority” tasks.
  4. Habitual procrastinators tend to float through life.
  5. Habitual procrastinators are resourceful at finding excuses for not doing, and not having done.
  6. Many procrastinators report a profound dislike for tasks that are complicated, or take more than a few minutes to accomplish.
  7. Some procrastinators find difficulty when they try to alternate between tasks.
  8. Many procrastinators find themselves easily distracted from their tasks.
  9. Many procrastinators are perfectionists.
  10. Quite a few report that they daydream excessively.
  11. While doing one task, I wonder, “Should I be doing something else?”
  12.  Procrastinators worry, “If I ‘do,’ doesn’t that mean that I should always be able to ‘do’?”
  13. Judith says: “When I complete a large task, I feel like I’ve earned the right not to ‘do’ anything for a short while, except—it goes on for too long.”
  14. Procrastinators feel envy at the “superior abilities” they believe others have.
  15. Many procrastinators engage in poor self-communication.
  16. Procrastinators suffer from grossly distorted perceptions of time and outcomes: for example, “It’ll take ‘a thousand years’ to get done.”
  17. A habitual procrastinator’s first reaction to a task is usually negative thinking, followed by the belief that any action taken will be fruitless.
  18. Many procrastinators suffer from “all-or-nothing thinking.”
  19. Habitual procrastinators set vague and unreasonable goals.
  20. Habitual procrastinators have difficulty planning out their tasks in a logical manner and then following that path until the task’s completion.
  21. Many procrastinators feel frustrated when they return to an abandoned task.
  22. Many feel impatient and frustrated for much of the time.
  23. Procrastinators often report that they don’t feel satisfied upon a task’s completion.
  24. Left unresolved, procrastination usually gets worse with time.
  25. As procrastination grows stronger, the procrastinator feels weaker!

Feel free to copy this table, print it out, or share it with friends by sending them a link to “The 25 Characteristics of the Human Ostrich.”  You may wish to note that in my book, How Many Procrastinators Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb?: Take Control of Your Life and Defeat Immobilizing Depression!, each of these traits is discussed in full detail.  My book is all about overcoming procrastination and I hope you’ll consider learning more about it by visiting the rest of my website at

What do you think about the 25 Characteristics of the Human Ostrich?  Is there a trait missing that you’d like to see?  If I can answer any questions that you have about procrastination or concerning the relationship between procrastination and depression feel free to send me an e-mail via this website’s contact page.  I’ll be happy to hear from you.