How to Deal with a Chronic Procrastinator

They just can't seem to complete the project or make it to the event on time—so what do you do?

Every week on "I Want to Like You," host and Real Simple editor Kristin van Ogtrop calls in the experts to discuss an annoying persona, and how to deal—this week is the procrastinator. She is joined by Joseph Ferrari, social psychologist at DePaul University and author of Still Procrastinating? ($13,, and Lydia Ramsey, business etiquette expert and author of Manners That Sell ($23,, who both offer insights about why people seem to wait until the last minute, and how to motivate them to change.

Ferrari makes an important distinction: "Everybody procrastinates, but not everyone's a procrastinator." In his research, he's found that 20 to 25 percent of men and women are chronic procrastinators, which has become a maladaptive lifestyle habit they cannot overcome. Much of it is motivated by fear—they might be afraid to fail at a project, so they delay its completion indefinitely, eliminating the possibility of failure (in their eyes). Understanding that procrastination can be a deeper issue than just racing against the clock, Ferrari and Ramsey offer constructive ways to help a friend, family member, or coworker.

For that advice and more, listen to the full episode below, and don't forget to subscribe and review the show on iTunes.