Procrastination: How to identify it and how to stop it

Webster’s Dictionary describes procrastination as “to put off doing something that should be done, dawdle, delay.”

In handwriting there is a trait called procrastination, that means just that: to put off, dawdle or delay.  But it is not the only trait that illustrates this behavior.

That is one of the amazing (and useful) things about handwriting analysis, that is can show you, with a clarity that nothing else I know of can, from there the behavior originates and what is the underlying cause.

Here are eight other traits that can hold you back and “masquerade” as procrastination.

Firstly let’s look at the trait of procrastination itself.

Writing where the t-bar is to the left of the t-stem, not crossing it, is the primary indication of procrastination. I-dots to the left of the i-stem are a lesser indication of the same.


This is the real thing.  The “don’t do today what you can put off till tomorrow” trait.

But I’m sure we all know people who never seem to get around to doing things, who don’t show either of these traits in their writing.

So what else can be causing their inaction?  We’ll look at them in turn.

1. Caution:

The cautious person is holding back out of Fear. Fear of failure, perhaps fear of success, fear of a wide variety of challenges of new experiences.  They want to get going but they’re scared.


Caution shows in long, flat final strokes (last stroke before removing the pen from the paper) at the baseline of the writing.

2. Weak Will Power

This is another culprit here.  Motivation, the ability to get started, this is what will power gives.  Without it the individual may have great intentions but never actually get started.

weak willpower

Will power shows in the heaviness of the t-bars.  Weak will power shows in the t-bars lighter in pressure than the rest of the writing.

3. Perfectionism:

If you wait till everything is perfect before you start, you may never move at all!  Perfectionism shows in writing in a perfectly retraced stem on the lower case “p.”


4. Confusion of Interests:

The confused writer has so many things on the go that s/he never has enough time and attention to give to any one thing.  This writer runs around in circles, always busy, but seldom completing anything.


Confusion shows in lines of writing running into each other: e.g. the lower loops of one line overlapping the upper loops of the line below. This writer needs to focus on getting organized.

5. Deliberate:

The deliberate person doesn’t put things off as such.  He merely “marches to his own drummer” and will do things on his own time frame.  Some people may see this as lazy, but the deliberate writer may indeed be very efficient, just working at his own speed.


Deliberate is shown in writing when the upward stroke forming the stem of the t or d is completely separate from the downstroke forming the stem (an upside-down V shape is the result.)

6. Low self esteem:

This writer may indeed want to get things done but is unsure about himself to the extent that he holds back from doing things.  Low self esteem shows in a small personal pronoun “I”, small capital letters and small signature.

low self esteem

7. Self consciousness:

Depending on the task, shyness or self consciousness might hold the writer back- the fear of drawing attention to self.  This shows in the writing where the latter part of the m or n (capital or lower case) is higher than the first part of the letter.

self conscious


Or perhaps what is holding the writer back is sensitivity to criticism.  If the Sensitive writer feels others will disapprove or criticize him, he may hold back from doing anything they think might draw such a response.


Sensitivity to criticism shows in looped lower case “t” and “d.”

Procrastinators can benefit from Goal Setting.

There are more.  I won’t go into them here, but next time  you find someone “procrastinating” try to get a peek at their writing to find the real cause for delay.

By understanding better, you may even be able to offer the appropriate assistance or support and get things moving.

sad teddys

I guess we could close with a slogan like “Don’t delay, analyze handwriting today!” (or not!)

You can even work with your handwriting to eliminate procrastination, or any of the other eight masquerading raits.

Graphotherapy can help you eliminate unwanted traits from your handwriting and from your life.


Do you have a questions about writing?

simply enhance signature

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