Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Procrastination: What's Holding You Back?

(This article is from my March 2008 Newsletter)

When I first started in the field of professional organizing, I read It's About Time: The 6 Styles of Procrastination and How to Overcome Them by Dr. Linda Sapadin with Jack Maguire. Dr. Sapadin reminds us that everyone procrastinates occasionally. We do it when we face challenging situations. For some, it's a chronic behavior. Once we can identify how and why we procrastinate, then we can work on breaking the patterns and replacing them with productive behaviors.

These are the six styles of procrastination. Here's a quick overview:

Perfectionist-"BUT I want it to be perfect!"

  • Reluctant to start, or finish, a task because it has to be perfect.
  • Quite often spending far more energy on a task than is required.

Dreamer-"BUT I hate all those bothersome details!"

  • Difficult challenges can provoke resistance.
  • "Hard to do" gets translated into "I can't do it."
  • A challenge to turn big ideas into reality.

Worrier-"BUT I'm afraid to change!"

  • Have an excessive need for security, which causes a fear of risk.
  • Focus too much on the "what ifs" and may avoid finishing projects all together so that they don't have to leave the "comfort zone" of the familiar and move to new territory.

Defier-"BUT why should I do it?"

  • A rebel.
  • Some are openly proud of setting their own schedules that nobody else can predict or control.
  • They are establishing their individuality.
  • Some are more subtle (maybe less consciously aware) and is called "passive-aggressive" behavior.

Crisis-Maker-"BUT I only get motivated at the last minute!"

  • Need to live on the edge.
  • Procrastination is a form of adventure which includes intense emotion, constant challenge and emergency action.

Over-Doer- "BUT I have so much to do!"

  • Says "yes" to too much because they are unable or unwilling to make choices and establish priorities.
  • Try to do too much at once and so some things may get done very well, but other things never get done.

Dr. Sapadin adds that each person displays their own distinct mix of these styles. We might have our major styles along with some that are displayed less often. Very rarely does one display only one of these styles.

What are your procrastination styles? Which one(s) do you find yourself doing when it comes to organizing? Take note of when you find yourself procrastinating. What specific challenges are you facing at those moments? What is the first step you can take to curb procrastination?


Sarah said...

I think I am a dreamer and an over-doer. Is that possible?

Hey, I just wanted to tell you that I organized my cleaning/household chores for the week and included the girls in every task. It is working out great! You motivated me to do it--I was too lazy to set up jobs for them before. Thanks! :-)

Paula Constable said...

Hi Sarah,

Yes, you can be a combination. When you have an idea or new project you want to do, take the time to write it down. What steps are you going to take to complete it?

Do you feel like every idea that pops into your head you "must do it"? If so, keep a list of projects you want to do and those you are thinking about.

Way to go setting up routines and schedules for your household chores!

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