Styles of Procrastination

Do you procrastinate? I think everyone does. Period – everyone, at least to some degree or another. The question really comes down to whether your procrastination is interfering with your life – and the degree will vary between people. Some people are guilt-ridden with “minor” procrastination and others can procrastinate with much more tolerance. Some of us want to minimize the procrastination behaviors while others are managing as it is.

My mom would tell you that I’m a chronic procrastinator. I’m notoriously bad about sending letters and packages in a timely way. I certainly see that there are areas where I do procrastinate and in general, I’m fascinated with procrastination. This is one of the reasons I picked up and read It’s About Time!: The Six Styles of Procrastination and How to Overcome Them Dr. Linda Sapadin with Jack Maguire.

As it says in the title, she breaks chronic, pervasive, and deeply-rooted procrastination into 6 styles: perfectionist, dreamer, worrier, defier, crisis-maker, and the overdoer. She provides a quiz so you can figure out which type or types are your personal style. The quiz focuses on the 6 types with 10 questions where you answer the questions with 1 of 3 possible choices: frequently, sometimes, and rarely or never. There’s an easy formula for calculating your scores and where you get a score of 10 or more, this makes that type of procrastination a major style for you. When your score in a type is 9 or less, this is a minor style for you.

Each type then gets a chapter with examples of people who’ve struggled with this type of procrastination and why. She spends most of the chapter addressing 3 areas that will make a difference in changing this type of procrastination: changing how you think, changing how you speak, and changing how you act. For the changing how you think, she has a visualization for each of the 6 types.

I took the quiz, twice, actually! I took it as I started the book, and scored 10 or above in 4 of the 6 procrastination styles. Later I was talking to various people about how I had read this book and how I scored high in several areas (a case when scoring high is not such a good thing!). I decided to retake the quiz, mostly just out of curiosity. That time my highest score was a 6 in one type. My conclusion is that the test is not statistically valid, since I could get wildly different scores and is a reflection of my own state of mind. (For those of you who don’t know me, you might not realize that I have a self-critical nature. ☺) It’s completely plausible to me that I would get different results, and the truth is that my procrastination probably also ties in with my state of mind in the moment.

I appreciate that she focuses on the idea of helping the reader to find ways that work for them – she’s not implying that there’s a “right” way to be, so she’s “inviting you to change from your personal path of avoidance – the BUT path—to your personal path of resolution—the AND path.” The number of case studies, examples of others who’ve struggled is varied and was easy for me to relate to the styles. People’s behaviors vary greatly within each of the types of procrastination.

The visualizations for each type of procrastination are interesting, and create some major repetition since the directions are included in each chapter. I’ve never been one for visualizations, so this did not speak to me much. I could see how the visualizations could be helpful for people though.

From what I can tell, from looking within myself, to working with various people, to friends and family – procrastination is a highly complex behavior. As a whole, breaking procrastination into 6 styles seems too limiting. There are too many other possible issues involved with why we procrastinate. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting look at procrastination as it relates to our personality.

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