Have you ever “pulled an all-nighter” to complete a science project, book report, or the like? Do you get caught up on whimsical tangents while ignoring important tasks? Do you do believe that you do your best work when there’s a deadline, and that deadline was yesterday? Then you might be a Procrastinator.
It’s only human nature to want to put off unpleasant or challenging tasks, but the Procrastinator makes a lifestyle of it. As a result, the Procrastinator lives in a constant state of chaos that includes last-minute changes, late charges, traffic rage, and putting out emotional fires with friends who’ve been disappointed by flakiness. For the Procrastinator, life usually culminates in a big, whirling ball of stress.
Typically, the Procrastinator will delay a course of action despite the knowledge he or she will be worse off for the delay. There’s definitely something masochistic in this form of self-sabotage, but it has advantages, too. For instance, if things don’t go well, the Procrastinator can always blame it on time. “There wasn’t enough TIME!” is the siren call that keeps the Procrastinator from taking things personally. The work wasn’t good? The meeting didn’t go well? It’s not for a lack of talent or ability or any other shortcoming of the Procrastinator’s. It’s time’s fault!
The Procrastinator conveniently forgets that everyone has the same 24 hours in a day and using them wisely or stupidly is an individual choice. Many archetypal families can share the Procrastinator aspect. A Thinker might procrastinate his homework, and an Actor may procrastinate learning her lines until dress rehearsal, and the Visionary may put a presentation together at the absolute last moment.
- Avoiding calls and evading communication from potentially disappointed people
- Planning to fail by failing to plan
- Wasting truly impressive amounts of time on video games, social media, and texting
- Making excuses
- Ignores unpleasantness until that becomes impossible
A Happy Procrastinator
For a Procrastinator, free time is wonderful and there are always so many interesting ways to fritter it away. Unfortunately, what the Procrastinator calls “free time” is usually the time that would be spent doing what needs to be done.
Saint Augustine of Hippo who famously prayed to God, “Grant me chastity and continence – but not yet.”
The Procrastinator needs supportive friends like the Cheerleader, BFF, and Angel who will motivate and encourage. The Dreamer can help the Procrastinator visualize success. The Athlete can inspire the Procrastinator to be tenacious.
Procrastinator in Love
Procrastinators inevitably drag their partners into their problems. Suddenly, the book report becomes a joint project, last-minute emergency errands are necessary, and other help is crucial. In the heat of putting out fires, the Procrastinator is likely to get testy and lash out at his or her sweetie who is just trying to help. Also, the fall-out from procrastination can be a difficult thing to watch. Even more difficult is the ability to suppress the words, “I told you so.”
The toughest part about being a Procrastinator is living with the feeling that life is uncontrollable. Yes, many aspects of life are, indeed, out of our control. That’s why it’s so important that we take responsibility for the parts that we can control.
How to Play It
If you a tendency to be the Procrastinator, take heart. The remedy is much simpler than it seems and can be summed up in three little words: Do it now.
Starting is usually the hard part, so reduce your resistance to beginning a task by making your opening move an easy one. Instead of thinking of the whole job, think of one small next step, and then do that.
The art of planning can be a joy and is not a step to be skipped when projects are large. Always start at the desired end result and work backward, asking pertinent questions. For instance, “What will I have to do to turn this report in on time?” Think as many of the small steps as you can foresee and put all your answers into a written schedule.