- August 28, 2023
Are you a procrastinator? Chances are the answer is yes, at least some of the time. And if not, it’s a good bet that you know people who are. Why do we put things off that we know we have to do? There are lots of reasons, some good and some not so good. On the good side, we’re way too busy and our “to do” list is long. So we tackle the most pressing things first, putting off those that can wait. For most of us, this works fine, and we do our best to eventually get to all the items on the list. On the not so good side, we put off the things we hate, dread, or don’t feel confident about, even though we know we have to do them. There’s a recent trend in the psychology world to refer to “active” and “passive” procrastination. Active procrastinators are planners and organizers who prioritize their tasks and get all or most of them done. Passive procrastinators duck for cover, fail to meet assignment deadlines, break their promises, and stir up disappointment and irritation in others.
In a CNN online post (https://www.cnn.com/2023/01/17/health/procrastination-types-how-to-stop-wellness/index.html), Kristen Rogers described 4 types of passive procrastinators, based on the work of a number of experts. 1) the perfectionist, 2) the worrier, 3) the dreamer, and 4) the defier. For the first, the saying applies that the perfect is the enemy of the good. Projects seldom get finished, since they’re seldom perfect. For the worrier, anxiety and lack of confidence hold them back. For the dreamer, fantasies abound but pen doesn’t get put to paper, and distractions take over. And for the defier, the term “passive aggressive” applies.
In the language of NPSP25, the perfectionist might score high on the Conscientious style. Responsibility and careful attention to detail work well here, but too much perfectionism could stall the motor. The Sensitive style might be high scorer for the worrier, since concerns about the expectations of others can lead to avoidance of the task. The dreamer might score high on Dramatic style or Mercurial style, both reflecting colorful worlds with lots of emotion and spontaneity, but not steady and productive work habits. And the Defier might score high on the Leisurely style, where safeguarding “my time” might defer duties to a later time.
Procrastination is within us all, most likely. Sometimes it helps us keep our balance. And sometimes it doesn’t!