“What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.”
- Abraham Maslow
A common recipe for failure is the mixture of the right idea with the wrong plan. Recently, I was unable to sleep because of nasal congestion and sneezing. To find relief I took some cold and flu medicine. The medication did not help, so I visited my doctor. The doctor told me that I had seasonal allergies; not a cold. He then prescribed a specific remedy based on my situation. As it turns out, I had the right idea, but the wrong plan.
Your desire to stop procrastinating on important tasks is the right idea. The fact that you continue in this habit is an indication that you have the wrong plan. What can be done to put the right plan in place?
Consider Your Personality
Your personality is a blend of genetic and learned tendencies. According to modern psychological research, everyone falls into one of four categories: Driver, Sanguine, Analytical or Peacemaker.
Below is a breakdown of these areas along with a procrastination prescription that is specific to each type:
- Driver Dan – Dan is the “type A” personality. He is driven, results focused, confrontational and assertive. Michael Jordan and Donald Trump would be good examples.
Drivers have a tendency to respond to deadlines, so the best way to overcome procrastination would be to make sure you give yourself a firm deadline for completion.
I am a “type A” personality. When I have a major writing project, I block off one hour each day using a kitchen timer. Have a daily deadline forces me to make the most of the time.
- Sanguine Sally – Sally thrives off of being the center of attention and loves to hear the sound of her own voice. She lives for the here and now and likes to have fun. Kim Kardashian and Dennis Rodman come to mind when I think of a Sanguine.
You will procrastinate most on tasks that you do not perceive to be fun and enjoyable. Creating a reward system for accomplishing the objective is a way around this. Treating yourself to a weekend getaway as a reward for finishing that business plan will help you move forward.
- Analytical Al – Al likes to have all of the facts and details in order before he takes action. Engineers and accountants tend to have this type of personality. The movie character “Dr. Emmit Brown” from Back to the Future fits the description.
Your tendency is to be slow in making decisions when the next steps are not concrete. Having the plan written out in detail before you proceed will lessen the chance of procrastination.
If you are writing a book, having the title, chapters and talking points for each chapter written out in advance would be a great way to start.
- Peacemaker Patricia – Patricia likes to see everyone get along, avoids confrontation and does not want to make waves. She is agreeable and easy to like. “Mr. Rogers” of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood would be an example.
You like doing tasks that are easy for you, and get overwhelmed by those that seem complex. Your natural response to a complicated assignment is to do nothing.
Breaking the task down into specific action steps, and committing to a one step at a time will make things easier. You must ask yourself: “What is the next step?”
If you are writing a business plan, focus all of your initial attention on the first step of creating a vision statement. Focusing step-by-step will be easier for you than looking at all of the details of the project as a whole.
Procrastination is nothing to take lightly. Having the right prescription based on your personality will help you to break the habit!
Eric M. Twiggs
Your Procrastination Prevention Partner
PS. For additional insights that will help you overcome procrastination, download my ebook, One Moment in Time.