Your Personal Procrastination Prescription

“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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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. 

Do Not Submit If It Does Not Fit

“It is better to say NO to an opportunity that is not the right fit, than to say YES for political reasons.”

Success breeds opportunity, but not every opportunity is the right fit. The ability to demonstrate competency and deliver results at one level does not guarantee success at the next. It is better to say NO to an opportunity that is not the right fit, than to say yes for political reasons. The following true story from my past clarifies the point. 

Several years ago, I worked for a regional manager named Robert.  He was the shining star of the company with responsibility for over 100 retail locations in the New England region.   He won numerous awards for his sales and profit results, and had a reputation for being highly competent.  Robert was approached by senior level management and asked to take over the Washington, DC region, which was known to be very difficult and had been underperforming for many years.  He accepted the position and relocated his family. 

Unfortunately, Robert was not a fit for the new assignment.  He did well in New England because he inherited a team of seasoned managers that needed minimal direction.  The DC region required someone who was skilled at turning around failing organizations and recruiting good managers.  Robert did not posses these skills and struggled to keep up.  He was eventually fired for poor performance. 

The added stress impacted his personal life and contributed to him getting divorced from his wife.  This is a sad example of what can happen when you fail to evaluate a potential opportunity to determine if it is a fit. There is one key to making sure that you don’t end up in a position that is not right for you. 

Know Yourself
American psychologist Abraham Maslow said: “What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself."  The key to knowing yourself is to have a realistic picture of where you are. Recently, I had an experience in the mall that illustrates this point. 

I went to the mall last week in search of a gift for my young daughter.   I could not find the toy store so I went to the map at the center of the mall. On the map I saw in big letters “YOU ARE HERE”. I also saw that there was another store closer to me that sold toys than the one I originally planned to shop.  Based on where I was, this was a better fit for me.  This experience taught me that knowing where you are is essential to getting the opportunity that is the best fit for you. 

Knowing “where” you are is not just a reference to your physical location.  By where, I am referring to your personality as it relates to the potential opportunity.  For example, Type “A”, driver personalities don’t fit well in positions that require extensive research and data analysis.  Analytical personalities are not a natural fit for positions that involve leading large groups of people.  My supervisor Robert was an analytical personality type, which contributed to the challenges that I mentioned previously. 

If you do not know your personality type, resources like Wonderlic and Myers Briggs offer tests that can help you find out. They can also help you to identify opportunities that are the best fit based on your test results. 

By making sure potential opportunities are a fit for you BEFORE you say YES, you will maximize your time and minimize your stress.