Dr Shirley Homes was kind enough to meet me for coffee downtown. I was still uncomfortable with the thought of having people monitor my behaviour especially when in the Thought Police buildings.
Our coffee arrived and we continued our conversation about procrastinators and time killers.
“What’s the difference between a time killer and a procrastinator?”
“Basically they are one and the same except for the end result,” she replied as she put her coffee cup down. “A procrastinator tends to put things off because they want to enjoy the pleasures of life instead of working. On the other hand, a time killer is a person with time on their hands and nothing to do. You said in your post on Decaffeinate Your Mind that if you’re faced with pain or pleasure then pleasure will always win.”
I was quite startled that she knew about my guest post and not only that but she’d read it as well. It seemed that my interview with Pro Crastinus had attracted some unwanted attention from the Thought Police.
“Work is something that none of us really want to do because we’d prefer to be doing something else. It’s a four letter word in our vocabulary and is associated with pain. You often put off the work so that you lessen the time that you actually have to do the task. Do you get up on Monday morning relishing the thought of going to work?” she asked.
“Not really but it’s something I have to do. I’d prefer to earn money doing something I enjoy.”
“How do you feel about Friday?”
“Now that’s a great day because the weekend is here.”
“Exactly. Like I said, procrastination is an emotional habit that you have learnt. That’s the same as work being something that you dislike whilst the weekend is something you enjoy. Procrastination is an attempt to cope with your emotional reactions.”
“What emotions are you talking about?”
“There are quite a few of them,” she said. “Fear of failure or success is the most likely emotion followed by anger, dislike of the work, depression and seeking pleasure.”
“What types of procrastinators have you profiled?”
“We’ve identified two main types of procrastinators, the tense-afraid and the relaxed pleasure seeking type, she continued. The tense-afraid type feels an intense pressure to succeed and a fear of failing whilst the relaxed pleasure seeking procrastinator views their responsibilities negatively. The relaxed type is easily frustrated and self indulgent preferring to meet their emotional needs of self esteem, approval by peers and love.”
“Are there any other types of procrastinators?”
“The tense-afraid procrastinator can be broken down into five different types. Two of my colleagues have identified six personality trait based procrastinators who are perfectionists, dreamers, worriers, defiers, crisis-makers and over-doers.”
I was just about to ask her for more details when her pager beeped.
She looked at it, finished her coffee and said; “Please excuse me but I have to go. I’m required at an interrogation at HQ. Det. Kronos has picked up a suspect.”
She’d left me with a lot to think about:
- Procrastination is a habit you learn
- It’s based on emotions and fear
- Procrastination is an escape from responsibility and reality
- There are two main types
- Relaxed, fun-loving procrastinators and
- Tense-worried procrastinators
- Your personality type helps define how you procrastinate
Procrastination is not the problem but rather an attempt to cure your emotional reasons, fears and self doubts.
If you want to stop procrastinating:
- You’ll need to determine whether you’re a tense or relaxed procrastinator.
- Then you’ll need to deal with your own emotions, thoughts and unconscious motives which cause you to avoid work.
This is not an easy job as habits are hard to change but I’d rather say it’s done than say I’ll get around to it.
I’ll see if Dr Homes can give me some practical tips on how to stop procrastinating.
Someday is not a day of the week.