Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Procrastinating 101: What Type Are You?

As a late-life student of Buddhism, I have continually encountered the almost reflexive reliance on numbers to order our understanding.  thezensite's Buddhism by Numbers provides a chart which identifies "approximately" 215 taxonomies, ranging from the "2 attachments, " to the "4 noble truths," to the "32 marks of perfection" of the Buddha.  

I am willing to accept the author's assertion that this use of numbering 
throughout Buddhist literature reflect[s] the cultural propensities of India, Tibet, China, Japan and the other countries where Buddhism took root and developed. 
But I have seen this practice elsewhere.  In academia, in women's magazines, and yes, in the blogosphere, we are surrounded by "7 ways of knowing" (multiple intelligences); "12 ways to ward off diabetes;" "50 ways to leave your lover."  And as much as I love numbers--and I do, really, which I know makes me weird--the agnostic in me recoils from the finite nature of these ubiquitous lists.  I am especially bothered when the listers/typologizers use the definite article "the" in front of such pronouncements.

So, of course, I had to pick up Dr. Linda Sapadin's book, It's About Time:  The 6 Styles of Procrastination and How to Overcome Them.  Having read the introductory chapter, in which she identifies "the 6 styles," I suspect that getting hung up about the number thing may, in fact, be a symptom of my tendency to procrastinate.  So, putting aside my quarrel with the set-in-concrete quality of the approach, I am reading sympathetically and trying to learn what I can.

Dr. Sapadin posits these 6 styles which she says characterize the chronic procrastinator:  the Perfectionist; the Dreamer; the Worrier; the Defier; the Crisis-Maker; and the Overdoer.  For those of us who have fallen into the pit of putting things off, it is not enough, she says, to just work on "getting organized."  Rather, it is important to understand how and why we procrastinate in order to change this behavioral habit.  

The styles are not discrete, but can coexist in an individual.  The first chapter concludes with six self-assessments to be used in identifying the reader's "major and minor styles."  And although I have thus far avoided the popular Facebook quizzes which would tell me what rock star I most resemble, what Greek god I am, and which 80s song describes me, I knew I needed to do these.  

My "results?"  First of all, I have five major styles, with scores of 10 or more:  Perfectionist (no surprise); Dreamer; Worrier; Crisis-Maker; and Overdoer.  Most surprising to me was that my two highest scores were, respectively, in the Overdoer category (17) and the Dreamer category (15).  Perfectionist and Crisis-Maker were tied with 11 each.  Worrier just made it into the major styles column with 10.  

Overall, I guess I have a fairly entrenched penchant to procrastinate.  Unfortunately, my profile means that I am going to have to read closely most of the rest of the book to figure out what to do about it.  At least, according to this source.  One, merely, of the 39 sources in our library system on the subject.

If you're interested in your own procrastination fingerprint, and "can't get around to" reading the book, you can take a mini-quiz online.

No comments:

Post a Comment