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

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Procrastinating 101: The Rule of Three For Rule Breakers

This week's  Procrastinating 101 deals with "Cure Six:  Play by the Rules" from Diana De Lonzor's Never Be Late Again:  7 Cures for the Punctually Challenged.  In this chapter, Ms. DeLonzor explores the lateness issues of those individuals who fit her Rebel label.  If my husband had a problem with lateness (besides the challenge of hanging with a latenik spouse), this would be him.

To begin with, it is curious to me that a treatment of the rule-averse would be so strongly governed by the "rule of three"--according to Wikipedia
a principle in writing that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things. The reader/audience of this form of text is also more likely to consume information if it is written in groups of threes. From slogans ("Go, fight, win!") to films, many things are structured in threes. Examples include The Three Stooges, Three Little Pigs, Three Billy Goats Gruff, Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Three Blind Mice.
In Ms. DeLonzor's case, we have, not goats, stooges, or blind mice (see, I used three examples!), but rather:
three underlying motivations for the Rebel's lateness;
  • The desire to feel powerful  [DeLonzor calls this type "Power Players."]
  • Difficulty accepting authority ["Authority Resistors," in DeLonzor's parlance.]
  • The need to feel special or unique [DeLonzor's "Special Seekers."]
three common characteristics, shared by these three types;
  • Unlike those in other tardy categories, rebels often feel little remorse.
  • More men than women seem to populate this category.
  • This species of late people seems to have the ability to control their lateness more than do other tardy types.
and three steps for overcoming Rebel lateness;
  • Become aware of when and why you rebel
  • Learn that cooperation is a part of everyday life
  • Find control and power in more constructive ways
Sticking with this theoretically pleasing motif, I identified three exercises from DeLonzor's list of ten which I plan to explore, given that my husband's Rebel nature may have rubbed off a bit on me.

The first of these involves recognizing our rebellions, and looking for patterns.  (I expect I might find that I am most likely to rebel when I have said "yes" though I wanted to say "no.")

The second consists of practicing periods of cooperation--just to get the hang of it.  (I can see how this might be useful in my relationship with my husband, for example.  Though I wouldn't want to take it too far, of course.)

And the third focuses on building a unique identity around accomplishments, rather than flakiness and lateness.  (But I can still dress "artistically," right?)

Of course, if you are a Rebel latenik, you will find more compelling detail, and some great stories, in Ms. DeLonzor's book.  Unless you refuse to go there.

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