Procrastination is a time monster that we all must deal with. From putting off doing the bills to studying for a test to actually addressing conflicts with the boss — all of us find ourselves postponing the inevitable at one point or another. But is all procrastination the same? Does it always serve the same goal? How does your personality fit with your own, personal "art" of procrastination?
A recent study in Turkey looked at three different kinds of procrastinators: indecisive procrastinators, avoidant procrastinators and arousal procrastinators. Indecisive procrastinators simply cannot make up their minds. They are faced with too many choices and have difficulty selecting the one that is best for them. As a result, they postpone choosing to a much later time. Days, weeks and years go by in ambivalence, inaction and a lack of accomplishment.
Avoidant procrastinators can't face the tasks they have to do, so they avoid doing them at all costs. Need to have a difficult conversation with a friend or spouse? Avoid. Need to take a look at your debt so you can do debt planning? Avoid. Need to walk past the ever-growing pile of laundry? Avoid. Avoidance procrastinators do whatever they can not to do unpleasant things. Stress Management: Balancing Work And Love
Then there are arousal procrastinators. They postpone things to the very last minute so that they will, in fact, get them done (guilty!). Why start neatening up the house when your relatives are coming in two weeks? They'd rather wait util the day before because they'll feel like they're actually do something. Why start studying for a test three months before, when you can start a week before, and not waste your time staring at the wall? Avoidance procrastinators are adrenaline junkies who put things off to the last minute, so that they can harness the motivation of panic.
What causes each of these types of procrastination? Indecisive procrastinators fear commitment to a choice because of the loss of other choices. So, they try to prevent the loss as much as they can. Also, the commitment to a choice is threatening because there is the pressure to "perform" once the choice is made.
Avoidant procrastinators are usually filled with fear about the prospect of having to do something, so they do whatever they can to build up the courage they need. For avoidance procrastinators, looking forward to the task is like looking forward to a bikini wax.
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