Thursday, August 07, 2008

What is Your Procrastination Style?

I admit it – I am a professional procrastinator. I feel that I am probably better than most people at putting things off. Some of the things I’ve been putting off include taking a vacation (4 years), going to the dentist (4 years), getting my eyes checked (at least 5 years), getting in touch with old friends, flirting with that beautiful woman on the train, taking the cooking class I have been curious about, etc. You get the idea.

Recently, a few of these things I have put off came to a head in my life. Last weekend, I went on vacation and visited New York City for the first time in my life. I had an incredible time with a great friend of mine. Before my trip, one of my molars cracked. I have set up an appointment to visit my dentist this Saturday. While I do not look forward to this, I know it is necessary to make an appointment. I came to the realization this evening that I am beginning to confront a couple things that I have been putting off (vacation, dentist). What I am hoping is that by taking action on these things, I will begin to get a little unstuck in my life.

In the past when I have taken action on things I have put off, I regretted this avoidance. Almost ten years ago, I learned about Toastmasters from a group of people I met at a networking event. While I was always intrigued about improving my public speaking skills, I never went to a meeting. Five years later I got laid off from a job I liked. About a month and a half later, I finally went to my first Toastmasters meeting. I was hooked! I confronted my fear of public speaking. Today, I continue to see improvement in my speaking skills and confidence as I work to become a better speaker and leader. My biggest regret: not joining Toastmasters earlier.

According to Dr. Linda Sepadin, there are six styles: Perfectionist, Dreamer, Worrier, Defier, Crisis-Maker and Over-Doer. I guess you could say that I am a combination of a few of those styles. Sometimes my need for perfection stops me in my tracks from starting; other times, I am a dreamer and I am vague about what I need/want to do; I am also a worrier and sometimes I let my fears prevent me from moving forward (e.g. I worry that my dentist will find more cavities so by avoiding him, he can’t).
I will say this is not logical thinking. I hope to confront my procrastination in the next few months. I will start by taking small steps to move forward. By doing this, the small steps will, I hope, add up to big progress. At work, we are going to soon discuss “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. Not surprisingly, I procrastinate at organizing my paperwork. I hope these steps will help me to move forward in several areas of my life. So, what is your procrastination style?


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Andrew - Six Minutes Public Speaking Blog said...

I can relate, Tim.

After being encouraged to join Toastmasters 13 years ago, I finally joined about 3.5 years ago. Like you, I wish I had joined sooner. Setting goals and achieving them in Toastmasters has paralleled goals and achievements in other aspects of my life, and I couldn't be happier.