The 4 Colors of Procrastination

January 6th, 2019

For as long as there have been things to do, people have found ways to not do them. But is it always procrastination or avoidance, or re-arranged priorities, or more thinking time to make it better?

At a recent seminar, a lady definitely thought her husband was procrastinating buying a new soap dispenser for their camper. It was on her to-do list, but hubby had been researching for three months. I’m thinking she wanted it off her list and hubby was tired of buying one every year that never lasted. Since it was the middle of winter, they really didn’t need one until spring. So, to me, it wasn’t procrastination, it was still research time.

The daughter of a friend was working on her thesis but hadn’t put a word on paper for months! Mom was getting pretty stressed for her, but didn’t consider that her Green daughter was likely spending every waking moment alone thinking about it in way more detail than an outline.

My Gold, when I’m writing a new book, has a fixed how-to-do-that way: 6 AM on the deck with my laptop. Don’t move until noon, and get at least x number of pages on paper – period. After about an hour, when I’m stuck, I start watching my cat play in the yard… Another hour and I HAVE to go for a walk and get a coffee…All the while I’m beating myself up that I’m not keeping my word. Yet, that half hour coffee trip is great thinking time when I come up with great ideas. As soon as I get back, I can write a number of pages because of it. (Us Golds need to put it on paper…Greens can formulate a lot more in their head…) That wouldn’t and shouldn’t apply to doing laundry or cleaning the house – that’s just “don’t want to do it” procrastination in my more black or white view.

Oranges will readily admit they’ll put something off that’s just too boring or tedious. Oh sure. They’ll get it done, but not until they absolutely have to. Until then, they’ll prioritize working on things that are a lot more challenging, rewarding, and enjoyable. I wish there was a way to track how many things on their Outlook get cut (from today) and pasted into “some other time” down the road. But putting something off and still getting it done by a fixed deadline isn’t really procrastination, is it? While I guess that depends on which Color is doing the judging, isn’t that just re-arranging priorities that are really none of anyone else’s business?

The core values for Blues are people and relationships. When others remember that, it makes perfect sense that they’ll change/delay/procrastinate anything else to make their friends, family, or people at work a priority! Instead of judging that, shouldn’t every other Colors be really grateful that they do? If not Blues, who else would come to our rescue, step in and help us, or just be there to listen? Seems pretty great to me! The one area where they will procrastinate as long as possible (and then some) is anything negative, or needing to deal with conflict. It’s a people issue, but it’s going to be very painful, so “if I just avoid it for another hour, day, until Monday…” maybe it’ll go away…. (Breaking news: It won’t…)

We tend to think of procrastination as anything we put off. Psychologists, however, have a more strict definition in that it needs to actually cause us harm, or problems, before it’s “officially” procrastination.

Different Colors, different ways, and very different reason for putting something off for another time – and VERY different judgments of us by other Colors! That’s why things will always go horribly wrong when we don’t understand each other.

When A Relationship Ends

January 6th, 2019

Hi George: Could you send me some (short Orange) notes about rejection in relationships? J

OK, J. here you go. You just need to remember it should read “often, commonly, usually, etc.,” and under that kind of stress (if it was more than just a two-date relationship) we often go into our second Color to deal with it!

Golds often make lifetime decisions based on one incident like getting in trouble at work, using their discretion and then getting in trouble over it, or the end of a relationshp. It can be super hard for them to work up the nerve to “risk” putting themselves in that situation again.

Greens are also hit very hard (but you won’t see it on their face or demeanor). It can send them “underground” for an extended period of time to process, re-live, and analyze all the “why” and “what happened.”

Blues take everything to heart. It may be a legitimate reason for the rejection, but they can blow it out of proportion and generalize it to feel that “nobody cares about me” – the frequent times when their only friend is comfort food to stuff their feelings. Or they immediately jump into another relationship in order to have somebody – anybody…

Maybe Oranges handle it best: So be it, move on, their loss… As Oranges tend to live in the here and now, they’re capable of blocking it out by the end of the week, and just get back on the horse again… But does that quick “over and done” leave them any lessons for next time? Can it sometimes be “get them before they get me?”

The Silent Treatment?

January 6th, 2019

A man and his wife were having some problems at home and were giving each other the silent treatment.

Suddenly the man realized that the next day he would need his wife to wake him at 5:00 AM for an early
morning business flight. Not wanting to be the first to break the silence (and LOSE), he wrote on a piece of paper, “Please wake me at 5:00 AM.” He left it where he knew she would find it.

The next morning the man woke up, only to discover it was 9:00 AM and he had missed his flight. Furious, he was about to go and see why his wife hadn’t wakened him when he noticed a piece of paper by the bed.
The paper said, “It is 5:00 AM. Wake up!!”

Greens might be the ‘best’ at startiing the silent treatment, but their other-Color partner can also think of ways to get even…

It’s also wise for the non-Green partner to avoid being the instigator of the silent treatment. To paraphrase an exchange from the Big Bang Theory: You get even with him, Amy! Give Sheldon the silent treatment! No! I did that once. He told me it was the most magical eight hours he’s ever spent with me.

That Intricate Dance of Gold Lies…

November 11th, 2018

It’s November, and approaching another season of get-togethers, parties, Christmas celebrations, and dinners.  So other Colors probably needs to understand how much coordinating it takes Golds to have everyone there on time. Yes, that’s the part that matters to Golds – sometimes more than the get-together or the celebration…

Dinner is really at 6:00, but Mom is always late. So we need to tell her it’s at 5:30, but then tell Dad, in confidence, that it’s really 6:00. One relative is chronically late so we tell him to be at our house by 6:30 AT THE LATEST, knowing he’ll be there by 7:30 and that’s when we want to actually start anyway…and so on and so on…

Many Golds think that these kind of white lies are necessary to keep their stress level down because others…well, they’re not big with the “on-time” thing. Not to mention the fights it can cause in relationships meeting others for dinner when the Gold partner just doesn’t see why’re being ordered to be ready at 6:22 SHARP. (Newsflash: Consciously, or subconsciously, the non-Gold partner will often rebel in many different ways…)

Since you’ve spent a long time already trying to make others in your life more Gold without any success, and at the expense of your stress, how about trying something different?

-A party doesn’t have a fixed start time – honestly. So give yourself permission to get there…whenever…

-If it’s a dinner and your partner isn’t ready, give them lots of notice that you need to be there on time, and you two may have to take different vehicles. You’re leaving at a certain time and your partner may have to take an Uber and meet you there.

-And if the dinner is at your house, take the place setting away for someone who isn’t there, start your dinner party, and enjoy yourself by focusing on who IS there. When the other person shows up, they can grab their setting and catch up – or not… Their procrastination isn’t going to be your stress, and you’re not focusing exclusively on the empty seat and setting!

That last point is something I constantly have to deal with at the start of a seminar. 38 people are there, and the manager or director asks me to wait 10 more minutes for two missing people. Since he or she hasn’t done Colors, I don’t have a choice as it’s their team. If that person already knows Colors, I remind them that 38 people ARE in the room and ready to start. Why on earth would we punish those people, and teach 38 of them that 9:00 am actually means 9:10 am for every staff function from now on?

Two Green Parents – Two Blue Kids

November 11th, 2018

Hi George! Thanks for sending me the Parent & Child book. After your seminar I’ve had lots of interesting conversations with my family and coworkers. I’ve mulled over the book (as any Green would) and this is what I see in my children:

The oldest is an Orange 12 year old boy. The playing to win attitude is strong and drives his love for athletics. He needs constant activities, nd can focus when his body is active and being challenged. Orange is my lowest Color, and the seminar was eye-opening to what is going on in his mind. He needs some freedom from us, and to have accomplishments in small quick wins.

The second oldest is an 11 year old Blue girl. She is always thinking of others’ feelings and quick to take care of her younger siblings. She says she is too old for cuddles, but she needs quality time spent with her parents, and for us to listen to her with eye contact and welcoming (non Green) faces!

The third is a five year old Blue boy. He loves to be cuddled, and can often have hurt feelings when there’s a misunderstanding on the playground or when someone isn’t “nice.” He needs his physical touch and time spent reading and talking together without us being distracted doing other things.

The baby of the family isn’t quite two yet. It’s hard to tell what Color she is…but she’s adventurous and wants to climb maybe an Orange…   KP

Can We Be Orange Without the Score to Prove It?

November 11th, 2018

Hi George: I am high Green/Gold AND people have often pointed out that I seem to be very Orange. How could that be? After everything is taken care of properly, I can relax and be silly – but how can I be “high” Orange but not verbal and disorganized?

I can laugh, but for a lot of years, during difficult times, I don’t remember laughing.  As a matter of fact, that is one reason that I married my husband – I noticed that I was laughing around him. So, what do you think? I do love me and think that I am pretty well rounded.”

Hello Green/Gold buddy: If you’re looking for definitive answers – you’re out of luck, because Colors isn’t a math thing, or an exact science. It sounds like you’re confused, when you should be happy, instead. Are you wondering if you HAVE to be a certain way because your score has defined you? Are you kidding? You’re all four Colors, whether that’s by score or behavior. After all, there’s a time and a place for everything, isn’t there? Plus, our behaviors are not our Colors.

You’re not “losing” your Green or Gold, and maybe the Orange isn’t and won’t be reflected in your score, but there’s a lot of ways to be Orange. Just like there are lots of ways to show your blue caring and compassion. If you can embrace and grow your “orangeness” you’re well on the way!

Right now, your fun is “earned” after the work is done, as is the case for Golds. You’ve learned to laugh again, not to take things so seriously, or to worry about everything. Pick your spots, ease up on the hundreds of rules you have, know when perfect is important, and when “good enough” really is good enough. Remember that there are four different definitions of organized and that “whatever” sometimes is a great answer the times you get so worked up about silly stuff in the big picture of life.

You’ve had a huge Orange deficiency for years – it’s great that you’re “back” and make sure your husband gets the recognition and rewards for helping you with that!

Oranges are always looking for a few good people to join them! The tools of Colors are like a buffet. You don’t have to take everything – you pick what you want! That’s how we grow, become coachable and learn. I would also be nice if your Green could re-think the labeling of Oranges, and your Gold could take them off the Orange judgment list.