Home > January 2019 > The 4 Colors of Procrastination

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.

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