Is Your Procrastination Style Working For You?

Is Your Procrastination Style Working For You by Rebecca Shafir, M.A.CCC Personal Development and Executive Functioning coach at the Hallowell Center MetroWest

I bet you thought I was going to curse procrastination in this blog. Au contraire!  Not all procrastination is bad. As a matter of fact, putting off a major undertaking may give you time to consider the risks. On the other hand, you may have a style of procrastination that works very well for you. According to Mary Lamia in her book What Motivates Getting Things Done, procrastination is a problem when styles collide or when the deadlines are missed or met with unreasonable stress.

The Difference Between Good and Bad Stress

Before I talk about different styles of procrastination, let’s clarify the difference between good and bad stress. Good stress is excitement or intense curiosity, like the jitters you may experience before doing a talk. Bad stress is anxiety provoking, panicky, self-sabotaging and physiologically unhealthy for us and those around us.

Lamia distinguishes between Deadline-Driven and Task-Driven procrastination styles, DDPs and TDPs respectively. DDPs note the deadline and begin mentally planning the task in spurts without taking any overt action. They may let the idea incubate for several days and weeks. Come the last day, it all comes together. Many successful DDPs report a surge of “good stress” and a heightened state of focus within hours of the deadline. They often deliver their best work under pressure. If you’re DDP, and the fallout doesn’t take a toll on your health or the well-being of those around you, it’s a safe and effective strategy, so go with it.

TDPs will start tasks almost immediately, but not complete the tasks until later. They may be perfectionistic and postpone task completion until it meets a high level of quality. These folks have a hard time being satisfied with “good enough.” Yet the successful TDPs will manage many tasks at once and eventually meet their deadlines with a minimal amount of bad stress.

Since procrastination, the bad stress variety, is such a common complaint, I find it easier to help my clients become more efficient within a style that suits them versus trying to switch horses. It’s also good advice to share your style for meeting deadlines with co-workers and partners, as both styles can be unnerving to the non-procrastinator.

Would you like to make your style of procrastination more efficient or rid yourself of procrastination for good? Happy to help! Contact me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com     

ADHD and Marriage Advice from the Hallowells

In this Distraction Podcast, you’ll get ADHD and Marriage Advice from the Hallowells. Since Distraction is taking a mini break before we start Season 3, they’re re-airing a few of our favorite episodes. So if you missed my podcast with my wife Sue on ADHD, you can listen to it HERE!

Sue doesn’t hold back and gives you a clear picture of what it’s like to be the only one in our house without ADHD.  You can watch this  YouTube video for a “behind the scenes view of this episode.”

CLICK HERE for more tips on managing ADHD and Marriage.

Relationships plagued by misunderstandings, anger, frustration and hurt are challenging.  Those challenges are amplified when one or both members have ADHD or other mental health/addiction issues. ADHD, in particular, presents some unique challenges. Such as, when ADHD has not been diagnosed or when the couple does not understand how it impacts the relationship.

Dr. Hallowell offers a number of ways to learn how to thrive in relationships affected by ADHD. All of the Hallowell Centers offer ADHD counseling for couples affected by ADHD. Counseling may include treatment of ADHD, depression, anxiety and other issues. Likewise, therapy may be centered on developing strategies for improving the interactions between partners.

Dr. Hallowell and his wife Sue co-authored “Married to Distraction: Restoring Intimacy and Strengthening Your Marriage”, which deals with how to keep distraction from hurting your marriage.

The New Refrain

There’s a new refrain I’m hearing more and more everywhere I go.  It used to be, “I’m so upset, I don’t know what to do.”  But that’s just not sustainable.  You can only be so upset you don’t know what to do for so long. Then you need to figure out something to do.  And that’s become the new refrain.

What I hear more and more, everywhere I go, is this:  “I’ve decided I’m going to focus my energy and my talent and my resources on what I can control. I’m going to let the rest go hang,” or words to that effect.  In addition, “I’m going to work on what I can actually change myself, or help a team to change, and let the rest be damned,” or words to that effect.  Finally, “I’m going to stop being so upset by what I can’t control and start taking satisfaction in working on what I can control.”

That’s the new refrain.  That’s the conclusion more and more people tell me they’ve reached, everywhere I go.

Why It Makes A Lot of Sense

It makes a lot of sense.  One way to die young, or get sick soon, is to worry yourself silly over all the things you can’t control, and these days we have more than life’s usual array of scoundrels, thieves, charlatans, and popinjays who’d steal us away from the meaningful tasks and pleasures we can actually regulate and develop ourselves.  They would abscond with our minds, if we’d let them, and lately we’ve been letting them, many of us have at least, myself included.

Which is why I am joining the refrain.  I intend to embrace, work on, advance, and sweat over what I can stand a chance of controlling or at least significantly influencing myself.  Then, I will do my very damnedest to ignore the most diverting sideshow this country has ever seen.

Stop Getting Distracted By The Sideshow

If I am going to get work done, if I am going to have fun, I’ve got to stop getting distracted by the sideshow, because it’s becoming the main show.  For us with ADHD, this is a teaching moment, as the new jargon puts it.  People like me can take a lesson and learn how to focus on what matters. We need to stop getting distracted by what is enormously entertaining and seems to matter a hell of a lot, but over which I, at least, have zero control.

Getting Back To Work

I have to get back to work. Need to get back to:

  • to this note;
  • and my books;
  • let’s not forget my patients;
  • and my talks;
  • also need to grow my clinics,
  • to spreading my strength-based message; and, of course to
  • having fun with my wife and our kids and our friends.

I bet you have really interesting stuff to get back to as well.  As incredibly diverting as the sideshow is, produced by masters of entertainment and PR, we have to seize this teaching moment and discipline ourselves to get back to tending to what we can significantly influence and control.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not saying don’t vote.  For goodness sake, vote!  Every citizen should vote if he or she wants to call him or herself a citizen.

But at the same time, live the life that adds the most to this world.  Live the life not of a spectator, but of a do-er, a creator, a builder.

Enough of the feeling miserable, ok?  Let’s do something positive every day.