Purposes in Procrastination

Kathy Kolbe and the Dynamynd team come together and discuss procrastination. We all do it and we all do it differently. Today we talk about the many ways that people procrastinate based on their Modus Operandi.

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Bret 0:04

Perfectly obstinate people with Kathy Kolbe be share stories of resilience, persistence and defiance Kathy Kolbe has empowered millions to trust their guts. Now Kathy empowers you to be you. In this episode Kathy of the dynamite team take on the issue of procrastination.


Kathy Kolbe 0:23

So called experts are saying that procrastination is a sign of ADHD. Well, that’s a lot of bull. We all procrastinate every single one of us procrastinate. The person who wrote that procrastinate, I guarantee you, all of us procrastinate. We do it for different reasons, depending upon the situation and our natural inclinations, our cognitive or instinct based reactions to things. Nicole, you are an initiating follow through. Can you give me an example of when you might have procrastinated?


Nicole Loucks 1:03

I tend to procrastinate when starting something brand new. If I already had a lot of things on my plate that hadn’t been, you know, the loose ends hadn’t been tied up. So if I had a lot of things going, still a lot of things I needed to finish, I would tend to procrastinate anything new that I needed to start.


Kathy Kolbe 1:21

Oh, boy, have I seen you do that? Yeah. Which is interesting and are working together because we collaborate very well. I keep throwing new things, oh, my new idea. And you look at me very politely and you smile, and you say good. And you take a note and you say I’ll get to that one. You, you are so absolutely appropriate in your sense of humor, and in your response to me because you won’t do it right away, you will resist doing it right away because your follow through. Because you’re also tell him your Quick Start number.


Nicole Loucks 1:57

I’m a two and Quick Start.


Kathy Kolbe 1:59

So that means you naturally counteract or resist doing things on the spur of the moment or something just to see what will happen. Whereas I come up with it. Let’s try this. Let’s do that. And you don’t say no, you just don’t do it for a long time. And that that long time will be when you’re done with the things you said you would do so for you. When you tell me you’re going to finish your project. That’s a guarantee. That’s a promise. And you will put your cognitive or my term for for mental energy into getting those things done that are on your list, but I sure do see you procrastinate. I don’t remember saying to stop procrastinating because you don’t say stop procrastinating. Don’t do that to people, because it’s a part of your natural defense, Nicole, right?


Nicole Loucks 2:47

Yes. If I didn’t procrastinate, I’d have a million things on my plate. And I’d be so overwhelmed and taken so out of my game that I wouldn’t be productive at all.


Kathy Kolbe 2:56

I can see us kind of shriveling up into going into a kind of a fetal position. Yeah, it would not be pretty. And as it is, you’re so pretty. And the way you handle it, I just love to laugh and the smile. And she perhaps tonight’s show, there’s another difference that comes with a person who leads mentally with a need for organization structure. So systems design, categorizing, when you need all of that, before you can make a decision is not procrastination while you’re creating the system. And to your point, it’s once that person who has a need, has fulfilled that need and then sits there and says, Oh, I have all this lovely, everything designed, everything is in order. I’ve seen people do this when they move into a new home and they have all the walls painted and everything’s immaculate, and they have all the closets with all the stuff have sorted through. And then they sit there and say, but I just don’t know what chair to buy for this missing space in the living room. Or I don’t know which book I should purchase for this course or whatever it is, I don’t know where we should go on vacation. It can be because that’s not part of the system that’s outside the system. It’s a decision that may disrupt the process. And rather than just jump in and say, Okay, I’ll pick this one, or I’ll do that they will hold off on making a decision because they can never be quite sure of how it’s going to play out. And if you don’t know what the end game is, it’s really hard for an organized person to make a decision. Now for people who need a lot of information and have a natural inclination to strive. Only when they have enough background in detail in history. The problem is making a decision before they have the evidence before they feel fully informed. And they will procrastinate for quite a long time. Imagine asking your Dad, can we have the keys to the car? And then that procrastinate saying Well, I don’t know. It depends upon who else needs it. It depends upon if you’ve got your homework done, it depends. But for the person who has a lot of this definite need for the details around it, it can take quite a while to make a decision and that feels to other people. Like you’re just procrastinate. When in fact, it may not be that you’re just procrastinating it may be you’re just being you if you do that. Sterling is sitting on the other side of me here. Sterling initiates In Fact Finder and Quick Start. So first, we can hear his fact finders strategy. And then we might hear the Quick Start come in as his next mode. They’re both initiating, they’re both things he will start doing with a project. When do you procrastinate?


Sterling Loucks 6:14

I strategically procrastinate.


Kathy Kolbe 6:17

And for those of you listening, that is funny, by the way. So say again,


Sterling Loucks 6:21

so I strategically procrastinate. I can think of one example when I was in high school, and we had final exam for a history class that I strategically figured out. Okay, this is how the tests have been throughout the semester. So I’m going to study with my friend at the last minute. And we’re going to, you know, follow the same kind of pattern of what these other ones have been like. And I ended up getting 100%. And the teacher was like You must have studied for a long time. And I did it all at the last minute because I figured out this strategy,


Kathy Kolbe 6:54

you strategically figured out how to do it as a quick start, because the Quick Start procrastinating until the last minute, but you’re using your Fact Finder language. So you go into Fact Finder where they use words, like strategy, and I figured out the priorities. And I, you didn’t do a lot of that with me, you pretty much went right into your Quick Start. But you had a strategy to use your Quick Start and not do it until the last minute. So that’s a really funny one, because you were able to use both of your strikes. What do you suppose a Fact Finder? How do these guys and they’re the ones who tell us don’t procrastinate but they do. How do they do is like


Sterling Loucks 7:38

as an initiating Fact Finder, you need all the information, they need just copious amounts of data to make a decision. And so because of that, they will procrastinate making a decision until they feel they have sufficient


Kathy Kolbe 7:52

one of Fact Finder is procrastinating, I would put it this way if they don’t. And you’re saying after you added in the epic, if they don’t have the details to support what it is that they need to know. So cognitively or that they feel they need to know adding both cognitive and effective, then they will wait and get more and more information, which is why they dig deeper and deeper and deeper. I don’t want to put words in your mouth. I don’t know if this is true, you would normally make a decision as rapidly as we do in a team. Because you would seek greater data so that there’s greater certain day, you would go further out and the decimal points, the probability of success of that decision is and you want it to be a very, very high probability. Am I saying that in a way that resonates with you?


Sterling Loucks 8:50

Yeah, in the nature of this conversation, I would procrastinate making a decision until I had as much data as possible to make the most informed decision as far as the priorities and the pros and cons. So I agree 100%.


Kathy Kolbe 9:03

Sometimes you just never get a clear answer. And so the procrastination is the part of the person who needs that clear. The facts line up one way or the other. And so it seems like they just don’t decide, well, eventually, when they do decide, it’s a very informed decision. Quick sides procrastinate, and it’s very unnerving to the people around them, because let’s just make a decision. Come on. I mean, you’re good at this, just pick one, when a quick side steps back and says, I’m not going to make a decision, or you can’t push me into it. It’s usually because they have this sense of almost an ominous conclusion could happen. That is their instincts are telling them stay away or your it’s not ready. It’s not cooked as don’t serve it yet. I’ve made the wrong decision by listening to popcorn pop and thinking about kids slow down. But there might be a little bit more I procrastinate and the whole darn thing gets burnt. It’s for quick start. The problem is, we pick up clues that aren’t necessarily correct, or taught, or it’s our common sense. It’s our intuition. It’s, it’s what we sort of kind of figured out. But if we haven’t made a study of the popcorn, we could be wrong, and we live with the result. But because we’ve lived with the result of moving too fast, there are times when we will intentionally slow down and procrastinate because we’re not sure our instincts aren’t clear on it. Or we haven’t paid attention to the signals. I have never gained expertise and all the popcorn I’ve cooked about exactly how slow the let it go before I grab it and take it off the stove. I don’t ever intend to gain that expertise, because close enough is good enough. Well, that’s so often true with a quick start, who doesn’t also have this fact finding that we procrastinate less often. But we’ve learned that at our own peril. And that’s when the cognitive kicks in and says You better stop, wait, and watch it play out. When we do that. We’re not having a good time, and we’re not being really true to ourselves. So it’s a tough thing for a quick start to procrastinate. Since you and I both have a similar instinctive makeup where we’re driven by deadlines, we’re driven by the sense of urgency, we need to do it fast. Or we can we’ll wait until there’s time, which or rarely is so we linger, we procrastinate. And that doesn’t get done. But we’re great on deadlines. As soon as someone says, oh, hurry, quick crisis, we got to do it. It’s okay, I’m all in.


Bret 12:05

But I think outside observers who don’t share that quick start, I think they perceive what they think is procrastination when it’s really about keeping options open. Because quick starts will keep the game in play, if you will, and keep looking at opportunities and options until they’re forced to make a decision by time or by deadline or some something will force it. And it looks like procrastination when it’s really about trying to get the best possible outcome by waiting until you really have to choose from the many alternatives you’ve been considering,


Kathy Kolbe 12:42

Oh, I love that. Options, Options, Options ever free kicks are those options. And we will procrastinate when we don’t have them. So if you try to box in a quick start, and you say you want this or you want that they may procrastinate for a long time, because you knew I’m really give them enough options. And there, they almost do a tap dance trying to figure out look around in the back behind the door or inside a different box or what’s underneath there. Because that’s very unsatisfying to quick start to have to choose Plan A or plan B, that trying to make up a plan C. Okay, we


Bret 13:19

haven’t talked about about implement. And those are people who deal with the world in a physical way, the physical world, those who initiate and implement are our hands on oriented makers, I do lead there, I procrastinate when, like, I can tell you I am forecasting on a project right now. And that’s that I don’t have the proper tool. And I’ve been waiting till I could decide what the best one for my purposes is, and then get the proper tool because I could do it by kind of cobbling something together. But I don’t that for me, I want the right tool for this particular job. So I’m going to wait until I have it.


Kathy Kolbe 13:58

You need it as it’s not an effective one, that’s an overlay the effect for you, at the very heart of it is a need, you just absolutely need to have quality tools. And if you don’t have them, you’ll procrastinate because you can’t do the job that you need to do the way you need to do it. If I were putting something together, and it says, hold this until the glue has dried. I don’t think I’ve ever followed the rule. It’s like watching grass grow, I’m not gonna I try to jury rig something that will hold it together invariably doesn’t work I’ve used taped, I’ve used Oh, I’ve tried everything book to hold things together until they dry. Now I know. I would procrastinate when it says that not glue it together but figure out something other than glue to us. Because glue is not in my nature, I will find other tools, I will find other methods. They don’t for me that it doesn’t have to be quality because I don’t have as much of this natural inclination to use tools and implements I just want to get it done. But I will procrastinate doing something until I’ve figured out how to use my faster tools. So in a way, it slows me down that I won’t wait to do it right. So sometimes the procrastination is just silliness. Because in the long run, it doesn’t help you but it’s who you are. And you’ll do it with quality. And I’ll do it with close enough is good enough.


Bret 15:32

I’ll also procrastinate if I don’t believe my skill level is good enough that I’ll have a quality product. And I can’t bring myself to do something that I’m not satisfied with in terms of the quality of it. And so that’s that’s a real tough one. Because means I have to go out and have someone show me how to do it right, or I have to find some way to sort of develop the skill level necessary to do it right to do it for this project. So there will be a project that I want to do. And I’ll do some projects that are a lower priority, I guess you would say, in order to develop some skills that I’m going to need for the one that I really want to want to do.


Kathy Kolbe 16:12

I mean, they’re they’re kind of three reasons to procrastinate, because you don’t know what the heck you would do, you don’t have the skills or the knowledge, cuz you don’t really feel like it and you’re not into it. And because you’re too tired to do it. Well. Those are good reasons to procrastinate. Now, it’s not a good reason to procrastinate just because you don’t want to work hard, just because you don’t want to use your brain to do that. But I think procrastination is almost a tool that people are afraid to use or say they’re using on purpose. Yet we purposefully do it a lot of times because we really aren’t ready. It’s for those initial reasons. procrastinate, whenever I just don’t feel I have the right answer or I don’t know enough or it was me I’m so intuitive. My intuition isn’t telling me what to do with the answer. So I will do nothing when nothing works. And that’s one of my main rules for trusting your instincts. So doing nothing, because nothing works is intentional procrastination.


Bret 17:27

Another example in the classroom, a whole lot of students and I think adults do the same thing. I’m certain they do the same thing is that you procrastinate when it’s hoop jumping, when it’s doing something that’s a requirement that you don’t perceive is valuable, because it’s not going to take you where you want to go. And so a lot of students will procrastinate and they’ll begrudgingly do something at the last minute of low quality, because it wasn’t perceived as a valuable exercise in their mind.


Kathy Kolbe 17:55

Thank think how many people don’t go to the doctor, when they have a seminar. They procrastinate. I don’t want to go to the doctor. That’s a very strong effect. That’s a fear of what you might find out. Many, many people will procrastinate going to the desk doctor, they’ll procrastinate asking a question where they’re afraid. They’ll get no for an answer. I can’t stand all these dramas where you see they’re in love, but neither one will say they’re in love. They’re procrastinating. What waiting for the other person to say it first or whatever. Well, I get that that is good drama, but in life, waiting to ask a question out of fear, whether its medical, or its emotional or whatever. That is not a good use of procrastination. It’s really hard to distinguish between procrastination as a negative behavior, meaning you just can’t decide to a positive action because you’re not ready to decide. That’s the effect. People want somehow to make procrastination negative. I think it’s because it’s been said and negative Oh, you’re just procrastinating as if that’s bad, will take off the word just, you are procrastinating. And that’s okay. If you say you’re just doing it, it minimizes it as being okay and kind of pathologies it and say, well, that’s bad, you’re having trouble being decisive? Well, one way to be decisive is decide not to the side. And if you have an emotional reaction that says, Well, I can’t do that, because I look bad, or because that’s not healthy or good or be appreciated. Keep in mind, many, many people have been saved from disasters, because they didn’t jump in the water because they didn’t do something that would have been alarming and precipitous, would have caused a problem there, wait and see attitude might have really saved the day. And if you’re calling as a pathology, you better be very sure that you know coronation. And understand that before you say that, or your ignorance is going to harm people. That’s a strong statement. But I’ll stand by it.


Bret 20:20

Before we ever started this podcast, we really had to look at what do we mean by absence and perfectly to be perfectly obstinate. And what we came up with was an effect of reasons for being obstinate aren’t not necessarily perfect reasons. But the cognitive reason so in other words, to keep yourself in your game, being able to behave in a way that is natural for you that is in line with what you your natural instincts. When you’re obstinate, to stay in your game, that’s being perfectly obstinate.


Kathy Kolbe 20:53

Yeah, I think a lot of times, the problem with the word procrastination is people don’t see themselves doing it, we see other people doing it. So it’s a judgment of another person’s procrastinating when we need or want them to do something. So by observation or by need, we believe that other people procrastinate in a negative way. Like they can’t make up their mind and they’re just wasting time. And that’s why it has so much negativity. For us. Personally, I think very few people truly abuse the ability and need to procrastinate, but I don’t know that we’re very consciously thinking, Oh, I want to procrastinate and not do that. I don’t think that’s a self message. But I think it would be a very positive self message to say, I need to procrastinate. I need to be obstinate about doing it when it just doesn’t work for me to jump in and do it. Think Let’s be perfectly obstinate and procrastinate when we need to. So go ahead, do nothing when nothing works.


Bret 21:58

Thanks for listening to perfect, clean, obstinate people with Kathy Colby. Make sure you subscribe today so you don’t miss an episode. It’s easy 100% free and 100% Kathy visit perfectly obstinate.com for more. That’s perfectly obstinate.com




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