Procrastination: the curse of the Perceiver

I’m supposed to be writing a résumé for a customer but instead am sitting at Panera Bread at 8:30 pm checking my e-mail. After I check my e-mail, I’ll go to LinkedIn to see what my connections are up to. Most of my connections are connecting with others, some are posting articles, and others are  joining groups.

So I check if any of the articles are interesting. Cool, one of my connections  posted an article on…procrastination. Gotta check this out for sure. I read it and it’s a great article on how procrastination is not a desirable trait but not the end of the world.

One take-away for me is that one must avoid perfectionism, something I truly detest. I mean, if you can complete a task in one hour rather than three, all the better, even if the quality isn’t the best it possibly can be.

Another statement the author makes is that one’s way of not doing the important thing is to do something else. Like reading instead of completing their expense report before it’s due. In my case it’s perusing my e-mails instead of tending to this darn résumé I’m supposed to be writing.

My daughter recently took the MBTI for a psychology class she’ll be taking. She came out as an ENFP. When she told me, I told her she’s screwed. Why, Perceivers often tend to procrastinate even though they end up getting their work done. My wife and I are still waiting for her to complete a project she could have crossed off the list at the beginning of the summer. She’s a procrastinator for sure.

I often tell my MBTI workshop attendees that two very important dichotomies are Judging and Procrastinating…I mean Perceiving. Although we try to avoid harping on the stereotypes of each dichotomy, it is important to note that those who prefer Perceiving can have the tendency to procrastinate.

What this means in the job search is that Perceivers tend to produce and deliver their résumé, cover letter, and application later than those who prefer Judging. Those Judgers would never be turning to Twitter when they’re supposed to be writing a résumé. In some cases a Perceiver might fail to send in the necessary information and, thus, lose out on a potential interview.

I know for sure that the more demanding and more undesirable the work I have to do, the more I’ll tend to put it off till the 11th hour. I’m not racked with anxiety but, as you can tell, I am a bit uncomfortable having this assignment hanging over my head. So why don’t I just finish writing the résumé now, instead of waiting till the last moment? (Read this article about how difficult it is to “flex” between Perceiving and Judging.”

I’m much better at giving advice than following it. So I tell jobseekers who are having difficulty getting their résumé written to perfection to send in their best work when a deadline is looming. It doesn’t have to be perfect (because perfection doesn’t exist); it’s more important to get it in than miss the deadline.

The Judging types don’t understand this conundrum, as they’re prone to making lists and schedules and following their plans to a T. They wouldn’t be sitting at Panera Bread reading their e-mails and tweets, thinking of ways to avoid writing a darn résumé, wondering if a bagel is in order. No, they would be concerned about getting that résumé done and then ordering a bagel, which they’d eat in good conscience.

For all that’s great about preferring Perceiving, such as spontaneity, adaptability, a laid-back demeanor; it sometimes sucks procrastinating and putting undue anxiety on yourself. Take it from me.

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4 thoughts on “Procrastination: the curse of the Perceiver

  1. patweber

    I’m more of a J so I totally get this Bob. The truth I believe is everyone, regardless of any personality preference, has to manage procrastination. Sometimes I procrastinate the most unpleasant tasks. Sometimes I procrastinate and it’s actually a GOOD thing. I learned how it’s sometimes okay to procrastinate from my friend and procrastivity coach, Kerul Kassel. On the occasions where there is even a due date, if my intuition is telling me to “wait,” even though it’s highly likely I already slept on it, noodled it over and thought it through, waiting can be a protective mechanism. It would be neglectful to say, this kind of procrastination isn’t to be used as an excuse for procrastination of the examples in your post. Good stuff!

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    1. Things Career Related Post author

      Thanks, Pat. One example of how I’ve procrastinated lately is having to write someone’s LinkedIn profile, having a whole week to do it but deciding to do it on the last day. I could have written it immediately, had the time and all. I think I’m one who is pressure-prompted. I take my time to think about what I need to do, rather than working and reworking it. Thanks for the comment, Pat.

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