I read an article today that might have changed my life. Seriously. I’m not even joking.
Are you a procrastinator or an incubator? [cnn.com] (please ignore the “Oprah.com” bit…)
The gist of the piece is that there is a difference between procrastinators and incubators. While they outwardly appear the same in how they do work and handle deadlines, there are distinct differences. Specifically, the quality of work. Let me tell you a little story.
Back in college, I was taking GB-450, Business Law & Ethics, which was a requirement for graduation in the college of business. People always dreaded this class because the professor was tough. Anyway, we were given an assignment to write a 8 or 10 page paper about something or another. I chose to employ the same method of writing papers as I had for years which consisted of the following. I would get home from work between 9pm and 11pm the night before the paper was due. I would then turn on some Mozart and start writing. Often, writing all night. The papers would just dump straight out of my head and onto the page. No outline. No first draft. Just write the thing. I knew that while it appeared to be procrastination, I just trusted that the content would be there. In the week or 2 leading up to due date, as I was working or playing or whatever, bits and pieces of the papers would pop into my head. Phrases… Ideas. I’d just squirrel them away for later.
Anyway, I finished that particular paper and turned it in the next day in class.
About a week later, the professor had completed reading and grading the papers. That was the good news. The bad news was he spent almost an entire class day absolutely railing on the overall quality of these papers. He was quite angry with them. He just kept talking about this was a senior level class and the work was entirely unacceptable… so on and so forth. As he’s going on and on I’m just dreading more and more getting my grade. I knew I didn’t spend much time on it so how good could it be?
He hands them back and I only got a 98 on it. The people around me were getting 63’s or 47’s. I think one guy behind me actually got a 19 if I remember correctly.
I never realized that the possibility existed that it wasn’t “procrastination” at all. I have always known that I really need a deadline to get motivated. I also know, that I’m certainly not above working my ass off to meet deadlines. In fact, I honestly can’t remember EVER missing a deadline. I’m sure it’s happened but I know it hasn’t been recently.
It turns out that after all this time, I’m just an “incubator”. That is actually a load off my mind.
Seeing this article almost reminds me of the first time I read this book and discovered why I was tired all the time. This one wasn’t as profound, however. But that story is for another blog post.
That little quiz they have at the bottom of that article, I believe I would rate myself as 4’s across the board. What does that tell ya?