Everyone procrastinates; some do so rarely and others battle it all of the time. For some MBTI personality types, particularly the ENTP and ENFP types, procrastination is omnipresent. For these types, there always seems to be a monkey on the back or an alligator snapping at the knees waiting to be addressed. That is because these two types have extraverted intuition as the dominant cognitive process. The ENTP and the ENFP are always scanning the external environment for something more interesting, amusing or new. The brain is literally lit up when a new experience is present and conversely, it is lulled to sleep when an old task has to be completed or is excessively repetitive. People procrastinate because they can’t find the focus to do what needs to be done. In the world of a dominant extraverted intuitive, possibilities present themselves almost constantly with procrastination being a natural byproduct of these distractions.
Now what happens when an ENTP type and an ENFP type, two professional procrastinators get together to get work done? Here is the amazing story of Lockdown 2010. I am an ENFP and I had work that had been hanging over my head for 6 weeks. My friend, an ENTP, had a project that had hung over her head for much longer than that. We both knew that we would feel the sense of accomplishment once it was done. However recall, taking something off the “TO DO” list isn’t necessarily the driving force that spurs a dominant extraverted intuitive into action. It’s the newness. The fun. We can start off with the best of intentions but easily get sidetracked by something interesting to read, lunch with a fascinating companion, a new project. Anything is better than dotting the “i’s” or crossing the “t’s”. We knew we had to make it fun.
It started with a few clever Facebook messages about how this lockdown was really going to happen. Once the time slot was chosen and the commitment had been secured, we set up all kinds of penalties for not following through. More banter. More delightful, exquisite banter. Then the day finally came. I stopped at the coffee shop and bought fluffy, overpriced coffees and we chatted a bit, just to warm our brains up. After that, we manned our stations and got to work, me with my stack of chart notes and her with her stack of journal articles. Every once in awhile, we took a break to check Facebook to see who was having more fun than us and it seemed like everyone was. I mean, who can beat a college party where everyone dresses up like the characters from, “Jersey Shore?” In fact, we decided our next lockdown will be a Jersey Shore lockdown.
Anyway, just before lunch (we had it delivered so no one was going ANYWHERE), I got to do my first victory dance. I finished all of the chart notes! The pizza arrived and we took a break, eating and recharging our brains with well-earned chat. We did everything we could to make it amusing while still keeping our eye on the prize: finished work. Next I completed a piece of marketing that would help my business immensely. Some would think that I would have completed this long ago but distractions kept it on the sideline. I felt my energy building as I could share with my friend my turn of phrase and all things “hot off the press.” I completed the document and performed another victory dance. As of this writing, my friend has completed the entire stack of journal articles and is into the 6th page of her project. She has earned the right to a victory dance for making such progress but she is holding off until she can do the ultimate dance. I can’t wait for that moment.
This has been an extremely productive day, a day that would not have happened if two world class procrastinators had not come up with a formula to make it fun and interesting rather than tedious and boring. Self-awareness can go a long way toward overcoming a snag or becoming unstuck. Energy is released when one can reframe a challenge in a way that is palatable but still accomplishes the task at hand. Do not ask how the task should be done. Instead, ask how the task can be done. The latter will produce infinite possibilities and more often than not, a satisfying outcome indeed!