Pacioli’s Treatise Never Included Time Management

Are you a procrastinator or an incubator?

Why do I have the feeling that this is just another flimsy excuse for procrastinators to feel good about themselves?  I’m an incubator! an apparently lazy person might claim. I wait until the last minute and produce superior work! Maybe, maybe not.  But it does make one sound like a large, unwieldy appliance that isn’t entirely practical for most people.

I do not miss deadlines (or ask for extensions–ahead of time or not), but I admit that I am sometimes a procrastinator.  It usually depends on what the task is and my frame of mind when I’m given the task.  My parents are not procrastinators–which usually became a source of conflict for us when I was still living with them.  When I was in high school, I put a lot of my assignments (and studying) until the night before it was due.  My parents would bang on my bedroom door and berate me on my poor study habits and loss of sleep while I was burning the midnight oil.  In retrospect, I probably should have stuffed towels into the bottom crack of the door so that the escaping light wouldn’t have annoyed them.

In college, I typically started working on problem sets from science and math courses on the day that I got them.  Essays and papers for humanities classes?  The actual writing began the night before they were due because I never felt the pressure that I was going to turn in poor or even mediocre work.  To be honest, though, the genesis for those papers began earlier.  When a paper assignment was announced, I would check out references from the library, read them, and then let the books collect dust in the subsequent weeks.  This is also what happens a couple months before Nanowrimo in my “preparatory phase.”

Sure, this sounds like incubator-like behavior, but I’m still calling myself a procrastinator.  Why?  Because it’s more acceptable to be self-deprecating and doesn’t overly inflate expectations.  Calling yourself an incubator, however, is tainted with arrogance.  And you sound like a supermarket rotisserie chicken stand.

*Luca Pacioli and double-entry bookkeeping