• Who am I?

    I am Qrystal; or at least, that's my dot-name! Har har. (My name is really Crystal, but that's not as internet-searchable; hence, switching the C for the little-used letter Q.)

    I am here because I enjoy writing. I do this mostly for myself, but I also have a passion for helping others learn things from the things I write. Now that I am done my Ph.D. in Physics, I am stepping away from academic research so that I can indulge in some creative ways to share my knowledge and inspire the appreciation of scientific thinking in others. I am also working as a tutor, which is one of the jobs I've most enjoyed doing in my life so far.

  • Post Categories

  • Archives

  • Meta

  • I Procrastinate, Part 2 – Basic Personality Traits

    Posted by Qrystal on March 11, 2008 at 12:52.
    Category: Series. Tags: personality, procrastination, productivity.

    I have been listening to a really inspirational podcast series called iProcrastinate, and decided I would benefit greatly from reviewing the details discussed and relating them to my own procrastination. Yes, I realize that this is probably just another way for me to procrastinate, but the pull is just too strong to ignore.. I must do this…!!! (Click here to start at Part 1 of my review of the series.)

    It was actually the second episode that drove me to blog about the series, so I’m going to get right to it.
    UPDATE: As of March 14, 2008, I have revised some of the wording in the review, and added a few images.

    Personality and Procrastination: “The Colour Wheel of Traits”

    What if I am a procrastinator just because it is part of my personality? What a frightening thought! However, I believe that personality traits are just descriptive of a person’s current state of being, not the cause of why we are the way we are, so I shouldn’t be afraid. Instead, I think this knowledge will help me pinpoint what aspects of myself I need to work on.Colour Wheel

    The “colour wheel” concept mentioned in the title of this podcast is used to compare the blending of primary colours to the blending of primary personality traits to give all sorts of different mixtures and possibilities.

    Dr. Pychyl mentions the classic colour wheel (shown at right) where red, yellow, and blue are the primary colours. This depiction of colour mixing is fairly dated, and there really is much more to colour theory .. but that’s not important in this discussion. What is useful, however, is a model of colour mixing that takes into account more dimensions…

    Colour Sphere

    In this model, not only is the hue determined by way of three primary colours (in this case, the primary colours of light: red, green, and blue) but there are two other traits: saturation (intensity of colour), and lightness (blending of a colour with white or black). Thus we can see how five concepts can be used to describe different colours, which makes it easier to see how the five personality traits can be used to describe different personalities.

    Note that there are differing opinions of how useful or important these primary traits are considered, as well as whether they cause our actions or just describe our actions. Dr. Pychyl also emphasizes that we can’t ignore the fact that all personalities are different and unique and are subject to situational variation.

    With that in mind, we are asked to consider the following five basic personality traits (as defined in the podcast, with additional aspects obtained from Wikipedia):

    So which personality traits would be most likely linked to procrastination? The podcast leaves this open for contemplation until next episode. I haven’t listened to the third episode yet, because as I mentioned above, I wanted to write about my thoughts!

    Personally, I would think that maybe E (extraversion) and O (openness to experience) would be traits that could encourage procrastination through being distracted from the tasks at hand. A (agreeable) might be the opposite of competetiveness, which can drive some people to be very productive. N (neuroticism) surely must have something to do with the inability to inspire oneself to make progress. But the most obvious correlation I would guess would be between CC (conscientiousness) and procrastination; low- could almost be a definition of procrastination!

    So I’m going to guess that all the aspects will relate to procrastination in different ways.

    How These Traits Relate to Me

    First and most obviously, I really seem to have low-C, and maybe that’s making me more prone to procrastinate. The only C aspect that rings a bell with me is that I do love planning… or is that just a way I convince myself that I’m making progress? HMMM! As for the others, I’d say I’m highly Agreeable, not very Neurotic, very Open to experience, and only a bit Extraverted.

    But I’m perplexed by this notion of Conscientiousness. I wonder if I can start treating my procrastination as if it’s an issue of conscientiousness rather than just some obscure weakness that I can’t put my finger on. I definitely believe (and feel like I have to hope!) that these traits are things that can be adjusted with practice, because I’d really like to use this idea to make myself less likely to procrastinate.

    Now that I think about it, if my conscientiousness is low, does that mean I have little or no conscience?! I suppose there are different aspects of the notion of conscience, and in particular, that “doing what’s best” isn’t necessarily the same as “doing what’s morally or ethically best”. It can’t possibly be immoral or unethical to not be productive… could it? Hmm… maybe this line of thinking can help me put more importance on conscientiousness.

    That brings me dangerously close to considering the meaning of life. Why am I here? I’m here to do the best I can, with the time I have. Except, uh, when I’m on facebook… yeah… (*pause for dramatic effect*)

    That’s enough guilt to dwell upon for now. I can’t change the past, only the future. But I must also be aware of each moment as it happens, too — in fact, hey! Come to think of it, it’s only the present that I can change, and the future is just the direction I’m travelling!

    With that thought, I must switch modes and start using the present as an opportunity to make progress with the things I’m procrastinating.

    This series about the iProcrastinate podcasts will continue. Stay tuned!

    No Comments »