Are you an incubator? No, I’m not referring to the warming contraption used for eggs. I’m talking about your brain, your method of tackling projects. There is an interesting theory (that I wholeheartedly subscribe to) claiming that some people previously labeled as procrastinators are actually incubators.
Because there are so many shared characteristics, the line between the two can be difficult to distinguish. There are basically four types of people when presented a project: eager beavers, sloths, procrastinators, and incubators.
Eager beaver: This type of person tends to be studious and punctual. They start on assignments as soon as they are given them. Their work is usually well done and on time. They want to have the work out of the way so it is not hanging over them while they try to enjoy leisure activities. Two examples would be Hermione of Harry Potter and Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls. Putting a project off, even for other necessary things is a source of stress for these doers.
Sloth: These are the lazy ones, the ones who have no intention of doing anything that could take away from fun things. Garfield and Ferris Bueller are prime examples of this. Garfield sees a mouse in the house again, and he says he’ll catch it…just after this nap. No one believes that Garfield ever had any intention to actually get the mouse after the nap. Ferris Bueller’s famous day off has been a source of laughter and inspiration for many a teen. However, we see that his excuse of cutting school because of how beautiful a day it was is just one in an extensive line of excuses. In fact, the whole reason why the principal is hunting him is because of how much school Bueller has already missed.
Procrastinator: Unlike their sloth brethren, procrastinators fully intend to meet the deadline. But they “postpone one task in favour of another or others which are perceived as being wasier or more pleasurable but which are typically less important or urgent,” explains Neel Burton, an M.D. of psychology. Though they may get the work done on time, it will usually not be their best work and will cause them high levels of stress and dissatisfaction. Opposite her daughter Rory, Lorelai Gilmore procrastinates anything she views as unpleasant. She always means to get around to it, but never does which tends to result in extra drama that contributes to the unpleasantness.
Incubator: Incubators are impossible to differentiate from procrastinators at first glance because they share the same behaviours. They both put off getting the work done until the deadline is closing in on them. They choose to fill that time with socializing, reading, watching TV, or even doing household chores. The differences lies in the ability to perform under pressure and the “back burner mentality” (Biwas-Diener). Once the task has been received, the incubator begins to subconsciously work. However, they need that deadline in order to put pen to paper. Even if they tried to work on it earlier, it would be like pulling teeth…ugly teeth, because there has not been the time for the thoughts to simmer like an incubator requires. According to Robert Biwes-Diener, the professor who came up with the theory, they will finish the work on time and it will usually be of a “superior quality.” Sherlock Holmes and the Doctor represent this way of thinking. There may be a few moments of, “I’m making this up as I go,” but once they fully form the plan it is brilliant.