The sun is getting to one of our writers
Procrastination is the art of walking that fine line between dereliction of duty and just in the nick of time, without screwing yourself in the process. I am a Jedi master at procrastination. I’ve mastered scheduling, re-scheduling, and “wow, is that deadline really next week?”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m pathological when it comes to meeting deadlines, and even the thought of missing one makes me break out into a cold clammy sweat—I take pride in the fact that I’ve never needed to ask for an extension. If there’s an event, I’m usually the first one to arrive because of my borderline OCD need to be on time. And if something needs to be done under pressure, I’m your go-to-gal.
So why then do I often find myself looking for distraction? I know what I have to do, so why don’t I just get on with it? A simple search about procrastination on Google turns up 18,800,000 results, so apparently I’m not the only one out there who has the odd issue with putting my nose to the grindstone. There are a crazy amount of resources explaining how to beat it, although, according to the internet anyway, there is good and bad procrastination as well as structured procrastination, so I guess it’s not all pointless.
According to the Psychology Today website, which I’m sure is on the cutting edge of analysis, 20% of people identify themselves as chronic procrastinators. Thankfully, I don’t think I fit into this category, because I always pay my bills on time. Wikipedia defines procrastination as “the counterproductive deferment of actions or tasks to a later time… And that for some, it can be persistent and tremendously disruptive to everyday life.” Interesting—thankfully I’ve never put myself in a jam so big it disrupted my life.
So where do I fit in? I always meet my deadlines, albeit, at in my own pace and sometimes using a little more time than is probably necessary. Personally, I felt an instant kinship with John Perry, who writes about structured procrastination on his blog, philos?hy talk @stanford. He states “Procrastinators seldom do absolutely nothing; they do marginally useful things, like gardening or sharpening pencils or making a diagram of how they will reorganize their files when they get around to it. Why does the procrastinator do these things? Because they are a way of not doing something more important. If all the procrastinator had left to do was to sharpen some pencils, no force on earth could get him do it.”
He then goes on to say that if you structure your procrastination and organize your to-do-list to get the “less important” tasks done, you can usually accomplish something—nothing quite like tricking yourself into being productive. This is a strategy I’ve employed many times. Have you ever had this tape running through your brain… “I really need to do this (hmmm, I don’t really want to), but I also “really” need to do these other things (that are generally easier and less urgent).” Needless to say, there are about four other projects that should be occupying my time right now.
What’s the point of this piece? There is no point. I procrastinated about picking a topic for my weekly entry. At the very least, I hope some of you can relate or sympathize. And I’m going to make a solemn pledge to ease up on my procrastination. I’ll be better once summer’s over, or once it starts raining again, or after Christmas…
In the timeless words of Ellen DeGeneres, “Procrastination isn’t the problem. It’s the solution. It’s the universe’s way of saying stop, slow down, you move to fast.”
- post by Kerri