“Hello, my name is ______, and I’m a Procrastinator.”
It’s chronic and, I fear, incurable. You’d think by now, at the ripe old age of *mumble mumble* that I’d have learned a lesson or two about not leaving things until the last minute or letting things pile up until they become seemingly insurmountable. You would be wrong.
Take the current condition of my bedroom, for example. As you may recall, I was recently on vacation. I arrived home in the wee small hours of last Thursday morning and then had to work Thursday and Friday. Therefore, I told myself, I could wait until the weekend to unpack when I would have two whole days to put everything to rights again.
I spent Saturday doing everything else but unpacking. I went for a walk. I went to the grocery store. I promised myself that I’d get to my room after one more episode of “Bloodline” on Netflix, or whenever the Hallmark Channel movie (my current obsession) I happened upon, was over. Saturday become Sunday, but that was okay, because I still had one whole day to do it. Sunday, however, was spent much the same way as the day before. Until about 9pm when I was so disgusted with myself that I at least got everything out of the suitcases so that I could stop tripping over them. The contents are still in piles waiting to be put away. (It’s too much like laundry – which I hate for the same reason.) I’ll do that tonight.
It’s not that I’m lazy (okay, I am), but I am easily distracted. Looking up something on the internet in the name of research can turn into a cross-country ride on a runaway train that leads me further and further away from my original task. “But it’s all so fascinating and I’m learning so much!”
I had several “ideas” percolating for this blog post, even made notes on a few of them. Did I sit down and just write the post over the weekend? Of course not. Can I remember the brilliant turns of phrase that popped into my head, now that I am sitting down to write? Of course not.
“I’ll feel more like doing this tomorrow.” Is one of the biggest lies we procrastinators tell ourselves. The other is “I work best under pressure.” The problem with this one is that, for me at least, it’s very often true. Extra time to overthink and second-guess usually does not work in my favor.
I’ve only had just enough therapy to be dangerous, but it may have something to do with my fear of failure. I’ve always thought “won’t” is more preferable to “can’t”. Then again, I did learn from the very best:
Does that mean that I don’t take this blog seriously and don’t consider contributing to it a worthy use of my time? Again, of course not. According to two of the “world’s leading experts on procrastination”*, it’s probably that I don’t take myself seriously.
People procrastinate for different reasons and there are three basic types of procrastinators:
-arousal types, or thrill-seekers, who wait to the last minute for the euphoric rush.
-avoiders, who may be avoiding fear of failure or even fear of success, but in either case are very concerned with what others think of them; they would rather have others think they lack effort than ability.
-decisional procrastinators, who cannot make a decision. Not making a decision absolves procrastinators of responsibility for the outcome of events.
Obviously, I identify most closely with reason #2. I’m not completely nuts. I’m rarely late for appointments, I pay my bills on time, routinely turn up three hours early for a flight and I’d rather eat hard-boiled eggs while looking at pictures of snakes than be in a store on Christmas Eve.
And, once again, I’ve managed to get out a blog post on Monday morning. Everything else can wait.
Are you a chronic procrastinator? Do you procrastinate about everything or just certain dreaded chores? Have you ever gotten into big trouble because of it or do you always manage (like me) to squeak by? Are we all just kidding ourselves?
*Joseph Ferrari, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology at De Paul University, Chicago & Timothy Pychyl, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology at Carleton University, Ottawa. https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200308/procrastination-ten-things-know