I think some people have procrastination hardwired into them, and perhaps that’s why it’s so hard to tackle. It’s part of you. It’s certainly part of me.
It seems to be the important stuff I put off the most. The bigger the responsibility, the more time I spend distracting myself. The more time I’ll spend tidying the house. The more time I’ll spend walking to and from the fridge. The more time I’ll spend scrolling through social media. I’ll tell myself that, whatever I’m doing, is just as important – I’m still being productive – but that deadline is still getting scarily closer.
Maybe I just don’t like failure. I’ve never considered myself a particularly competitive person, but we all like to succeed, right? If I know something’s a big deal, I’ll avoid it for as long as possible. I don’t want to commit until I know I’m ready.
So, I procrastinate because I’m trying to look out for myself? Is that it? This is some messed up version of self-care? I won’t let myself do something until I know I’m in the best mind frame for it. After all, I do find that I perform better under pressure. Let me add a bit to that task every day for a week, and it will become a boring chore I complete absentmindedly. Or give me one hour to complete it, and I’ll be much more focussed. I know I have to be more concise.
Perhaps procrastination is simply misunderstood. Rather than looking at is lazy stalling, I should consider it my method of working. If I want to work to my best ability and be organised, firstly I need to admit that I am a procrastinator. I need to stick my name badge with pride at Procrastinators Anonymous. No, I haven’t done it yet. Yes, I know everyone else started last week. Yes, that’s just how I roll.
But actually, there’s a bigger picture. You see, I procrastinated writing this article by watching YouTube videos. I told myself it was worth doing because I watched a 14 minute TEDx talk about procrastination. It’s just research, I said, when I knew deep down I only did it because I couldn’t think up my opening paragraph.
I did learn something though. Tim Urban, blogger and writer, explained how there are two types of procrastination. Sometimes, we put things off until a deadline springs us, finally, into action. Other tasks, however, don’t have a deadline.
Starting a business, meeting up with a friend, quitting smoking. Everyone has a bunch of things on their to-do list which keeps getting put back. We’ve all got things on our bucket list which we tell ourselves one day, but when is that day?
I can laugh about the fact that my life is organised chaos. In fact, screw that – it’s just chaos. But don’t let that stop you doing the stuff you will regret missing out on. Don’t be that person who regrets what they didn’t do, not what they did.