Mental Health, Motivational, Philosophy

Procrastination

Dr Robert Boice spent two decades delving into the minds of writers to work out why they are so easily distracted. He found that master procrastinators are suckers for falling for the short term hit at the expense of their long-term goal.

blog.reedsy.com/learning/courses/writing/stop-procrastinating-and-build-a-rock-solid-writing-routine/kill-procrastination-gremlins/

People prone to procrastination place a disproportionate focus on the outcome, rather than the input required to make their dream come true. This can cause increased levels of anxiety.

https://blog.reedsy.com/learning/courses/writing/stop-procrastinating-and-build-a-rock-solid-writing-routine/kill-procrastination-gremlins/

“When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that in itself is a choice.”
– William James

Then the panic sets in….

And most pertinent in this Corona phase of life:

“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon – instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.” – Dale Carnegie

“If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it.”
– Olin Miller

Do you identify with facets of procrastination?

Is it a fear of the future that holds you back from dealing with issues or would you consider motivation, or a lack thereof, more imperative to procrastination?

Why do we procrastinate so much? Is it worse since the advent of our electronic devices?

If so, is that mean we are more distractible these days. And then, my question would be, what does that lead to in the long term?

Something to ponder about this Sunday.

Join in the discussion. I would love to hear your perspective.

75 thoughts on “Procrastination”

    1. You make a good point, Chaymaa. The decision to not make a choice, and procrastinate, is also a choice. Inaction and deferring a task is something we have consciously thought about and postponed. Awareness of this is the first step toward rectifying it, if indeed we want to do so.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. My nature is to do now what I can and put nothing off till tomorrow! So I don’t really understand procrastinators at all. And my philosophy has long term been to live my life as fully as I can now, because I don’t know if I will have a tomorrow. The not-so-nice side of me things that procrastination is often about laziness, or maybe it is just about lack of energy and people apportioning low amounts of energy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I admire that you don’t procrastinate, Jane. But is there any downside to that? Or not? What about regrets upon hindsight that things could be done differently?
      I tend more towards the perfectionist side, and that facilitates procrastination! It could be laziness, but I sometimes want to think more about how a task could be done the best and most efficient way, before I even start it, which is procrastinating in disguise as pre-planning.

      Like

      1. The downsides include overreacting to things and not fully planning. However regret is also something I am not prone to as if one chooses a life of doing rather than not doing, there is no point in hindsight driving regret, only in informing one on how to improve in the next iteration. And it does mean one gets multiple iterations!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. A commendable attitude, Jane. And it sounds like you’ve rationalized well any downside that might arise. You are also blessed not to experience regret. I have embraced mistakes more as opportunities as I became older.

          Like

  2. As a self-proclaimed master procrastinator. I’d have to say that I have a tendency to procrastinate because of a false sense of security. I feel like I have plenty of time and so I get easily interested by whatever is around me at the time. It’s caused me so much stress, especially during college. But I still do it to this day, never finding to right way to fix it. Although I’ve been able to get stuff done, it usually comes at a panicked last second. Maybe one day I’ll be able to figure out a fix for my procrastination.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Interesting that it sounds like procrastination is almost a fixed way of life for you. You say you respond at the last second. Do you find you work better or concentrate better, when there is the pressure of a deadline?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It definitely forces me to concentrate when I have the pressure of a deadline. I guess it does make me work better. But it creates an unnecessary amount of stress.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Therein lies the balance to work on, Tryep. Not too much stress, just enough that it creates a feeling of pressure. Perhaps you need to set an early deadline for yourself, the day before the official deadline? Do you think that would work and still give you a margin for stress relief?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yeah, I’ve done that from time to time. It helps a lot, but I end up stressing when the deadline comes anyways because I start second guessing myself. But I suppose that just comes with the work.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. I vary. Some things I do straightaway and others get sidelined. That said, I’m steadily working my way through cleaning all the cupboards in the house. A thorough spring clean in autumn.

    Like

    1. Housework is something that is hard to get motivated about. So I commend up on your sprung clean. I think autumn is a great time to de-clutter. The weather is cooler and the temperatures conducive to heavy work if it is needed.
      Norwegians area Jen on a spring clean at Easter time. This includes edging down all the interiir and exterior walls of the house. For once, I am glad I don’t live in Norway.

      Like

  4. I think I’m something of a procrastinator. Not, I hope, because I am lazy, but because there’s always something else to do, and ‘to do’ lists are not my forte. As a student, my essays were always done later, rather than sooner, and that pattern has continued. But at the same time, I think it suits me. The adrenaline required to deliver in these circumstances produces better outcomes. That’s not just an excuse. I know that the the things I write in a timely manner lack edge. The same can’t be said of procrastinating at the moment to do that Major Spring Clean. Just don’t want to do it. It’s that simple.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do you always have a habit of spring cleaning at this time of year? That is very Norwegian, Margaret! It is hard not to procrastinate about major housework tasks. I have tried having set days, or ad-libbing the house cleaning duties . Neither approach triggers any recurring semblance of enthusisam in my house. I tended to leave assignments at Uni till closer to the due date. If I didn’t, I would only amass more and more notes, rather than achieve further progress on the write-up and invariably get a lower mark. Life gets in the way of study and can be a valid excuse for procrastinating at times. Maintaining concentration when I absolutely had to do so, did seem a tad easier to achieve, than those times when I “could have.”
      I would like to be less of a procrastinator but I lean too much to being perfectionistic to be able to dive in to everything spontaneously when it bobs up. Being aware that time is running out or setting self imposed time limits helps keep procrastination in check. What is it about to do lists that you don’t like?

      Like

  5. Personally, I always struggled with uncertainty. Short term I love the adventure of not knowing what’s going to happen – like when I travel, I’m open to the unexpected and see where it takes me… but when it comes to things that play a role long term, like work and relationships… I PROCRASTINATE. I find this time particularly challenging – not knowing how long we’d have to deal with the effects of the virus, when will life go back to normal again, what’s going to happen to our salaries, our leave, family, friends? I agree with what you said in a previous comment: deadlines /responsibilities (like studying) does help. Or doing less habitual things, like watching documentaries that require more focus than the comedy soapies I’ve seen multiple times. What helps most is changing the subject when these thoughts come up in conversations with close friends. We force ourselves to talk about something else, even make up stories about the best scenarios that we imagine could come from this. So that’s what I’ve been doing at night when I can’t sleep and the thoughts roll in – I turn them into a story with a happy ending – but before I could get to the end I fall asleep… so it must be working 🙂

    Like

    1. You make a good point about procrastination. Everyone would like to know what might happen in the future, Nadia. I think our brains are geared to do that to protect ourselves from potential threats. Some are more prone to this than others. In some ways, it is good, and we are pleasantly surprised if our worries don’t eventuate. But when it interferes with our sleep or our life, it is time to change strategies. What will be, will be, the effects of procrastination do ameliorate at times when we can distract ourself or change our focus, as you alluded. I like that you are able to reframe them in your mind and create a happy ending. That is a great way to strengthen positive neural pathways in our brains, so that alternatives are considered in our thoughts. Thanks for a great comment!

      Like

  6. For me it’s definitely task-specific. I think with anything financial, I’m on it rather quickly (paying bills, reconciling payments, budgets, investments, etc.). Writing and responding to letters, cards, emails, etc., I’m also very quick to take care of. But then there are manual labor chores such as cleaning closets, putting away papers, wiping down walls, etc. Those I’m more than happy to delay on for seemingly forever! – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well at least you are aware of all the tasks that you need to do, Marty, and that counts for the first step in addressing the task and the procrastination. If you mixed up tasks in a ‘to-do’ list, adding in cleaning the closet amongst writing a post, paying bills, and sending emails, do you think you would attend to it in sequence or push the closet cleaning to the end and leave it to do at a later time?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting, Lisa. A bit like me when it comes time to do my taxes. I am the Master of procrastination then! Your body is clearly geared to move. Have you also been into fitness or exercise/sport?

      Liked by 2 people

        1. I think I would have gone out and had a long hike, and if questioned by the authorities, I would have said that I was banking up time for the bad weather week ahead!
          I am with you on the exercise classes, unless of course, it is yoga – that is all about stretching and flexibility, not really aerobic exercise – yuk. Walking in places that you have at your doorstep can only ever be a joy.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. I am totally the same! Up at 04:30, Wim Hof Method stretching and breathing, exercise, cold shower…then ADMIN – PAPERWORK – WRITING!!! Been the same since school, through uni and now in work. Hope there’s a follow up to this…I’ll definitely be writing on my struggles!! Great post!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting question. Now that I’ve finally adjusted to retirement and have the interests, activities and social connections that satisfy without too much hassle or pressure, it is nice to be compassionate with myself.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So when you say, compassionate with yourself, do that means you give yourself space to procrastinate? Or do you not even consider it procrastination, Barmyboomer?

      Like

        1. The ‘shoulds’ of life put us on the scales of worth. Invariably, we don’t measure up and absolutely being compassionate with ourselves allows us to be imperfect and at the same time recognize that feeling as totally acceptable.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. My father was essentially forced to retire in 1994, when the printing company where he’d worked for 33 years decided to let go of most of its staff and contract out the bulk of their work. My mother retired 9 years later, shortly after turning 70. She had labored in the insurance business for 50 years – literally! My father often liked to get up early to do yard work, and my mother like to read books and do crossword puzzles. They occasionally griped about sleeping too much and missing most of the day. I told them not to feel the least bit guilty. They were retired and had earned the right to stay in bed all day and sleep as much as they wanted.

      After a lifetime of raising children; fighting daily traffic; and dealing with sleepless nights, bad weather commutes, bully bosses, rude and gossipy coworkers, chronically unsatisfied customers, impossible project deadlines and low pay, one has earned every damn right to spend their silver years enveloped in pleasure and happiness!

      My father decided one afternoon about 10 years ago to have a glass of wine. My mother joined him, and I could only laugh – not at their midday imbibing! But at their 70-something rebellious streaks.

      “Why the hell not?!” I told them. “Where do you have to go after this? Back to work?”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I love your father’s humour! It is a time to feel free from the constraints of working life. I do think retirement needs to be adjusted to. I don’t think I would want to sleep all day, every day, but then if I did, I suppose I could. I am more a morning person, so I dislike the day getting away from me too much. I tend to languish more in the afternoons.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. World-class procrastination expert here. Next to fear, that’s been the greatest bane of my creative aspirations – which is actually a direct product of that fear. Fear of failure, ridicule and rejection. Shy and introverted as a child, I was frequently bullied at school; something that actually lasted into young adulthood. It sent me into depths of depression and alcoholism. Many times – as both a teen and a young adult – I’d thought, ‘if I had a gun, I’d storm into the place and kill as many of my tormentors as I could.’ So while I don’t understand the final decision to become as drastic, I understand the emotions compelling it. My parents, who made friends easily, and other adults sometimes furthered the ambivalence by not comprehending why I was so shy.

    I eventually got hold of that mental miasma and began to cleanse my soul of the evils. I was in my 20s by then, but it still took me a while. Still, even with a clearing mind, I retained fear of rejection as I pursued my writing ambitions. My blog is one of the most accomplished literary achievements I’ve ever made. But I should have published my debut novel more than a decade earlier. Again, procrastination – and fear, albeit less restrictive in recent years.

    In the 1990s, I always blamed my hectic work life for delaying my writing; then a return to college via online courses; and finally my parents’ increasing health problems. I said life kept getting in the way, when in reality, I kept letting life get in the way. Life will always bear a variety of problems and distractions to inconvenience you. If you want to see if the Great Creator has a sense of humor, reveal your plans for the future. Yet, we must continue to try.

    I once told a friend and former work colleague who was having trouble completing his first book that it won’t write itself. Like Toni Morrison said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

    Still, I know I’m a fairly good writer. It’s the one thing about myself in which I have absolute confidence. I’ve decided to focus on that instead of life’s wretched disturbances.

    The world hungers for creative people. We often build mirrors to inner souls. We help dig paths towards the humor and the love; wonder and desire; the fear and the hope for all of humanity. Everybody wants and needs that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will take your last point first, Alejandro. Everybody does want and need love, affection and belonging. It is vital, I think. Creative people feel much more deeply and as such can express that to others. Other people may feel emotions but may not be able to articulate them as well as creatives.
      Well done focusing on writing, which you do have a talent for, instead of focusing on the negatives of procrastinating away time.
      I feel sad and annoyed that you were bullied as a shy child. If there is one thing that pisses me off, it is bullying! The only way I can bear to hear about it is thinking that the bully has been abused in some way – their source of comfort and love is also an abuser themselves and this screws with them mentally. However, the bully seems to cope better in the long term than the victim, and they do choose their victims! Precisely because their victims are everything they are not, because they represent the gentler, more peaceful side of life. The bully may have been expressing his emotions via his aberrant and destructive behaviour, but the victim has to deal with the condequences – a destroyed sense of self-worth in the formative years. That has a myriad of ill- effects that lead to mental torture and in some people, dangerous thoughts of retribution. I wish it was a kinder world with support for people who are victimised. I admire the way you have overcome that, Alejandro.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m a procrastinator married to a do-it-now man. I have learned not to mention something I’d like to get done “in the future” unless I’m willing to start NOW! I’m trying to get better but the tendency is pretty ingrained in me. The biggest source of conflict comes from me saying that I’ll get something done, and then I’ll completely forget about it. There is always something more interesting to do… unfortunately, my husband never forgets 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can imagine that this might be a source of tension between you, Janis. The Moth (Man of the House), is a bit similar in that respect to you husband. Early in our married life, I mentioned to him that I thought a seat might be useful against a low half-wall in the kitchen. I then headed out for a day of appointments, while the Moth was at home. When I returned home, the Moth had built a chair seat against the wall with timber he had lying around the house! You can imagine my surprise and dismay, as it was just a thought and I hadn’t fully planned out how I would like it to look.
      So like you, I have learned to keep those thoughts to myself, until I have planned exactly what I would like.
      Now we are in our retirement or semi-retirement, I am forgetting to do things and getting distracted, so the Moth gently reminds me of that too. That has taught me to be more tolerant if other people forget to do things, but frustrated that my memory is not as good as it used to be. How many years have you been retired, Janis?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Amanda. I didn’t see another Reply link, so I will answer your question about my adjustment to retirement here. Although I missed (and still do at times) the social network that work provided, and I really did like my job, my transition to retirement was very smooth. I have never once regretted my decision and am very grateful that I could make the move at a relatively young age. I’ve often said that we are in a sweet spot: old enough to retire, yet young enough to enjoy good health and energy. I don’t kid myself that it will last forever, but I’m thrilled about where I am. Now, if we could just open up the world again 🙂

    Like

    1. Hi Janis, Thanks ever so much for replying. I don’t know why the reply links don’t always show up!
      I am quite content so far in being at home, andbeing somewhat of an introvert helps that. Although I sometimes forget the day of the week. I guess this is a little bit different now, with the enforced stay at home with Covid-19, so we would probably be socialising more than we are under normal circumstances. I am totally in agreeance with you on the sweet spot! It won’t last forever and I am mindful of not wasting it. Having said that, I find myself drawn more to writing and blogging so I will have to be firmer about a routine!

      Like

  11. Hi Forestwood, I have the exact opposite problem. I can’t stand to have things hanging over my head so will jump on assignments as soon as possible. CROSS it off my list. Unfortunately this occasionally backfires when I go to a lot of work and the thing is cancelled or the requirements change -so if I’d been a procrastinator I’d have been off the hook – but for the most part it works. The more I hate something the faster I want it done and out of my life. Interesting post. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm. L.L. I could use some of your, Must do attitude sometimes. I think it is reward based? You get a kick out of seeing things done! I can relate to that sense of elation, but sometimes that is a teaser that makes it hard to get started or I am in a rush to get it finished. We all have to find the right stride for our races in life. I imagine you are someone who cannot sit and watch the TV, you are probably knitting or doing something simultaneously while watching the tele? Multi-tasking?

      Like

  12. Procrastination is a dirty word in my vocabulary, so I use it seldom, but admonish myself frequently. I never stop – I have rare ‘down’ minutes because I’m always busy writing, teaching, exercising, cleaning, meditating, etc. I even feel guilty if I sit and read for 15 minutes during the day! (I’m okay after 8 p.m. – then read for hours). But, the bottom line is that I don’t do everything I know I should do, in the order I should do it in. I have a book I’m working on (an anthology of my flash fiction/non-fiction) and I’m (here it is – the dirty word) PROCRASTINATING with it, instead writing more stories, blogging, sending writing prompts to my at-home writing students. I even found another excuse – I started cleaning up my files – and for a week now, they’ve been scattered all over my office floor. YIKES! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You sound like a busy person! I used to burn the candle at both ends and never stop. My health suffered so I learnt that it was better for me to have allocated down time. As my children got older, that was more possible. Perhaps your file cleaning is your way of having down time? You are still busy, but taking a break from actively writing? That is productive procrastination!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. One person’s procrastination is another person’s planning. At least that’s how rationalize my inclination to put things off for a while. But in the end I do what needs to be done, so I don’t chastise myself for being a planner. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Amanda, I (almost) wonder whether I am procrastinating this morning reading blog posts, since I usually set aside afternoon time. At least I am learning more about procrastinating while procrastinating.🙂 I am a huge believer on the “choice” quote. Great gems. Thank you!

    Like

    1. Sometimes when I answer WordPress comments on my phone, they don’t send correctly if the internet connection is ‘iffy’, as it is here in many parts of Australia, (regrettably). So I am sorry it has taken me a few days to see that my reply to your comment didn’t go through. I now check my posts more regularly for this anomaly, as it happens more than I like it to do. We all are guilty of procrastination at times, Eric/ka, and I think if we can justify it in some way, we will continue to do it.
      The quote you highlighted is important because I know a few people who refuse to make a choice in regard to a problem, thinking that this absolves them from blame if it turns out they choose wrongly. I think this quote makes it clear that we are also making a mistake in not choosing, which is mostly true! We all make the best decisions we can with the information we have at hand (my kids think I am like a broken record when I say this to them). We can only see and think at a given moment in time, so to procrastinate on a decision does us no favours. It also reminds me of another great quote, “In actions, anxiety disappears. ” I really do like the old pearls of wisdom for what they can teach us. It sounds like you enjoy quotes and sayings, too, Eric/ka?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Amanda, WordPress does quirky things for me, too. No concerns re: replying or commenting or anything in this playground. I often compartmentalize and read/comment many all at once. This is one of my Happy Places and I like to enjoy the reading and the community.

        I smiled when I read how your kids think you are a broken record at times. Me, too, with my children. Part of the territory. I have not heard your last quote, “In actions, anxiety disappears.” Love it! Yes, I gravitate to quotes/mantras. Thanks for your pearls of wisdom. 🙂Erica

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks for the lovely reply, Eric/ka. I generally try to post something on a Sunday. It started off as Proverbial Thursday/ Friday then morphed into Sunday Sayings. I find them really meaningful and I love the way they are so succinct. Each word carefully crafted and chosen.

          Liked by 1 person

  15. An interesting post Amanda and interesting comments as well. Am I a procrastinator? Usually no. When I set my intentions and write my lists I generally tend to knock them all off. Strangely though my vision of writing my book sits in the procrastination basket. I started it, was hugely motivated and now, two weeks have gone by and I haven’t written a page. Go figure. I’m stuck, writer’s block, procrastinator’s block, I’m not sure what it is but I know if I want to do it I have to get off my rear end! Your post was a big nudge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am very happy to hear that I have motivated you, Miriam. I have had a partially worn book on the back burner for two years!! Two weeks is pretty good on comparison. What is the subject, if you can reveal it yet?

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m a proud procrastinator. I’ve only learned this word recently. Whenever I spotted it anywhere, I thought it meant something completely different. Not propagate but fornicate. Hahhha. (English is not easy.)

    For example, in the month that just passed I was to write one poem every day. And I did it. My work went like this: I checked the prompt for the day first thing in the morning, went on my dog walk, ruminated on the prompt all day, started to write something at about 9pm, and then had to edit the photos too, and I was lucky to finally post the poem in time, sometimes in the last minutes before the day was done.

    My mother is the same. We do things in the last moments because the outcome is the best this way, with a bit of pressure. Masochists do it this way, I presume. Also, my teachers were often upset with me for turning in my work past due date, but then had to admit – some did it in writing – that what I finally produced was so good that they didn’t really mind my delay. Their fault, telling you…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If procrastination works for you, Manja, go with the flow. To a certain extent, it is innate, maybe the majority is innate. I am unsure how much could be learned. I am somewhat a procrastinator myself, but if I had to live with a major procrastinator, I probably would get frustrated! Hah!
      I could see that you were very focused on your poetry this month. Well done!

      Liked by 1 person

Everyone is important. What do you have to say?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.