“Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today?” I can think of at least a hundred reasons right now– all of which sound remarkably legitimate.
I’m a deep thinker. I’d rather read poetry and watch the birds flitter in a backyard puddle than do anything that requires focused effort. Therefore, I have become a skilled procrastinator. You might even say I’m the queen of procrastination. Yes, many people have claimed that title. But truthfully, it’s mine. If you should require more convincing, come back tomorrow. 😉
Tomorrow is a Myth…
Ahhh, tomorrow — the day that never comes. The mythical span of time where motivation mingles with commitments. I imagine you’ll find treadmills churning, books with uncracked spines, past-due projects and services unrendered. Tomorrow is what I tell myself so I’ll feel good about putting it off today. But “tomorrow” is a placeholder, a procrastination tool I have used like a shovel to bury those critical tasks I’d rather not do.
Procrastination is Crafty, Not Necessarily Lazy…
In my defense, I will say that I am not a lazy person. And I don’t believe that everyone who struggles with procrastination is lazy either. In fact, I often use work as an excuse to procrastinate. Because busyness can be bullshit, too (more on that here).
Here’s a peek at what procrastination looks like for me… I open my inbox to find 26 emails awaiting a response. My calendar reminds me that I’ve got 11 pages of Web content due, too. Groan. Suddenly, I have the insatiable urge to spring clean my closets, run 3 miles, mop my floors — anything to keep me from the monotony of those other chores. So I keep myself busy doing important things that aren’t pressing. Meanwhile, time-sensitive tasks are rotting in my office.
The truth is, procrastination is the sneakiest form of self-sabotage. It’s a terrible way to abuse myself, mismanage my time and push myself into unpleasant predicaments that leave me scrambling to do that which I should have done yesterday. In the interest of self-care, I’ve begun developing better habits.
Here’s How I’ve Learned to Overcome Procrastination:
I visualize every consequence that comes with procrastination. I imagine the emotional mess I will create by my actions, and the frenetic pace at which I’ll have to work if I delay my project. Then I imagine the feeling I’ll have if I just dive in now and finish the work– the sense of accomplishment, the freedom.
Secondly, I ask myself these questions before I begin doing anything at all:
- Is this the best use of my time?
- Is there something more pertinent I’m potentially avoiding?
And before I allow my feet to land on a slippery slope, I vow to practice self-care instead…
Because sometimes self-care is doing what hurts now to avoid a greater pain later.
I won’t say these tactics are effective every time — because “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Still, I have become more conscious of the ways I procrastinate, and more valiant in my efforts to stop it and other self-sabotaging habits.
Are you a procrastinator?