After a week away it is now time to get back to work. With my corrections sill not quite done and my deadline an hour away I feel a little bit under pressure. However it really is my own fault, I had a plan and didn’t stick to it leaving me slightly breathless and with red ink stains on my hands.
My problem is procrastination, I seem to spend so much time on thinking on how I am going to do something instead of actually doing it. I know many people “suffer” from this time-consuming condition but only few seem to be able to conquer it on along term basis.
So to try and understand a little bit more about my p-problem I decided to take a closer look at what it is that keeps me doing the task at hand. (And yes, in true procrastinator fashion it distracted me from my real work).
While most of us believe procrastination is a part of our inner makeup it actually isn’t, it’s learned behaviour making it possible to change, even if it does take a considerable amount of willpower. I also discovered that most of us aren’t TRUE procrastinators. While we think we are our real problem is time-management, we can’t seem to estimate the correct time we need to do certain things nor do we keep a manageable to-do-list.
According to a list done up by the De Paul University in Chicago there are five little lies a true procrastinator tells themselves, believing them, unable to ignore that powerful inner voice:
- Working when you don’t feel like it doesn’t give you good results
- If you don’t feel like doing something you won’t be able to do it
- Motivation is something you will feel tomorrow, or the next day or the day after
- You need a lot less time then you do to do something (underestimate)
- You have lots of time left to do something (overestimate)
And while these lies seem quite flimsy they are very successful from keeping someone from doing something they need to be doing and they also cover up the real reason procrastinators distract themselves. Most procrastinators have an inner most fear of failure and somehow they believe by not doing something they can’t fail, and when they do something rushed they know why it had to fail, diverting the fault away from themselves and really a self-fulfilling prophesy.
The only way to solve this problem is hard work, realistic expectations and a willingness to change. Of course being honest is key, honest with ourselves, with our time, our capabilities and goals.
So if I am honest, I am working on a last minute deadline but then like American author Rita Mae Brown once so aptly put it:
If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done
My best new excuse is: it is better in the long run for my health to rest on the couch right now. Dusting can wait until next weekend (when I am sure I will not want to sit on the couch as much). 8)
good may steal that
A very insightful piece Jensine! I can relate to the ‘if I’m not motivated, it will fail..’ concept but lately I’ve found that if I concentrate and plot it out with an outline and plug along, I can get it done, sometimes with better results than I had imagined!
and that is what the experts tell us to do … well done and plod on … i will ploddingly follow
Ruthanne Walker said:
Interesting. Fear of failure and diverting the blame to being ‘rushed’ is a good description of why ‘we’ procrastinate;)
well it definitely is for me lovely Ruthie
My personal favourite:
#9: If I lay down and take a “short” nap, I’ll have more energy when…”
Well done, Missy J.
yes I am so with you … napping mmhhh who came up with that deserves a medal
I kind of thrive on last minute, but I do my best when I take my time. Most of the time I’d rather nap or write though. 🙂
too true … now napping I could use one tomorrow when i get back from teaching
Carrie Rubin said:
In terms of writers, I think it’s funny that so many of us love writing more than anything, and yet we’ll do just about anything to put it off. Maybe it is that fear of failure you mention; or maybe it’s not feeling the energy needed to create. Regardless, once we get into it, we wonder why we put it off so long.
I know I have no idea why it is but … IT IS