I find it ironic that my planned post on procrastination is going up so late.
But, at least it isn’t late because I wasted the day procrastinating 🙂 I’ve been busy on a painting job for my husband, as I will be for the rest of the week. This means I won’t be posting again until Friday, but I’ll have pictures of my project!
Back to the topic at hand though.
A Change in Meaning
Official sources say that procrastination is ‘the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished. Sometimes, procrastination takes place until the “last minute” before a deadline.’
Typically when I was growing up, I saw this word only used in terms of school projects or work tasks that really were left until the last minute. Over the years though, the term has certainly seemed to be in more common use for anytime one gives in to distraction, regardless of deadlines.
Certainly, I use it a lot (and do it a lot), but… I don’t really have any deadlines save those I choose for myself, and this task doesn’t need to be accomplished.
So is it really procrastination if I can take as long as I want? And if so, why do I spend so much darn time just staring into space after sitting down to write?
Naturally, even in my case, it is still procrastination, and just a personal desire to do something, and personal deadlines count. Even without those personal commitments though, it’d still be procrastination.
What does it look like?
I’m not going to sit here are baby you all along about what it is. If you are old enough to read, you are probably old enough to know what distractions you pursue when you’re supposed to be doing something else.
All I’m going to talk about, briefly, is what it looks like for me.
Mostly, it looks like Youtube and housework. I will allow myself to be distracted by the background noise of my documentaries (which I cant just turn off because then the absolute quiet makes me restless), or I’ll find something to clean. All bets are off if we had people over recently, or are due to, I’ll clean the whole house before writing.
It used to be that procrastination took the form of days long video games binges, but I’ve at least become aware enough in my older life that I won’t even start one until I’ve made time to get lost in it for awhile.
I talked a few days ago about goal setting. Having that mental tick list to check off each day really helps me stave off chronic procrastination.
I also find it really helps to have a specific goal in mind when I sit down. Five minutes planning of what I want to achieve, what I consider my cut-off point, and getting myself excited about what I’m writing can solve my productivity woes real fast.
But most of the time… I don’t fight it at all.
Procrastination is hardly something fully understood by psychologists. Over the course of time, it’s been attributed to everything from poor toilet-training as a toddler all the way to ‘poor time management and achievement focus’.
Regardless of the babble, one thing we can certainly be sure of is that a lot of people procrastinate, and thus it can’t really be inherently ‘wrong’.
Some of my best ideas have come as a result of procrastinating. Idly letting my mind tick over while I listen to factual documentaries can give me ideas for my stories. I absorb information and interests best when I’m not too focused on the topic, but also not entirely disengaged.
It’s like my mind goes into two places at once. One place is a relaxed state of not doing whatever I’m trying to do and just enjoying the stolen downtime. The other place is knowing I should be working and therefore automatically also thinking about my writing.
As a result, whatever I am taking in enters my head through the filter of Hevna… and often, therefore, becomes useful.
This habit is certainly responsible for the next short story I will be writing when I vacation in April.
If you don’t have a boss breathing down your neck, and no one will die if you don’t do your task right now… let yourself procrastinate.
It’s not a flaw.
It’s not a problem.
It’s not an issue you need to overcome.
It’s a normal part of you, and while sometimes you have to push through to tick your box for the day… it’s ok if you don’t do it immediately, before 10am, and let your mind stew and spin. Sometimes, it can even be good for you!
I’ll be back on Friday with pictures from my painting project, and a post about editing. See you then!