HEY WRITER, are you a procrastinator? Then you’re in good company. Everyone procrastinates at times. Everyone. At any given time, it’s estimated that 20% of people are procrastinating some aspect of their lives.
“You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet.
You have to be in the right mood.
What mood is that?
― Bill Watterson
Students often procrastinate studying, employees put off completing reports, and everyone lags in their housework sometimes. Writers, of course, may very well be procrastinating while they seem to be working…
Both on or off-duty, people’s lives are impacted by their failure to take (timely) action. It’s pretty normal to put things off for a variety of reasons, but if it becomes a habit, it can be a problem that needs fixing.
Why Do We Procrastinate?
There’s a wide range of reasons why we procrastinate, but the most important thing to remember is that procrastination isn’t a time management issue. It runs deeper than that.
Procrastinators don’t put things off by hitting the snooze button too many times. They are usually driven by internal aversions that they may or may not be aware of.
We procrastinate for a variety of reasons, usually to avoid feeling afraid or overwhelmed. Sometimes we procrastinate because we don’t know what to do first, so we do nothing at all. As writers, we also have a tendency to get stuck in prep and research when we’d be better off just writing.
Is Procrastination Necessarily Bad?
No. It really isn’t. Sometimes procrastination can be positive, especially if you have a tendency to be impulsive. Oftentimes, holding back a bit before you take action leads to better results. Here are some great examples of situations where procrastinating can be beneficial:
- To help you sort out what’s important: We tend to take quick action on the things we love. It’s not hard to convince ourselves to get up off the couch and grab some ice cream. Procrastination can make us aware of tasks and activities that we really don’t need in our lives. If we consistently put something off, it may be an indicator that this particular thing isn’t, or shouldn’t be, a priority. If you repeatedly avoid a task, maybe it’s time to delete it from your schedule?
- To reduce regret: Acting on an impulse can cause a whole heap of problems. If procrastination buys you enough time to think things through and avoid making mistakes or regrettable decisions, that’s a huge benefit.
- It may increase your productivity: If you’re an active procrastinator you may actually get more things done while you procrastinate. Active procrastinators fill their time with less important, but still meaningful, tasks in order to avoid doing the activity they don’t want to do. This can lead to a cleaner home, more calories burned, and other actions cleared from your to-do list. Many writers prefer working in sprints and swear that they help them write more and better.
Procrastination is an activity (!) we all engage in from time to time. It’s perfectly normal, but if you’re not mindful it may become a hindering habit.
Keep track of the things you put off to see if you can discern any patterns. What is it you keep putting off? And why? Watch out for warning signs that procrastination is starting to affect you in negative ways. If you find proof, you may need to take action.
Questions of the Day:
– What benefits does (your) procrastination give you?
– Has (your) procrastination affected you negatively?
Let’s talk in the comments below, or send me your response via socials/email.
If you want to take on the 30 Days to Beat Procrastination challenge, follow the links below.
Thank you for being here today! I hope you had a good time and I look forward to seeing you again.
© Evalena Styf, 2020