Why not let go of procrastination
It was years ago when my high school home room teacher said, “Marie, you are a procrastinator.” When I asked her what the word meant, Miss Foley replied, “Look it up!”
So I did—and never forgot the word nor its meaning.
Pro·cras·ti·nate: to postpone doing something, especially as a regular practice (from Latin procrastinare “to put off until tomorrow”).
By that definition, I still qualify as a procrastinator.
My daughter, who also is a writer, says that all writers procrastinate. She said it is difficult to reveal your soul. And I know that’s true—it is called “writer’s block.”
But when I told my son that I was writing about procrastination this week, he said that’s something everyone can relate to. He’s right, most everyone procrastinates at times.
It’s very easy to say, “I’ll do it later.”
Procrastination is so common, in fact, that there is a National Procrastination Week (the second week in March).
People put things off because they’re difficult and they don’t want to do them, or because they have too many other things on their plates. Putting things off is part of being human.
Procrastination has external consequences, but the internal consequences are worse. Procrastination leaves you feeling out of control, incompetent, and self-critical.
Psychologist Linda Sapadin, who wrote “It’s About Time!,” says, “Procrastination is like a credit card. It’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.”
The full title of Sapadin’s book is “It’s About Time!: The Six Styles of Procrastination and How to Overcome Them.”
This book has comical pictures of all six styles of procrastination, with a chart of their characteristics. The six styles are perfectionists, dreamers, worriers, defiers, crisis-makers, and over-doers.
Perfectionists expect themselves to be perfect and often are paralyzed by their expectations. They spend excessive time and energy doing something in an effort to get it done perfectly.
In the meantime, deadlines come and go.
Dreamers are preoccupied with fantasies or plans, some of which are unrealistic. But when it comes to carrying out their fantasies, they hate dealing with “those bothersome details.”
Worriers, on the other hand, play it safe. They prefer the safety of the known to the risk of the unknown—even at the risk of leaving important things undone.
Defiers are the most devious of the procrastinators, often being passive-aggressive. “I won’t do it,” they say, “because she told me to do it!”
Crisis-makers often say, “I work best under pressure” or “I do my best work with a deadline.” Unfortunately, they sometimes cut it too close and go into crisis mode.
And over-doers can’t say “No.” They are unable to set priorities and they never get everything done, especially the important things.
So if you’re one of the many procrastinators in the world, figure out what your style is.
Do you take on too much? Does everything have to be perfect? Are you a dreamer instead of a doer? Do you worry too much? Or do you say, “Nobody is going to tell me what to do?”
Once you know your style, let go of your negative behaviours. Set your priorities and stick to them. And just imagine how much better your life will be without procrastination!
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.visit-snider.com
Why not let go of procrastination