Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Procrastination – What We Let Slip

I’ll be the first to admit it…I’m a world class procrastinator. (Although, based on my amateur research, I may not technically meet the psychological criteria to be a “real” procrastinator.)

Like so many aspiring writers, I have a day job and my day job is stressful. My job requires long days and sometimes evening and weekend work. Occasionally, I have to travel and hole up at luxurious hotels. Poor me, I know. But it’s still my job. It’s what I do to earn money, no more, no less. If I had limitless resources and leisure time, my job is not what I would choose to do every day.

My writing is big part of how I would spend my time, even if I had all of the money, time and energy in the world.

At work, I am hyper-organized and meticulous. Outside of work, not so much. I’ve always justified this inconsistency as being the necessary balance I need to stay alert and on top of my job. These chores weigh on my mind but I know I don’t have to do them. The tasks I let wait – meet ups with friends, haircuts, shopping trips – may not seem like life and death but they all have something in common. They affect my personal well-being.

So, I have to ask myself, why am I choosing to sacrifice my personal pleasures, daily conveniences and even my appearance? Because they don’t truly matter to me? No. Because my job is more important than my well-being? No!

The answer is: because I can.

I let my personal affairs slip because I have control over these tasks. If I drop the ball at work, there are repercussions. Someone’s life is negatively affected. My professional reputation suffers. I may even be sued.

But when I let myself down, I don’t have to worry about any of those consequences. The only one who suffers is me. And I let myself suffer (and, by extension, my friends and family who go without seeing me for long stretches of time or who have to see me with my hair all long and wild. (Scary time). How sad is that?

Put down in black and white like this, it doesn’t make sense. The point is, it never made sense. But I did it, and I keep doing it (although I have gotten better).

So, how do you avoid this kind of behaviour and the negative affects it has on you? Well, I’ve researched that too. But I also have some tips that have helped me break the cycle. Tune in tomorrow. Dat dat daaaaah…!

Photo courtesy of graur razvan ionut at

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