So I’ll say it: We’re famous for never getting anything done, at least not done on time.
But honestly, that’s not a procrastinator’s biggest problem. (It’s the biggest problem for the people around them.)
The biggest problem is that procrastinating is a hugely unsatisfying way to live. It’s perhaps the least satisfying, actually. Here’s why:
The hallmark of a procrastinator isn’t actually the whole taking-forever-to-do-things thing. Actually, it’s the manic bursts and sleepy doldrums pattern of working that makes being a procrastinator so maddening. It’s the fact that we can’t ever rest, not really.
Recently, I took a staycation (okay, not that recently: It was back in July). I took my Wednesday-Friday staycation, expecting to feel relaxed. It started on my birthday.
Relaxation didn’t happen. Oh, there were moments where the wonderful excess of vacation time and reasonably good weather stretched before me like a cat in the sun, but because I’d been procrastinating on putting up new blog content, and spinning my wheels in the plotting stage of a novel, and never running as long as I meant to each day, the long stretches caused anxiety, stimulating my mostly dormant self-improvement gland to have thoughts like:
- If I start right now, I can do the rest of the year’s worth of Wednesday blog posts by the time I have to stop and make dinner.
- If I start right now, I can write a thing to enter that writing contest which closes at midnight tonight.
- If I start right now, I might be able to complete the entire plot arc of my novel in before the weekend is over.
- If I start right now, I can run 10 miles before I have to shower and make dinner.
See a pattern? Obviously I never did “start right now” so along with relaxing, which I’d been hoping for, was a heaping side dish of guilt.
Does this sound familiar?
Obviously the only real solution is to not procrastinate as much, which would allow me to effectively separate my leisure and work times into two distinct, pathos-free pieces. Probably won’t happen. According to all the research, procrastinating is a personality type.
What would you do about this problem? Do you have a more effective way to shut down the taskmaster (other than through utter defiant inertia, like I do)? Care to share?