The Challenge of Procrastination

As a younger person I think I held the CEO position of the Procrastinator’s Club.  I mean, I lived by Scarlett O’Hara’s favorite line: “….I’ll worry about it tomorrow.”  But, think about the word; it even conjures up a sense of darkness, don’t you think?  However, now, I’ve become very hard on myself, and have very little tolerance for dawdling.  Okay, I’ll be honest – I goof off from time to time as I spend precious minutes going from Facebook to Twitter, web surfing, and back again while waiting for my creativity to surface.  I’d like to call that my writing process.  But, I’ve read that being hard on yourself is a side effect of procrastination.  Who knew?  But, my attitude has changed with age.

As I perused the inventory for an appropriate illustration to go with this post, I noticed many images of lazy people – all  under the heading of procrastination.  Personally, I don’t consider laziness the same thing – is this wrong or is that all a part of  literalism?  I recognize a lazy person as someone who won’t do anything.  On the other hand someone who puts off a project is still busy; only in doing other things.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this is bad, it’s just non-productive – making them fit into the, “I’ll get around to it one of these days” category.  In any event, as a writer there is no room to put off working; no goals will ever be met by “getting to it later.”  Maybe to combat the disease one should try small exercises.  Like that pile of papers needing to be shredded;  do it now – then, reward yourself.  I am still haunted at times by the ghost of incompletion.  I have a couple of “started and not finished” works in one of my Word folders.  It took me a long time to realize, but this too is a part of unreliability, even if it is only to myself, and that’s where it all begins, with oneself.  I understand this illness is connected to perfectionism.  Now, I know there is no such thing.  Did you know that?  I believe a person has to walk around telling themselves – “No one can be perfect.” That in itself will solve lots of problems.

I have read that procrastinating helps one cope with the anxiety of beginning a task. Okay, but what if you’re not anxious? What happens when this “word” becomes a way of life?  Like I said this can be chronic for some people.  One has to know, to be otherwise is definitely a learned experience; a process that has to be continued day after day, and don’t laugh, but even prayed over.  Think back to your school days, be it high school or college.  But, first, if you are a putter offer – ask yourself, have you been this way since earlier years?  Unlike creative writing, those class assignments had real-time constraints. I am, of course, excluding edits and deadlines from a publisher.

I have found over the years, for myself, I do my best writing early in the morning, and why is that?  It’s simply; my editor is still asleep – she’s not conscious enough to point anything out.  When I write in the first part of the day, I have a strong sense of calm.  Things that have taken place during the day have not made an impact on me yet.  When you realize getting the work done gives you a good reputation, then it becomes easier.  It’s painless to peer back at that person in the mirror.  I mean, you wouldn’t tell your child you’ll do something, and then put it off until whenever, that won’t give you a good image.  Or that job for the boss; don’t wait for the self loathing to kick in before you get it done.  So, what’s the cure for this horrendous stealer of time? JUST DO IT.  Tell me what you think.

Although this is not a Holiday blog today, don’t you love what Word Press has done with the snowflakes? Oh, also, if you’re here – as always I’d ask you to scroll up the page a bit, and “like” my FB Fan Page. Hey, thank you in advance.

Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto


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