Procrastination. It’s an ugly word, concept, and action, yet we all do it (well maybe except for some of those oddballs, you know the ones I’m talking about). But for the rest of us, it is something we do on a daily basis. We procrastinate doing our homework, doing chores around the house, buying groceries. Heck, my mom, who is nearing fifty, still waits until two days before her Master’s projects are due. So what is this phenomenon and how do we destroy it?
Call me pessimistic, but procrastination can only be trained. In my experience, that desire to wait until the night before to write a ten paged paper (which I have pulled off successfully and miraculously by the way) will never go away. You have to train the procrastination monster to shut up so you can finally do whatever it is you needed to do. But if you are anything like me, the procrastination monster will have a plethora of excuses armed and ready to fire at you to convince you that waiting and stressing at the last minute is beneficial. Let’s explore these excuses.
“I’m just not feeling inspired.”
Ah, yes, this one’s my personal favorite. As a writer, I can’t tell you how many times I have told myself this in order to not get to working on my novel/short stories. Even my writing buddies have used this shameful excuse publicly. Why do I call it shameful? Because waiting for inspiration is BS. That’s right; I said it. You think Steven King waits until the wonderful writing muse comes down and sings her inspirational music so he can write his novels? I do not know him personally, but I can tell you that the answer is no. I know this because all great authors have to face deadlines. And if Mr. King is anything like you and me, then this muse will not come down enough to inspire him to finish his novels before his deadlines. BAM! Mr. King is out of a career. Well maybe not because he is well liked, but you know what I mean.
Do not use the muse as an excuse. Train the muse to come down when you need to. When you train the muse, you train the procrastination monster.
“There’s just too much work to do.”
Okay, this one’s not much of an excuse because the amount of work is not going to change no matter how long you wait. So why do we make this excuse? Because we see the work as being something that has to be done in one sitting, when more than likely it doesn’t need to be. This is an easy fix. Promise yourself that you’ll do a little bit of work every day as to relieve yourself of the entirety of the work and remember that the amount of work doesn’t change regardless of how long you put it off. Of course telling yourself you’ll do this leads into our next excuse:
“I just reaaaaaally don’t want to do it right now.”
This is how I combat this logic: Set a timer on your phone for fifteen minutes. Sit down in front of your work and work that entire fifteen minutes and when you’re done, you may do something else. Chances are, you’ll end up getting wrapped up in what you’re working on and will work past the timer. If not, that’s fine, at least you got some work done. Repeat this as necessary until it becomes habit.
I believe that these are the most common excuses people use to justify procrastinating. Just remember that the difference between you and someone who does their work in a timely matter isn’t that they necessarily enjoy the work more (because they probably don’t), but that they do it anyways.
If you have any procrastination combat tips, please comment below! I’d love to hear from you 🙂
See you next Wednesday!