Procrastination…….by Charmaine Paul


It’s just a word for many in an English dictionary, but for me it happens every day.  So I had to write this article on creative writing, I kept on thinking everyday what shall I write? How shall I start writing?  But you know what I didn’t because for me the action of delaying or postponing things kept my head busy and so the word itself justifies it. (Procrastination)

(Flash back) How did I end up with this word? That’s another fascinating story. I was going through my phone and I found friend’s picture online which was very intriguing to me from there I saw her status and it said “procrastination”. Then I googled it and I found it means delaying tactics. The word compelled me to put it as my status. In college, the sudden unbridled personal freedom was inappropriate for me—I did things which interest me, for all the reasons. But the weekends go by and I never catch up. I don’t use the time well. Time is not what I’m short on, even though that’s what I tell myself all week.

Sometimes I do sit down early in the day and pound something out, but then I give myself a well-deserved break and that’s usually the end of any productivity. I end up clicking around on the internet, then clean up, then watch a bit of a documentary online, then try to work again, and then get distracted. Then I decide to wait until after supper to do some work, then I start reading something after supper, then if I’m still home, so I decide I’ll get an early start the next day.

I avoid taking on the real important stuff. I create work of secondary importance so that I never have to confront the really worthwhile things. I take breaks that turn into written-off days. I am addicted to hanging it up for the night, to letting myself off the hook. The important stuff doesn’t get done, at least not before my ‘procrastinatory’ tendencies have created an obvious, impending consequence of not doing it, like incurring a fine, really letting someone down.

So much of what I want to do isn’t terribly difficult and wouldn’t take a lot of time to get done. Looking at my projects list now I have items like: typography designs by tomorrow, Branding of a magazine and get it printed. And many of them have been sitting there for weeks or months. I have the most bizarre aversion to tackling things. For what I’m capable of, I have been a resoundingly unproductive person. Almost every Sunday night I mourn another blown opportunity to catch up, and throughout every week I am leaning towards the next weekend. The weeks fly by, and if weeks are flying by, so are months. How we spend our days is how we spend our lives, and I’ve had enough of this.  I did some research on where procrastination comes from, which was frankly quite alarming to me and shed a sorely-needed light on why I have had such confounding, persistent trouble with getting ordinary things done.

 The real causes of procrastination

 I am not lazy. I have no shortage of energy, I have no interest in lounging on the couch, and I never wear pajamas all day. Waking up after 7:30 is sleeping in for me, even on a Saturday. I actually like Studying. Yet I exhibit a consistent failure to work through my day-to-day tasks, errands and projects in any manner than could be considered timely.

You see, procrastinators tend to be people who have, for whatever reason, developed to perceive an unusually strong association between their performance and their value as a person.

But in real life, you can’t avoid doing things. We have to earn a living, have difficult conversations sometimes. Human life requires confronting uncertainty and risk, so pressure mounts. Procrastination gives a person a temporary hit of relief from this pressure of “having to do” things, which is a self-rewarding behaviour. Particularly prone to serious procrastination problems are children who grew up with unusually high expectations placed on them. Their older siblings may have been high achievers leaving big shoes to fill.

I have always been a procrastinator.  Even back in grades 6 & 7, when I had my first term projects, I would leave them to the last minute.  It wasn’t uncommon for me to be finishing my work in a panic: sometimes a mild panic, sometimes a panicked panic.

 For the most part, I’ve been able to “fake it” – to cover up my procrastination with a final dedicated effort as I approach the deadline.

This is obviously an inaccurate presumption, and I’m intellectually aware of that, but when it comes down to confronting it “in the field” it’s amazing how tricky the mind can be. I have a lifetime of habits routing me away from striving for prizes in life, and towards protecting myself.

Once a pattern of procrastination is established, it can be perpetuated for reasons other than the fear of failure. For example, if you know you have a jury coming for your creative thinking of taking weeks to finally do something that might only take two hours if you weren’t averse to it, you begin to see every non-simple task as a potentially endless struggle. So a modest list of 10-12 medium-complexity to-do’s might represent to you an insurmountable amount of work, so it feels hopeless just to start one little part of one task. This ‘procrastination’ is just a word which is said it just overwhelms response, and life gets really fascinating when you are a Design student, if it can be imagined it exists really easily.

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