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I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Art of Procrastination

Why is it that we procrastinate? I seem to have perfected nothing else in my life but the ability to put off for tomorrow, or the next day, those things which should be accomplished today.

Yes, even as I sit here typing this I am procrastinating a deadline.

Why is that? Writing is the thing that I love most in the world. Generally, it doesn’t even matter what the assignment is, I just love the fact that I can sit down at my computer and create something with my words that someone else needs. I do have a selfish streak, I know. There are days when I just can’t write another technical word. I miss the creative side of me that doesn’t pay when I’m bogged down with “real” writing assignments. Still, even when my time is my own, and I can write those projects that fuel my soul, I have a grand tendency to procrastinate.

I think part of it has to do with the negative influences we let into our lives. I put off the task because I’m afraid my best won’t be good enough in some manner. Whether it be money, creativity, what my editor or employer thinks of me, or how much house work I’ve neglected this week, a million little negative thoughts can all jumble together into one big stumbling block of procrastination.

I’ll do it just as soon as I check my email; that assignment I’ve been waiting on may have come through.
I’ll do it just as soon as I give the dog a bath, I can smell her from here.
I’ll start again just as soon as I finish jotting down the thought I had for another project.
I can’t do it now; the kids will be home in 10 minutes.
I’m getting a headache; I can’t look at this screen for another minute.
I just remembered I haven’t balanced the checkbook, scrubbed the grout in the bathroom, or had that oral surgery, for months now. I’d better take care of it while I’m still thinking of it.
There’s a piece of pie in the refrigerator that is calling my name, I simply can’t concentrate until it’s gone.

The list of excuses could go on and on, but I’d really like to get to the bottom of this procrastination problem. It seems the more I put something off, the less energy I have for it. I put it off again and the nasty cycle begins all over again until I dread the very idea of the thing but I have to do it or else. So, dear reader, what is your favorite procrastination tool and your theory about why we procrastinate?

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