We all procrastinate. We put off making that colonoscopy appointment, dinner with an overbearing friend, difficult meeting with a colleague, going to the gym or mowing the lawn because, quite frankly, there are other things we’d rather do. But that doesn’t mean that we’re all textbook procrastinators.
Psychology Today defines procrastinators as those who “chronically avoid difficult tasks and may deliberately look for distractions.”
I knew a procrastinator who also happened to be a perfectionist. There were certain duties that he simply wouldn’t do because if he couldn’t do them perfectly, there was no point in even starting. Kind of a defeatist mentality there, but it was what he saw as reality.
Another friend was a procrastinator of a different type. She would go shopping, browse Facebook and read magazines while deadlines lumbered closer and closer. Eventually, she would spring into action, work feverishly, sometimes through the night, to meet said deadline before it clobbered her. Then, in a euphoric state, she would reward herself by going shopping. Again. Would that stress me out? Yes. But she seemed to have a handle on it.
I remember a writing assignment in college that I kept ignoring and ignoring. Finally, I could put it off no longer. I scrambled to pull my sources together and wrote furiously for an entire day. Just as I was nearing completion, one of my kids began moaning pitifully, followed by eruptive disturbances from multiple body regions. Thus ended my last-ditch attempt to write a coherent paper, and my dalliance with full-on procrastination, though I still dabble from time to time. I learned the hard way, to follow Benjamin Franklin's advice, and not put off until tomorrow what I can do today.
You too can cut the ties to procrastination, or at least loosen them a bit. I recommend trying soon, like, right after a nap.