To procrastinate or not? That’s the question

note and pencilAt this time of the year when I’m recovering from all the summer visitors and the upside down lifestyle changes the summer brings I find myself looking forward to getting back to normal and struggling to recall what normal was like. Although I was able to publish two posts each week this summer, I fell behind when it came to replying to comments and visiting other blogs and leaving comments.

I’m considering how to approach the autumn. I have contracted work to do as well as work in our small business and blogging.  I feel overwhelmed and  I’m developing a strong desire to procrastinate.  I know from past experiences that dealing with things as they come amounts to choosing to go into crisis mode, and I know how much of an energy drain and threat to my health it is to deal with crisis after crisis.

Without doubt developing a schedule is what I must do but I’m feeling defiant. Rather than setting priorities and developing a  timeline I’ve been doing some reading about procrastination and discussing it with other bloggers.  (Laugh, it’s okay.  :D  )

Procrastination,  Perfectionism and Depression

Procrastination is a type of avoidance behavior where a person puts off tasks because of hectic schedules or because the tasks are unpleasant or uninteresting.  Until I did some reading,  I didn’t recognize there were such  strong connections between procrastination,  perfectionism, and depression.  Lifestyle changes are  difficult for anyone to cope with and even more challenging for perfectionists. Like procrastination, depression involves a failure to act.   It’s one of the things that characterizes depression—lack of energy and motivation.

In order to break the procrastination habit, we need to get past the idea that in order to write, we must have all the information pertaining to the topic, and we must have optimal writing conditions. In reality, writers never have all the information, and conditions are never optimal. — Procrastination

I read Leo Babuta’s My Fav Procrastination Hack – 30-10 and also read Alexander Kjerulf’s unique approach. He says sometimes procrastinating is exactly the right thing to do at a particular moment, and he uses it as away to recharge and get blogging ideas.  How to procrastinate effectively

Organizing, scheduling, updating to-do lists

When I decided to purchase a domain for this blog I  set these goals. This week I will be recharging and reviewing my goals. I’ll be setting my priorities, developing a timeline, organizing, and making adjustments to my to-do lists.

For those of us who are procrastinators, Toodledo has a special tool that analyzes dates, priorities, time estimates, and other characteristics to create a customized schedule of the best use of your time. And rememberthemilk is also an excellent organizational choice  for scheduling your time.

Discussion

  1. Do you have difficulty starting or completing tasks because your standards are too high?
  2. Do you think a lot about what you’d like to accomplish but rarely get projects off the ground?
  3. Do you hesitate to leave your comfort zone, avoiding situations that cause stress or anxiety?
  4. Do you ignore important tasks, then, at the last-minute work frantically to get them done?
  5. Do you become irritable or argumentative when asked to do something you don’t want to do?
  6. Do you have difficulty saying “No” to people who ask for help but feel resentful later on?

Take Linda Sapadin’s  A Procrastination Mini-Quiz and find out what type of procrastinator you are and what you can do to overcome procrastination.

What’s your procrastination type and how does it affect your blogging?

18 thoughts on “To procrastinate or not? That’s the question

  1. Fertile topic, Timethief. The huge huge irony for me is this: in my prior life in banking I was a project manager, fondly(!) nicknamed the Project Dominatrix in most workplaces for the way I “helped” folks create meticulous plans and then held their feet to the fire. Meanwhile, I was a monster procrastinator myself (all six ways) and truly miserable in the whole Catch-22 of it. Now I am doing what I love, including write two blogs, one as a paid job, procrastination is mostly a think of the past. The one remaining procrastination-inducer is shyness – the concept of not speaking until spoken to is so deeply engrained that the prospect of approaching a stranger can still paralyse me. I’m getting better – again change of career helped: my experience to date is that people in the wine trade are far more likely to be approachable and welcoming when I do screw up my courage, that I’m getting better at getting over myself and making first contacts. Now I’m off to send this link to a friend… thank you, as always.

    1. @Cynthia,
      Thanks for your comment. I always find what you have to say is interesting to read. I smiled when I read your description of holding feet to the fire while procrastinating yourself. I can’t identify at with being shy but I can empathize as I can clearly see how that can induce procrastination. Best wishes in all you do.

  2. I am completely procrastinator 1,2,3 and 4… and in fact, even being here is actually me procrastinating. i have heaps of photos waiting to be edited, but here i am… *sigh. oh the irony.

    but thanks for an awesome post!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Kerry. Now get to work and organize those priorities by making a list, which in and of itself can become yet another way of procrastinating. ;)

  3. How timely. Some major happens may or may not happen for me. So am in limbo state right now. Great excuse for procrastination.

    So I plug away at the simpler stuff that needs to be done in life, regardless of bigger things that might arise on horizon.

    1. There are always small tasks that must be done and I’m glad to do them with one exception and that’s dish washing. Some are repetitive and don’t require much thoughtfulness to complete. They allow my mind to escape from being in the task and to daydream while still completeing them . :)

  4. I do maintain a to-do list and calendar that it synced between my Mac and iPhone. Furthermore, I have never missed a deadline as far as I can remember. However, my problem is that I usually wait until there is *just* enough time for me to finish my tasks. I can’t help but worry when that would eventually boomerang on me.

    What I’m trying now is to segment the larger tasks into smaller ones, so that I won’t be discouraged by the immensity of the task. This also prevents boredom because there are various smaller tasks to do everyday.

    Thanks for the great post. I hope you drop by my site if you have the time. :)

    1. When it comes to my contracted work I am motivated to complete prior to deadlines as I have experienced becoming ill and missing deadline dates. My approach is to divide all big tasks into small chunks too. I don’t work at any given task for more than 45 minutes and then I take a break. I did frop by your site and it’s shaping up quite neciely – blog on! :)

  5. One of your best posts ever. The idea that procrastination, perfectionism, and depression are all linked seems so obvious after seeing it in print. And your insight that “taking things as they come” is really choosing to enter crisis mode is all too accurate. I took that mini-quiz, and I seem to be all 6 types of procrastinator– arrrggghhh!

    1. Hello there Mark,
      It’s always good to here from you. Thanks for the compliment. At any given point in time we may be displaying one procrastination type or more, and at other points in time we may be displaying different types. Given that we could probably lay claim to multiple procrastination types. :)

      I think the most valuable part of the quiz is the Tips for Changing Procrastination Patterns found on page 2.

  6. I think everyone is guilty of procrastination at some time, maybe many times. Unless we live completely unconnected and uninvolved, responsibilities mount up. For me, part of the solution — a big part — is being able to say no, both to myself and to others. I have to realize that there is only so much I can do well. When I can say no, the remaining responsibilities don’t seem so overwhelming. This was a big lesson for me to learn, as I always thought I should say yes to everything and everyone.

    Another device that helps me a lot is a little discussion I have with myself. It goes along the lines that I know I am going to do this task eventually. I can either do it now and have time to spend on it, or I can do it at the last minute, and then it is a rush job and I don’t feel happy about doing it. Either way, I’m going to do it, so why not do it now and get it behind me. Often, this acknowledgement to myself is all it takes for me to get going and get it done.

    Kathleen

    1. @Kathleen,
      Thanks so much for sharing your astute observations. I also check in deep inside myself like you describe in your second paragraph. Like you I find that taking the time to chat with myself does help me analyize why I am delaying, to sort priotities, and it also motivated me to organize so I can get what needs to be done accomplished. Thanks for commenting.

  7. I’ve just started my own personal blog after months of saying I was going to start one, mainly because I’m a major procrastinator. According to that quiz it looks like I’m afflicted with perfectionist, dreamer and crisis-maker forms of procrastination! Excuses were that I didn’t have the right title, I wasn’t exactly sure what I’d write about, (if I even could write), I wasn’t sure how to make it look as I wanted…

    The thing that’s finally given me the push (and unfortunately I seem to always need a push, whether it’s a deadline or something else) is the fact that I’m having to look for another job, and the process had me searching for a creative outlet for my writing – blogging was perfect. So finally it’s up and running. Now, I’ve just got to battle the procrastinator in me who wants to put off writing posts!

    I will add though that I do think that sometimes it’s a good thing to procrastinate. Perfectionism can be crippling at times but at others the hesitation is your conscience telling you that whatever you’re doing, you could be doing it better. As with all things, tis a matter of balance…

    1. @hokey
      I’m glad you found value in my posts. Yes, without doubt maintaining a balance is the way to go. I chose to procrastinate when it came to publishing in my personal blog this week. I need a break and I took one. IMO it’s important for bloggers to recognize when they need blogging vacations and to act on that. Thanks for the comment.

  8. Hi TT!

    I was taken back by the discussion questions and thought of how I would approach each situation. I did some introspection and I’m very much a procrastinator & a perfectionist, and a wee bit depressed.

    Regarding questions one and two: When you think of of a set of standards for whatever it is you’re doing, they tend to be so high that they involve a lot of work to be accomplished. Because you know that it’s a daunting task, you suddenly put off doing/starting it but remain preoccupied with it. All thinking and no action, so to speak.

    For the third question, I consider myself a proponent of change, although when occurred radically, I can get pretty stressed out. Gradual change is much more desirable.

    I’m proud to say that I seldom avoid tasks, especially if they are of utmost importance. Imperative activities have to be identified and carried out first, so as to prevent last-minute disasters. But of course, anything undesirable can happen towards the end of your tasks, so a back-up plan has to be ready.

    For the last two questions: Most of the time, I get irritated when someone asks me to do something for them. Often, I would wish that they knew how to do things so I wouldn’t be disrupted from my own tasks. Sometimes, I turn them down but then, my conscience would bother me and so, I turn back and help them out. It can be depressing being a good samaritan. :D

    Cheers!

    1. @Rogue|Hero
      Without doubt perfectionism, procrastination, and depression are linked for me. I have learned the hard way to be organized and to avoid allowing anyone else set my priorties for me. We sound like we have the same personality type and are inclined to share the same procrasintation type too. As we have come to know each other I’m not surprised by what you shared. :) Like you I do all the important tasks first. The only time I become really stressed out is when I didn’t have a back-up plan B and plan A went off the rails.

  9. timethief – This is a great topic. I definitely have the challenge of #1 – perfectionism. I also do procrastinate small tasks that I dislike doing like getting gas, putting hydrogen peroxide in the water tank. Then these undone tasks grind away in my mind. When I don’t think about them and just do them, it’s far easier.

    In August, I followed J. D. Meier’s free online course called 30-days of Getting Results the Agile Way at http://www.sourcesofinsight.com and I found it so useful. He recommends planning in 3’s: 3 outcomes for the week, 3 outcomes for the day, and so on. He says it’s easier for the mind to think in 3’s. I found this approach, presented in the first few days of the course, extremely useful to take the edge off of having too much to do. He also talks about “sloughing off” – just letting things outside your priorities in groups of three go. It was really helpful to me and it’s still all up there for anyone that wants to check it out.

    I have a task to finish tonight so I’d better be off. I might be procrastinating right now! Thanks for the interesting topic. I’m sure you will get back into the flow soon. Looks like you already are.

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