A colleague of mine once complained of always forgetting to get things done. One advised him to buy a daily planner.
“What if I forget the planner itself?”
The question set us all to mute mode as if trying to find a solution to give the forgetful but resistant guy! But what if he really forgot the planner, in which he may have remembered to write something in?
Well, for some people whose weakness is forgetting, getting a daily planner could work wonders. In fact, a daily planner might be all they need.
Now, imagine a procrastinator. A person who always defers stuff and says, “I will do it later,” or tomorrow, next week and even worse, I will start next year. You definitely know that person is a bigger problem if they start making plans to make plans! For all I know, a daily planner could be the greatest tool of destruction a procrastinator could ever get. Why?
Of course, they will have even a better chance to jot down stuff and move them to later! Procrastinators often know exactly what they should be doing, (even if they cannot do it), which is why very detailed schedules usually are no help.
Procrastination has become a lifestyle for many people. It has become somewhat chronic and maladaptive for most people to postpone almost everything; we don’t pay bills on time, we only do our Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve, pile unnecessary work for the last moment and fail to meet deadlines.
How many times have you wanted to do something you kept putting off until the idea became stale? Writers have new splendid ideas they want to explore and research on, but they sit on it all the time telling themselves they will do it tomorrow. The next thing, they wake up to a rival newspaper headline on what they had been stalling!
And this is all because of procrastination. Even the ordinary person puts off going to town and ends up missing on buying tickets to a wonderful concert because they got sold out the day he or she decided to defer their trip to the mall.
According to Wikipedia, procrastination is a behavior which is characterized by deferment of actions or tasks to a later time. The word itself comes from the Latin word procrastinatus: pro- (forward) and crastinus (of tomorrow).
Psychologists, however, often cite procrastination as a mechanism for coping with the anxiety associated with starting or completing any task or decision. The online source also states that Psychology researchers also have three criteria they use to categorize procrastination that is, for a behavior to be classified as procrastination, it must be counterproductive, needless, and delaying.
It is amazing though that procrastinators lie to themselves immensely. They tend to believe “I’ll feel more like doing this tomorrow.” Or “I work best under pressure.” But in fact they do not get the urge the next day or work worst under pressure! In addition, they protect their sense of self by saying “this isn’t important.” Another big lie procrastinators indulge in is that time pressure makes them more creative. Unfortunately, they do not turn out to be more creative; they only feel that way. They squander their resources.
There are times when procrastinators even seek distractions to avoid doing what they are supposed to be doing. A lot of times, when I am sitting in front of the computer and have tones of assignments to complete, the best distraction for me is checking the mail or, better, logging on to Facebook. This indeed is because I am a procrastinator.
I told someone earlier on that if there were prizes for the Best Procrastinators Of All Time, I would definitely scoop first prize!
This is a trait I actively use as a distraction because I want to postpone carrying out that research or typing that paper that takes a lot of my energy.
There are times when I had been caught wanting because of missed deadlines, and this is not because I am too dumb to catch up with the pace set by the lecturer or anything but because of always making myself believe that I will do it on the day of submission or a night before as I “work best under pressure”.
I have also found myself having had at least a month to do something and only always reminding myself that I had more than enough time to do it. I would imagine, (I can do this in a week; I don’t need a month for this!) But all is never merry because by that last week something else could have come up and time would be lost. Admittedly though, sometime it is due to fear of failure, just as some people do. We always anticipate success and the thought of failing just causes us to set off any idea to start up, sometime it is because of mere laziness.
The belief that we work best under pressure is really a winner. Of course, when we are under pressure it means we have no other choice but to complete the task we are faced with then, simply because we have no more time to move the task forward to.
It should be known to us all that there is not a single free day, even when you believe “my weekends are specifically for me to be lazy, watching TV, getting drunk or sleeping”. The shelve still needs to be dusted, the dishes from last night, the laundry or even cooking lunch for the day still remains on the “to do list.”
We can never steal time from tomorrow. In fact, by procrastinating it is our time for today that we steal, and we can never stretch our hands back to yesterday to re-do things, can we? Isn’t it better to do it today rather than wait for tomorrow?