I happened to notice that today is “Fight Procrastination Day”. That’s a great topic for a post I thought…if only I could get round to writing something. I jest of course!
But it did get me thinking – has procrastination become a bad word? The idea of nominating a day in which we all dress up as superheroes to wrestle with our wandering minds and distractions left me a bit confused. It’s like when you were a child at school and were told to stop staring out of the window and daydreaming (that’s a whole other blog post!).
Procrastination is often seen as coping mechanism which we use to avoid (consciously or unconsciously) events or actions which we perceive to be challenging. We’ve all experienced it – knowing we need to make an important phone call but we keep putting it off, or needing to meet a deadline but we can’t get started. Often it is because we are focussing on the possible outcomes and we start to project our fears onto how it may play out…what if I give my opinion and they don’t like it, what if I submit this work and it’s not good enough. It can become problematic when we repeatedly avoid or delay situations by giving in to those fears. It can affect how other people view us, and it also leads to greater frustration and doubt within ourselves.
But I also think that procrastination can be helpful. It’s like having an inner alarm that sounds when we are about to do something new, and makes us that little bit more cautious. When we have something that is really important to us, taking that pause to think about what we are going to do, and considering it’s possible implications can be a good thing. Listening to those fears can highlight where we need to do a little more preparation or learning, which can in turn increase our confidence. It can stop us going gung-ho into situations and not giving it our best attention or efforts. And it can also help flag up when we are getting into something that we might not be entirely on board with. Often in these fast paced times, we do things on autopilot, and have little time to sit and reflect and think, actually is this job/relationship/whatever making me happy?
Whoever said ‘procrastination is the thief of time’ may well have been on to something…but spending time on something which isn’t truly meant for you, can be equally as wasted.
Photo credit: TK Hammonds via Unsplash