I read somewhere or heard somewhere that the inclination to procrastinate is actually a disorder almost an affliction. By procrastination I don’t mean just waiting until tomorrow to do the washing up, I mean putting off almost everything (and I mean everything) you need/want/ought to do through a series of tactics which sometimes involve more effort than the task you’re avoiding. It’s not laziness, or maybe not just laziness, it’s the inability to prioritise sensibly, to avoid some things – even pleasurable activities, for no real reason, to feel a sort of dread at starting whatever it is – homework, washing up, going out, starting writing, tidying, making appointments… the list, actually is endless.
I confess I do procrastinate. I don’t think I’m just lazy, procrastination isn’t laziness, it’s some sort of mental block, something about actually starting something. Once I start whatever it is – today it’s writing this blog, I’m fine I get on with it quickly, efficiently, properly. If it’s cleaning the floor, once I get my bucket and mop, my detergent, and clear the floor of anything in the way, then I do a grand job, a sparkly perfect job, but sometimes it’s days before it gets done. I don’t mind doing it, I quite like doing it, it’s not hard or unpleasant or particularly onerous, so why don’t I look at the floor, see it needs mopping and just get on with it? Reading a book for book club – I’m looking forward to the book, it might be by a favourite author, or in a genre I enjoy or be something I’ve been meaning to read for a long time, but come a few days before we’re due to meet and have I read it? Of course not, and then it’s a mad dash and a sprint though it too quickly.
I wonder how many times in my life I have said to myself ‘for goodness sake!! Just get on with it!!!‘? Times without measure I guess. It’s not a lack of motivation, I can’t explain what it is, I keep thinking that’ I’ll do it in a minute, that I just need to do something else first to get it out of the way, that something else is far more important and necessary than the actual thing I know I should be doing.
Make a list people say – I’ve shared my thoughts and difficulties with lists here many times before, I’d lose it, forget it, resent it, put the wrong things on it and miss the right things off it. It’s almost agonising sometimes when I’m silently, or not so silently, saying the get-on-with-it thing and yet just can’t do whatever the thing is. All I can do is to try and be strong willed and stern with myself, and then of course there’s the other thing that goes with procrastination, being absent minded and diverting from the supposed task to something else.
Now… I really must get on with my writing… or should I just go and do the ironing?
.Here’s an interesting site all about the problem (yes, it is a problem!)
… and here’s what one of my favorite sites has to say:
Here is what
“a putting off to a future time; dilatoriness,” 1540s, from French procrastination and directly from Latin procrastinationem – “a putting off from day to day,” … “put off till tomorrow, defer, delay,” from pro “forward”+ crastinus “belonging to tomorrow,” from cras “tomorrow,” a word of unknown origin.