Why I Procrastinate

Email a Friend

Procrastination, thy name is journalism.

In my case, procrastination is a series of behavior patterns that end up delaying important things getting done. It’s been proven again and again that for me, deadline pressure is the fuel that gets the engine to crank. Closer to the deadline, more fuel apparently. The orderly to-do list that looks completely efficient and rational on Monday morning, by Friday, is just some bizarre Magritte painting of an alternate reality. Schedules are better managed moment to moment in the real world. Things get pushed off because reality intervenes. Flexibility-nation not Procrasta-nation. I know which flag I wave.

Okay, I still have nightmares about disappointing my high school Latin teacher Mr. Norman by always handing my homework in late. And to that nice old lady I promised to do gardening for back in Syracuse, NY: “I’m so very, very, very, sorry I never got around to your shrubbery.”  Yes I’m guilty of flagrant acts of procrastination, but I think this whole thing is mostly about a gnawing feeling — not a real state of inaction.

Most of the time procrastination is really just the pang of yearning for some orderly world where projects flow toward completion, novels get written at the 2,000 word per day rate, and weeds get plucked from gardens well ahead of the biosphere’s relentless capacity to replace them.

A guest on our show this morning said humans naturally want to front-load their rewards. Isn’t the whole banking industry based on this? I want my money NOW. I want my new house NOW. SO we take out loans or are lured into debt to make it seem like the front-loaded rewards are the natural state of things. Those monthly payments are just part of the illusion that this is all very orderly. Ever heard of bankruptcy? Ever heard of foreclosure?

Humans procrastinate because … they’re human.

So all you SPACE ALIENS out there smugly getting things done and keeping perfectly on schedule. We’re on to you!