I’ve been procrastinating about writing this blog post for a few days now. Two days ago I found the ultimate distraction from writing this post: I decided I first needed to read a whole book. About procrastination.
The book is ‘The Procrastination Cure’ by Damon Zahariades, and I have no clue whether the author is a well-known author of productivity self-help books or just a guy trying to make money writing by concocting these things. But I read the book and came away with some things. Including the one about eating a frog first thing in the morning (more on that later.)
One of the most useful things about the book is that the author went in to some of the reasons people procrastinate: fear of failure, fear of success, perfectionism, feeling overwhelmed, laziness…. I guess it’s important to figure out WHY you have a procrastination habit before you can have the insight to start fixing it.
I’m a lifelong procrastinator, myself. I did it so much as a child that my parents characterized me as the child who never finished anything. And I believe that characterization to this day.
I had a number of reasons for my procrastination back then, but big one wasn’t mentioned in Zahariades’ book— perhaps because the book was written for independent adults. I procrastinated a lot because I was asserting my independence. Hey, it was cheaper than dumping a shipload of tea into Boston Harbor.
When we are children, most of the tasks we are faced with were set by our parents or teachers. We weren’t necessarily in accord with the need for the desired action.
Let’s look at the example of the clean-your-room chore. My room was normally messy— I had lots of toys and books, and far fewer places to put them away. Sometimes my mom would get on a neat-bedroom kick. Even though my room had been cleaned up pretty well recently, she would break into my Saturday fun time by demanding I drop everything and go clean my room. When my room was clean enough for ME already, I’d just put away one or two things and then find a book to read.
When I was in second grade I had a mean teacher. She noticed I wasn’t always doing my assigned pages in the math workbook. So she waited until I had about 20 unfinished pages and then called my mother, demanding that I do all the undone pages in the workbook up to the current page.
This pretty much ruined my week. Especially since the class had been allowed to skip several of these workbook pages and my mother was forcing me to do them all.
In both of these instances, procrastination didn’t get me out of the unwanted tasks, but it could delay them. And for a child, a short delay is everything.
The problem with procrastination it becomes a habit, a go-to strategy we use even on the tasks we choose to do. And it creates frustration as tasks go undone and we face the consequences of that.
What are the bad consequences of procrastinating on blogging? You end up going days between posts. Your blog becomes less read. And it’s harder to get back in the swing of regular blogging again.
If your rewards for blogging become smaller, then it is easier to not do it the next day. But the longer you keep it up the less your reward becomes.
The answer? Well, I’m working on my general procrastination issues by writing a daily to-do list in a notebook. I did that some years ago and it worked until the notebook got filled and I failed to replace it. And as for the blogging, I am challenging myself to write my post early in the morning. Normally I work on my current writing project at that time. But since I’m at the outlining stage and doing that in a notebook, I can get that done at other times.
And about the eat-the-frog thing? Well, I’ve decided to procrastinate on that part of this blog post. I’ll think about that tomorrow….
Blog posts I’m Reading: