PROCRASTINATION

Creative working in the kitchen at home
Creative working (Photo credit: Alexander Smolianitski)

Ananya had been inquiring on the status of my new write-up for the past two weeks. She had been incredibly patient with my schedule but every time she messaged me asking where the article was, I came up with excuses like was studying or was in bed with an infection, or some quite creative like  “I am busy chloroforming mice”.  And, when I couldn’t think of anything then I came up with something like “I am recovering from depression”.

Today I sat back and thought about it a little while. Were all the reasons that I gave my best friend, Ananya, relevant?? And even if they were, were they so strong that they prevented me to write a simple article of 300 words?

This article might seem a little personal,but talks about a problem that millions share with me. PROCRASTINATION. Heavy is the word isn’t it? The meaning is very simple though. Putting off things or replacing high priority work with irrelevant low priority work. All of us at some point or the other procrastinate, that is, put off work till the very minute when we are pushed to our limits. Take for example, I have a test on Friday.  Forensic medicine, relatively easy. Monday morning I wake up, a little lazy, turn on the snooze mode and sleep a little more. Then finally wake up at 10. Groggy eyed, I open the book, turn a few pages. The text seems easy. So I decide to chat a little on Facebook, and then tweet a little. This this goes on the entire week till Thursday arrives…RED SIGNAL!! So much to study… haven’t studied anything. Have to study the whole day through, skip lunch, skip dinner. the next day the test goes off fine (after all I didn’t sleep the whole night, I deserve results!). I find myself happy. Then I sleep like a log and go back to my schedule of procrastinating.

procrastination
procrastination (Photo credit: cheerfulmonk)

Do you just realize what happened here? Just because my test went well coincidentally, I was in a state of pseudo-happiness. I felt that leaving my work to the end of the week actually increased my efficiency (or else I never could have stayed up the whole night). How wrong I was. I continued with this kind of schedule,  test after test, till I realized I had become a chronic procrastinator. Not just in studies, in relationships, in creative work; in anything that defined my life.

Putting off became a way of life till I realized what torture I was putting my body through.

One of the biggest causes of procrastination is fear. Fear of something compels us to put off something until it becomes unavoidable. The second most important reason is lack of desire. If you don’t like what you are doing, then you are going to keep avoiding it. Procrastination is not something to be ignored. It silently creeps in and is a big hindrance to success, efficiency and productivity. It leads to feelings of guilt, regret , and depression leading to more procrastination. So sit down today with a piece of paper, and write down the things you have been putting off. Keep asking why till you drag out the underlying cause. Don’t let the fire within you die. Let it burn strongly and light up your life.

 

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©The Idea Bucket, 2012 (Submitted by team-member, Pallavi)

 

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12 Comments

  1. An interesting piece but I must disagree with you. If you get a chance take a look at a concept called “hyperbolic discounting” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperbolic_discounting
    In essence our brain does not work in a consistent way when measuring the value of future outcomes against current demands. Today’s payoff for doing nothing is “worth” more than the possible future benefit. There is another form too. Where the cost to agree to something now is low and the future commitment to deliver is large. For example. agreeing today to write a blog piece next week. A good deal of our hard questions in society relate to this cognitive incongruency. I have done a couple of pieces on this at moneyfyi.wordpress.com. Search for hyperbolic to see them

    1. Very Interesting theory. And,yeah, hyperbole discounting takes me to the basic definition of economics; that scarcity is the cause of economic activity. Everyone indulges in their own hedonistic traits. The author in the article has precisely pointed this out that we care much for the profit of now than the profit of the future. The point you have raised about hyperbolic discounting was not mentioned specifically but was dealt with in essence. And, also, the article nowhere went against this theory too as far as I can see.
      Really appreciate your feedback and yeah, I learnt something new 🙂
      Moving over to your posts on the related topic now..
      Have a great week ahead!

  2. Interesting perpective but I would like to add something. When we use our mind we dissipate energy. Some tasks need more energy. Some task drag disproportionate energy. All networking tasks dissipate disproportionate energy but enable us to operate with much lesser attention. As regard procrastination, in my observation, all human beings are over-worked. Any mental work beyond 4-5 hours is a drag. At young age this drag is not visible but after 35 years of age, it can be noticed easily. This is the reason why people generally lose their mind, in old age and it appears as ‘Devolution of human mind.’

    1. That is so informative and a great perspective, Thank you.

      “Some task drag disproportionate energy.” is so apt and precisely describes a natural inclination (if I may say so) of the mind towards procrastination.

      1. About natural inclination: “A wild horse is caught and trained to serve humans. After a few years he recalls his wild life and starts to act as if in wild by rolling over grass. He is shot dead as crazy.” What is natuaral is relative to conditioning or layers thereof. Anyway procrastination is a curious label. Happy New Year 2013.

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