If you had asked me a week ago if I was a procrastinator I would have probably said that I wasn't. But Izzy and I discuss procrastinating on the podcast this week (episode 14 released on 3rd June) and made me think again! On the whole I know I am quite good at getting things done when they need doing. Experience has taught me that things don't get any easier if we put them off, so we might as well just get them done... at least most of the time! Because if I am completely honest, of course I procrastinate some of the time and I think we probably all do. The action of delaying or postponing something, or working on something trivial when there is something meaningful or important that has to be done is something we are all guilty of doing. But I think I only really see it as a procrastinating if it becomes a problem which is why I don't really think I'm a procrastinator.
Also, I don't think it is procrastinating if we are unaware we are doing it... that to me is distraction which is something else. When I went out to my studio to tidy up earlier this year I was quite determined to get the job done. Oh yes... I was very focused... until when sorting out a drawer I discovered a mini kit to crochet an avocado keyring. Two hours later I had a totally useless avocado (I couldn't even put it in my sandwich) but I still had an untidy studio. If I had chosen to make the kit rather than clear up I would have been procrastinating but I just became distracted, so not quite the same thing! And my studio got tidied eventually just not that morning!
When tasks are not time sensitive it can be very easy to delay doing them and put them off until another time. But give me a deadline and I am all action... but it's not last minute action. I don't work well under stress (do any of us?) and I certainly can't stay up late to finish things off... being an early riser I find that mornings really are my best times for getting things done so I definitely don't do my best work in the evenings. I am that person who always got my essays handed in a few days before they were due and although I might not be doing it this month, nor will I leave my tax return until the end of January.
Personally I think one of the biggest problems with procrastinating is not actually doing the work but starting it. We might think something will be difficult or not enjoyable so we put it off, whereas if we actually just started it's often not nearly as bad as we think. And often it is the self awareness that we are procrastinating that makes us feel bad... we know we are doing it, we know we probably shouldn't, we know it makes us feel bad but we do it anyway... totally irrational!
That said, I'm sitting here writing this on a Wednesday evening knowing that it needs to be done by tomorrow when the podcast is released. I knew this needed doing a week ago but I still put it off... and the reason is the sun has been shining this week and I would rather be working in my garden or on my new allotment. As you can see... there is a lot of work to be done! So I guess it is all about priorities really. And when the sun is shining sitting inside on my laptop is just not a priority!
Are you a procrastinator or do you just get on with things? I'd love to know! I'll leave you with a link to this short TED talk by Tim Urban... perfect entertainment for when you ought to be doing something else!