Did you know that manana, tomorrow, is often the busiest day of the week? When we don’t want to do something for any number of reasons, valid or otherwise, we think, “I will do this tomorrow. Yup, tomorrow will be a better day to take care of this.” There are times that tomorrow will actually be the better option.
There’s been a lot going on recently which has been taking my attention. Writing another blog slipped to the bottom of things to do. This got me thinking about procrastination. I recalled an interview I’d heard with Dr. Tim Pychyl, Associate Professor of Psychology at Carlton University, Ottawa, author and one of the world’s leading researchers on procrastination. A one-line summary of the research shows that the things we say we’re going to do and don’t, end up affecting our well-being. Don’t worry. I’m not here to write a treatise on procrastination research. However, a distinction Pychyl discussed, seemed worth mentioning. That distinction was delay vs. procrastination. They are not the same.
In the broad sense procrastination is defined as a voluntary delay of an intended task in which no-one else is involved outside of the person making the choice. For example, if there’s something that needs to get done, but my inner-child pops up and says, “I don’t feel like it or I really don’t want to do it.” I may think I really should… or I really need to…, but I don’t feel like it. Guess I am not going to do it. Maybe later or tomorrow. That’s procrastination.
On the other hand we may have a list of things to do, but a family member gets sick and we’re needed to help out. Delaying the tasks is reasonable when circumstances or other people require our attention. There are many instances when things get delayed for good reasons and that is not procrastination.
I’d wager we’ve all done at least a little of both from time to time. It’s pretty normal for the most part. There is so much more to learn and understand about procrastination, but that’s for the experts. The big take away for me was, absent a chronic procrastination issue, we can give ourselves a break and not be hard on ourselves when things sometimes get delayed. There could be a good reason. That being said, you may want to procrastinate now and not put it off.
Comments are most welcome.