According to Mind Tools around 95% of us procrastinate to some degree. That makes me feel better! It’s also comforting to learn, in the same article, that procrastination isn’t laziness. Why? Because when we procrastinate, we choose to do something else. Laziness, on the other hand ‘suggests apathy, inactivity and an unwillingness to act’. When we procrastinate, we’re not inactive; we’re simply more likely to choose to do something easier and more enjoyable instead of a more difficult or unpleasant task we’re doing our best to avoid.
Having recently written ‘the end’ on the last page of a 71,000-word Regency Romance (a project that’s taken several years) I determined to write the detailed synopsis required by The Wild Rose Press by the end of the week. And here I am on Sunday morning procrastinating writing the synopsis by writing-about-procrastinating-writing-the synopsis! That’s a bit extreme…
So what have I done this week that could be defined as procrastination? My away-from-home job doesn’t count because that’s a commitment to my employers and to keeping the wolf from the door – after all, luxuries like bread, milk and electricity must be paid for.
Did I have to buy a copy of Your Home & Garden magazine? Well, no, but I find few things more relaxing than paging through a beautiful magazine packed with gorgeous furnishings and styling ideas. And relaxing’s good for us, right? Hankering after things we might not be able to afford but find pleasure in anyway, keeps our hopes up. And hopefulness is surely a positive quality.
Did I have to spend… mmm… not sure how long on Facebook? According to the ‘experts’ interacting with others is good for us. Especially for those of us with a tendency towards hermit-ishness, Facebook presents the ideal solution of being involved without actually having to speak to someone.
Then there was the afternoon tea with my daughter and an old friend, going to see The Bookshop with my daughter – that kind of thing’s essential for our mental and emotional health, right? The ‘experts’ are always telling us that spending time with friends and family is crucial to our wellbeing. Likewise spending time with grandchildren. Plus food and drink is sustenance for the hard slog of writing.
Shopping can’t be considered procrastination because we need food and drink (as noted above) and clothing, and of course every writer needs books, so trawling through libraries, second-hand bookshops like Atlantis Books, and book fairs is actually work for writers.
Everyone knows spending time as a couple is crucial for loving relationships so spending Saturday morning eating at the market and browsing in above-mentioned book places can’t be procrastination. Talking to pets (and petting pets) is likewise beneficial to our mental and emotional health and wellbeing – and for theirs too, I imagine, so if it is procrastination, it’s procrastination for a worthy cause.
Then there are the things like cooking, laundry, dish-washing, picking-things-up-off-the-floor, sweeping clutter off tables (which you have to do before you can start work), wiping benches – they’re kind of essential so can’t be considered procrastination.
One task I wish I could have procrastinated entirely this week was cleaning dog poo out of the car after one of the grandkids stepped in muck on our way out the other evening….and that just couldn’t be procrastinated!
Looking back over my week, I’m not so sure I’m as bad a procrastinator as I thought. It’s just been another week of living life!