Procrastination: is it a waste of time? Or is it life?

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.

Procrastinating writing the synopsis by writing-about-procrastinating-writing-the-synopsis!

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.

 Spending time with friends and family is good for our mental and emotional wellbeing, right?

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.

For a writer, bookshops, book fairs and markets aren’t procrastination: they’re work!

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.

Atlantis stairs 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.

 It’s healthy for couples to spend time together

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.

It’s not procrastination – it’s just another week of living life!

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!




3 Comments on “Procrastination: is it a waste of time? Or is it life?

  1. Living life and loving it; with those we care about is what we’re supposed to be doing! Good on you for ‘living and enjoying’. As to procrastination, we all do it. I’m a master too. Deviating from the task at hand… a mind wander….when I should be delving into an unpacked box still out in the garage from the house shift, now over 12 months ago…is that serious procrastination right there? Or not? YES, I do still have boxes to be unpacked! Obviously, I don’t need what’s in those boxes most would say. I also wonder if I don’t want to unpack some of them cos they now represent a past that I’ve chosen to move on from or ‘let go of’….and perhaps there are some aspects of that old life that I’m struggling to let go of… and I know some of it is stuff I don’t want to face or deal with; old family photos, at least 3 large boxes of them and some are inherited from other family that no longer live. I know….I just need to burn them, right? Get rid of them or whatever; cos no-one is going to want them after we’re no longer here….and that’s a simple fact of life. It’s also a sadness, and there is a certain amount of reluctance to do what is required; rather than procrastination. Nevertheless, I do know it must be done. It’s just ‘when’ that is currently ‘the great unknown’!

  2. Thanks for your response, GeeA. You could be right about getting rid of ‘stuff’ but I’d hate to burn old photos. Reading your response I had the thought that procrastination isn’t always ‘wrong’. Sometimes we act too hastily and might have regrets about that. There’ll be a day when you feel as if you can sort through those boxes from another life, keep some stuff, throw some stuff but I don’t see anything wrong with making haste slowly, especially about the things that are important to us. xx

    • I know! The reducing of family photographs (even though I have no clue who these people are) to ashes, does not sit well with me either.

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