THE TASK and “The Art of Procrastination”

In foresight, the commencement of…
in hindsight, the completion of…
is never
as arduous as
the time and effort
invested into
of it.
—upon much contemplation spent—
in foresight,
I have yet to find any more amenable form of
that is so easily executed as
DENIAL under the guise of PLANNING

A. J. Sheldon

The following excerpt was reblogged from:

The Art of Procrastination by Aalia Suleman


It wouldn’t be fair at all to start off this article without an honest confession…

If you ask around, you’ll find that everyone has a different definition for this quite ‘debilitating’ psychological affliction…
…Since there are so many definitions, at least one can be adjusted upon our own self. No matter how you defend your ‘putting off’ things till the last minute, the fact is that in reality you procrastinate.

The dictionary defines procrastination as putting off something habitually and intentionally. According to this definition, if you procrastinate, it is not only your habit but also your intention. As I confessed earlier, we all procrastinate at one point or another and on some tasks. But if this is happening on a regular basis, you need to do something about it. So why do we procrastinate? I can easily create a list from experience.

1. Laziness

Laziness is a topic that asks for a blog devoted entirely to it. If you are basically a lazy person who refuses to do things on time, then you are invariably a procrastinator. The two are interlinked like congenital twins attached at birth. You need to start doing things on time first before you can kick the procrastination beast.

2. Fear

You are afraid that you won’t be able to do the task properly. You are afraid that you will fall short of expectations and hence you put off doing the task altogether. If this is the reason for your procrastination then you need to remind yourself that the only way to kill fear is to grab it by the horns. In the words of Plato, ‘…the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.’ Stop being afraid and chances are that you will also stop being a procrastinator. if not altogether, then to a great extent.

3. Lack of Prioritization

Many people fall into the procrastination haze unknowingly because they don’t prioritize their tasks. You need to know what requires to be done immediately, what can wait, and what is not important until a week later. Lack of prioritization leads to the urgent things sliding to the last moment whereas you often end up doing the non-urgent tasks first. You might have promised to run to the tailor for your mom but did that require instant compliance as opposed to the outline for the essay due the next day? Just like a see-saw, if you raise your level of prioritization of tasks, you can lower the level of procrastination.

4. Savory tasks first

If you feel you function better by attacking the savory tasks first before you attempt the unsavory then you are technically procrastinating. Stop dividing tasks into savory and unsavory or boring. Not all important tasks in life are enjoyable. In fact, you’ll find that by taking care of the tiresome and uninteresting tasks first, your procrastination will more or less end for good. in fact, with all the unsavory and dreary tasks out of the way, the enjoyable things can easily be accomplished on time. It will also elate your self-confidence when everything on your list, boring and enjoyable, gets done on time; you are not bogged down by the thought of pending tasks. As aptly put by Christopher Parker, ‘Procrastination is like a credit care; it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.’

5. Taking unnecessary breaks

I’ve also seen a category of people who actually start off their tasks on time but are in the habit of taking unnecessary breaks to ‘reward’ themselves. This habit of intermittent breaks not only delays the task, making it ‘heavier’, it also reduces your concentration and derails the thought process, sometimes entirely. Because they have started the task, they refuse to admit that they are procrastinators per se. However, they don’t realize that by taking these needless and unwarranted breaks in the middle and delaying the process of completion, they are as much of a procrastinator as the person who hasn’t started the task at all. Learn to finish your tasks without leaving them hanging in limbo. Otherwise, admit that you too are a procrastinator and then do something about it.

6. Important vs. Unimportant

If you are a capable, timely, and proficient person at work but not at home then you are taking a dangerous risk. The procrastination that you exercise in some areas of life, such as relationships and on the domestic front, can gradually become a habit that can eventually engulf your efficiency at work as well. You should not pick and choose where you can procrastinate and where you cannot. The areas of your life where you display procrastination are the ones which you are taking for granted. This is altogether a wrong mental attitude anyway. Learn to be an overall efficient person.

The list of reasons why people procrastinate could go on and on. In all likelihood, you can probably add a thing or two to the above task list as well. But whatever your reasons, procrastination is nothing to boast about and is definitely a habit you need to kick out of your life. It will take an effort, as with all bad habits, and it will take time. But with a little determination, you can do it. In the words of Philip Stanhope, the 4th Earl of Chesterfield,

Know the true value of time;
snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it.
No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination:
Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.