June 21, 2013

Procrastination: A Love Story

As you may (or may not) have noticed, this week’s Wow is arriving in your in-box later than usual.

Why? Because I’ve been procrastinating.

That said, I can tell you that I’ve spent my procrastination time thinking about the different levels of procrastination  (I’ve identified as behavior as “morally unimpeachable procrastination”—more on this below)

Yes,  I spent this time making a list of a the various ways a person can procrastinate. Below, my top three choices:

The Eyelash Procrastination: Like an eyelash in your eye, this one is that very small thing that you’ve decided MUST be coped with before you can move on with your day. For example, you simply must brush the dog, pluck that weird hair out of your eyebrow, water the garden, empty the dishwasher….and then you will be able to move briskly along to the work you don’t happen to be doing…

The Broken Window Procrastination: This one is an extension of an idea put forward by Gretchen Rubin in her excellent blog piece entitled “What are Your Broken Windows?” Based on the police theory that broken windows in a community lead to more serious crimes, she maintains that broken windows are any thing in your life that make you feel out of control. My Broken Window Procrastination Theory, takes this one step further: these are activities you engage in that you tell yourself are morally unimpeachable—they are keeping you from feeling out of control!—but they are really various ways of procrastinating. What kinds of things am I talking about? Well, balancing a checkbook, redesigning a website, or cleaning all the bathrooms come to mind….

The Elephant-in-the Room Procrastination: These are the big ones we come up with so that we don’t have to do whatever it is that we feel we “should” be doing. The classic? “I can’t go to the gym until I lose 10 pounds.” (In my world this sounds like, “I can’t go to yoga until I get more flexible…” Um…no….) Other options? “I can’t break up with her until after her friend’s wedding.” “I can’t write my book proposal until I’ve finished doing all the research….in the world….” “I can’t start looking for a job until the fall– no one hires in the summer….” Like that…..

The trouble with procrastination is that it’s a confidence—and a joy—killer; because no matter how delightful the procrastination activity is that you’ve chosen, you won’t enjoy it as much knowing that you’ve told yourself a fairy story.

So, buckle up, dig deep, get it done. I promise you’ll feel better.

Now that I’ve written this, I do.

Frances Cole Jones

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