By Robin Kaye
Procrastination is something we’re all really good at—okay, maybe some are better than others—I have taken procrastination and turned it into a veritable art form. Still, we all do it. Why is that? We seem to have evolved into a society of procrastinators. There must be a reason this hideous trait is passed through our DNA. It must serve some purpose, mustn’t it? You’d think that procrastinators would have gotten so little done in their lifetimes they’d have at least succeeded in not multiplying and would have effectively flushed that nasty little gene out of our genetic makeup. Unfortunately for me, that’s not the case—it seems procrastinators don’t procrastinate enough to become celibate. I should know, I’m currently raising three teen aged procrastinators.
I had planned a survey to use for my procrastination blog. It was to prove my hypothesis that procrastination is a genetic trait we all have. Think about it, when was the last time you met someone that said, “Gee, I wish I could just spend the day spinning my wheels and accomplishing nothing—I just get too much done.” Unfortunately, I never got around to doing the survey. But let’s just say I had and proved we’re all fighting this procrastination gene. How do we counter it?
Me, I try to use reverse psychology on myself. Unfortunately, I always see right through it.
Another way is to use a timer. If I write for twenty minutes, I can play one game of spider solitaire but then, I’m so good at procrastinating, one game leads to ten and before I know what hit me, I’m deep into procrastination mode.
When I get really desperate, I give myself a reward system that I hate. When I stop writing, I have to clean the bathroom. That doesn’t work for me because on the way to the bathroom I get sidetracked and end up doing something like rearranging my paperbacks. Invariably a book catches my eye and I can’t fight the urge to read the first line. Once the first line is read, I have to finish the book, because, let’s face it, how can I start a book and not finish it?
I’m a hopeless case. It’s a wonder I ever accomplish anything.
After wracking my brain I have discovered a few good things that come from being a true procrastinator: It makes me invent amazingly imaginative excuses for procrastinating and if we didn’t have that amazing imagination, we couldn’t be writers at all, could we?
Procrastination also instills a huge amount of guilt on my psyche and makes me do things like write for twenty-eight hours straight so I finish the book by my deadline. And every time I succeed, I swear it will never happen again.
After being a mother, and a life-long procrastinator, I’ve always wished the procrastination gene and babies came with an on/off switch. But then if they had, after one bout of writer's block or eight hours with a colicky baby, we’d never turn the suckers back on.
So, what do you do to counteract your procrastination gene?