This is the perfect picture of procrastination. The man has a deadline for an article but he's stuck. Can't think of a good ending. So, maybe he decides to go for a walk. Then, he goes to the kitchen for a snack. Next, he turns on the TV and sits back waiting for inspiration to hit. Now, he's fast asleep. The project has been put off and put off.
We're all human and it's a natural thing to sometimes push aside the things we know we should be doing but really don't want to. I have a major project in the works, but I have reached a point where I am not sure how to proceed. So, what have I done? Put it aside thinking I'll tackle it another day. The days come and go and that little project is still sitting all alone with no one to finish it. The worst part is that the longer I put it off, the easier it is to keep ignoring it.
Why do we procrastinate? Maybe because of difficulty and not being sure of what we're doing--which is the case for me. Some writers also have the attitude that I can always do that later. They know the project will be there waiting for them. Other things are so much more appealing.
How often, as a student, did you leave the studying for a test until the night before? Then you had to cram until the words or numbers were swirling in your head making no sense at all. The next day, you went to the exam with red-rimmed eyes and a fuzzy brain. Or how about those papers you had to write in high school or college? The ones that you had weeks to do but waited until a day or two before the due date. Was it your best work? Probably not.
Some of us are natural procrastinators--always putting things off til the last minute. They seem to get things done but I wonder if they produce their best work by doing it that way. There's certainly no time to let the paper simmer and then edit and/or revise, is there?
Procrastinators need to work hard to change their mindset from doing things last minute to getting to the task as soon as possible. It's a good feeling knowing that the assignment or project is done with time to spare.
I find that I can work both directions--getting things done immediately or putting them on hold until I'm in the mood to do whatever it might be. It's much easier to put off doing things I don't like to do and far simpler to tackle the appealing ones right away. So, liking or disliking what you have to do is of importance here.
My intention with this post is not to solve procrastination problems for others, or even myself, but rather to make you think about it. Check yourself--ask if you are a procrastinator or a do-it-now person. Then, consider why you are one or the other. Or are you like me--a combination of the two?
Have you ever missed a deadline because you put off doing whatever it was too long? Did you learn a lesson or has the same thing happened more than once? Have you ever made an effort to change from a procrastinator to a take-charge-and-do-it now person? Did it work or not? Let us know. We often learn from the experiences of others so it's good to hear these stories.