Procrastination – The Thief of Time

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

I knew I should have done it yesterday!!

Procrastination is the thief of time. ~Edward Young

Do you put things off? Even things you really want to do? I’ve been struggling with that while trying to finish the first draft of my work in progress. I want to write it. I really do. And I am writing it, but what seems at a snail’s pace. It’s time I hit the homestretch with a burst of speed, but instead procrastination is popping up like dandelions. I like dandelions better. 

How do I procrastinate? Let me count the ways. There are hundreds of them. But I can take solace in the fact that I’m far from the only person who has a tendency to put things off. Procrastination is a basic human impulse and a lot of us humans give in to it from time to time. Some of us more times than others. The word comes from a Latin term meaning “put off until tomorrow.” 

Oh, how easy it is to put off until tomorrow! Tomorrow I’ll have more time. Tomorrow I’ll see the next scene more clearly. Tomorrow the day will somehow stretch and add those extra hours I need to get this writing done. 

Procrastination has been around for as long as there have been people. When you’re self-employed, as I am, then you can get extremely good at procrastination. You set your work time. You can break your work times. That’s not to indicate that self-employed people don’t work hard. Most of the ones I know – whether they’re writers, beauticians, car repair people, yard care workers, lawyers, or you name it job – they all work very hard and long hours. 

Plus, we can procrastinate about things other than our jobs. We procrastinate about washing those windows or cleaning out the refrigerator or weeding the garden or whatever chore. I’m sure you can come up with lots of things we put off. Even things like going to the dentist or to get our eyes checked. Things we shouldn’t put off. Tomorrow, we’ll do it. Next week for sure. Or we’ll have more time this summer. Then, maybe in the fall. 

If you want to read a more detailed examination of why we procrastinate, here’s a link to an article “Later” on the New York Times site. Some interesting theories and facts there. 

Of course the internet is a great procrastinating tool. There are even applications and software now that you can download to block the internet for a specific amount of time so that you CAN’T procrastinate by checking e-mails or surfing for that one more fact that you just have to know before you can write the next scene. I haven’t downloaded any of them. I think I should be able to just use self-discipline, but then the phone will make that little bing that says I have a new e-mail. And while I’m looking at that, I’d better see what’s going on over on my Facebook page. And is there a new review on one of my books? Or maybe I’d better pay those bills before they’re overdue. Or take Oscar for a walk. Or it could be I just need to organize my pencils here on my desk. I wrote a post here a few years ago about sharpening pencils to delay the start of work.

On top of all those type of reasons for not getting the work I need to do done are the interruptions I have to allow in my day. A call about Mom. A visit to see about her. The church bulletin to do. Birthday gifts to buy. Blogs to write. All important things, but I don’t need to use them to delay writing my book. Sometimes that’s what I do. Just use them to put off the hard work of writing the next scene. 

So are you a procrastinator? Or what ways have you come up with to keep yourself on task?

Here’s a quote I found out on the internet. I promise I wasn’t procrastinating. I was looking for something I needed. Honest.

“I am taking care of my procrastination problem. You just wait and see.” I think that means I’ll get it done tomorrow. LOL.