Recently, I read a great book and promised to mail it to a friend overseas when I was done… about nine months ago. Today, I finally wandered down to the post office and mailed it, because the alternative was working on this blog post. This is classic procrastination at work.
If you’ve noticed yourself doing this as well, you might have explored “cures” for procrastination, or tips to improve your productivity. I’ll admit, I’ve spent many hours procrastinating by exploring these very things. And we’ve even written a huge amount about these topics on here.
Somehow, the irony of wasting time reading about how to not waste time is never enough to get me moving.
The interesting thing about procrastination is that we generally equate it with “being lazy” or “wasting time,” and thus see it as a very negative trait—one to be fixed or avoided. A New Yorker article explained how detrimental procrastination can be, psychologically:
The essence of procrastination lies in not doing what you think you should be doing, a mental contortion that surely accounts for the great psychic toll the habit takes on people. This is the perplexing thing about procrastination: although it seems to involve avoiding unpleasant tasks, indulging in it generally doesn’t make people happy.