Procrastination – it’s just part of my personality

procrastination: noun –  the action of delaying or postponing something.

I have a million and one things to do.  So, I make lists.  I do the easy stuff and cross them off the list.  I can see progress this way.  That means I’m successful, doesn’t it?

No, it doesn’t!

It means that I’m still not doing the other things on the list that I haven’t crossed off.

And, why aren’t I doing them?  Because they’re hard.  Or time-consuming.  Or just simply boring.  But also it’s because I’m lazy (sometimes!).

Yes, laziness is a factor!

So I just keep adding small, easy to attain tasks to my list and continue to cross them off after I do them, while leaving the other more cumbersome and unpleasant tasks for another day (or another month!).

Procrastination is one of my star qualities.  I say ‘star’ not because it’s a good thing, but because it’s an outstanding and dominant feature of my personality. 

I can have a task on my ‘to do’ list for several weeks.  Or even longer.  I then start to become annoyed with this task.  ‘Why won’t it go away?’, I ask myself.

I continue to add to the list, ignoring the annoying ones that never seem to get done.  It’s almost as if I expect them to do themselves.  Or that someone will come and do them for me.  Like in the story ‘The Elves and the Shoemaker’. 

Maybe that story is to blame for my procrastination ‘habit’.  It was one of my favourites when I was little. 

Imagine waking up in the morning and all your work is done!  Your ‘to do’ list is all crossed off and you can start fresh all over again. 

Elves

It wouldn’t matter to me who it was that did them.  I wouldn’t mind little elves coming into my flat and working away all night at the annoying tasks on my list.  I would be forever grateful to anyone who would want to come and back up my computer, or clean the windows, or even just do some research for a future project I’m thinking about taking on.

I would be very happy indeed if someone would come and do these things for me.  And if they don’t, then I guess procrastination is going to remain a feature of this task.

Of course, I get a tremendous buzz when I’ve completed something annoying from my ‘to do’ list.  You would think that such a buzz, this great feeling of accomplishment, would be enough to inspire me to get down to it and do it.  We all love the feeling of success, no matter on what scale.

But no, not for me.  I know I’ll feel great when I cross ‘dye my black clothes’ off my ‘to do’ list.  It’s been on the list for about 2 months now.  Maybe longer.  And it hasn’t budged.

I need to dye my black clothes

The dye is in the kitchen cupboard under the sink.  The clothes are in the wardrobe.  The washing machine is in the bathroom.  I even have the 500g of salt required for the process.

But, procrastination is happening on this one, and it’s still sitting on my list, waiting to be crossed off like all the other, easier, items.  I could have done it last weekend.  I don’t know why I didn’t.  Procrastination maybe?

Something a bit more serious now, although still about procrastination. 

Healthcare

I even procrastinate about getting timely healthcare for myself.  I tell myself it’s not serious.  Or it will ‘go away’ (whatever the symptom is). 

I’m not a big fan of going to the doctors, never have been really.  Of course, I’ve spent a lot of time in doctors’ waiting rooms over the years, especially when my daughter was small, as most parents do.  We’re expected to take our kids to the doctor’s.  I’ve spent more time in doctors’ waiting rooms than with actual doctors – but haven’t we all.

Maybe that’s why I procrastinate about it now.  I don’t want to spend any more time waiting to see a doctor.  Maybe I can fix the problem myself.

Or I tell myself I’ll go next week.  I even make room in my schedule and I tell myself that’s when I’ll go to see the doctor.  

But I don’t.

Eventually I either learn to live with this new affliction, or my body does what it’s designed to do and heals itself (amazing what can be achieved with a little bit of procrastination!).  Or, I suffer until I can stand it no more and hunt down a medical professional who I think will give me some relief.

Then I cross it off my list, with a great deal of satisfaction.

The list

I always have a list on my desk (yes, on paper, I’m an old-fashioned woman).  It’s a running list of things I need to do.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m forgetful, although that’s coming into play more and more as I get older.

I write things I need to do so I don’t forget to do them.  And then I cross them off when they’re done.

Sometimes I cheat, and write something really easy on my list, just so I can do it and cross it off.  Something like ‘send info to students’.  It’s easy because it’s just an email to students with the page numbers they’ll need for the next lesson.  And I do it every week.  It really doesn’t need to go on any ‘to do’ list.  But it does, because it feels so good when I do it and cross it off the list.

It’s instant satisfaction.

But, the ‘hard’ or ‘annoying’ tasks get left on the list, and soon, they’re the only things left on the list.  All the other, more pleasant, or easier, tasks have been crossed off.

So, I start another list.  I transfer all the remaining tasks to a clean sheet of paper and start ignoring them afresh.

Procrastination is a huge part of my life, I practise it daily.  Some people think I’m stubborn, because I seem to refuse to do something, and then only do it when I decide to.

donkey
Is it just stubborness?

I may be stubborn, but I don’t think it’s about that.  It’s about procrastination.  It’s part of my personality.

Are you one of life’s great procrastinators?  What are you putting off right now?  What are some of your tactics to put off things you should be doing. Tell us all about it in the comments section below!

Author: Cheryl

I'm an Australian woman who is now living in a village in rural Bulgaria. I lived for 12 years in Moscow, Russian Federation, working as an English language teacher. My current loves are my husband and my vegetable garden.

21 thoughts on “Procrastination – it’s just part of my personality”

  1. LOL. Yup, I had a few things on my to-do list, re-written on the new lists (paper girl here as well) for 3 YEARS! I finally had to ask myself, “do I really want to do this or not?” And a few… it was NOT. So they went away. Hard to do because at one time I thought I needed/wanted to do it. But then, a couple of things I finally did because I reminded myself why I wanted to do them. But, I’m a huge believer of putting even the small things on the list, so I don’t forget. Even if it’s send an email! Interestingly, I’ve never considered myself a procrastinator though. I just think sometimes it’s not yet the right time to do something! Visiting from #MLSTL

    Like

    1. Hi Pat, nice to know I’m not alone! Although I think you’re the winner- 3 years on the list!! I guess if you really don’t know if you want to do it or not, it’s best to keep it there, just in case. I sometimes just cross something off because, as you said, I don’t want to do it anymore. If you wait long enough the urge/need will go away! Yes, me too, I put ‘send email to …’ just to keep it there in sight. If it’s not there on the list I probably won’t do it and the emails won’t get replied to. Thanks for visiting and commenting! Lovely to see you at Born in a Car, hope to see you again. 🙂

      Like

  2. I found myself chuckling over this post… I think I’m getting better with age but part of that was my avoidance of phone calls. When I started realizing that with two discussion items written on a piece of paper, the avoided call could be done with in less than 5 minutes and my duty was done, my reputation redeemed, I also started realizing many of the ignored/avoided tasks fell in to the same category. Jump in, get it done, and you’re moving on within several minutes.
    As I read your article though, it occurred to me that perhaps you could start a procrastinators’ support group with a notice board where members could list their least favourite tasks. One person’s pain is another person’s joy… maybe? 🙂 #mlstl

    Like

    1. Hi Agnes, yes, I was chuckling when I was writing it! We know when we’re not doing the ‘right’ thing, don’t we? I also hate phone calls. I can put them off for months. Hate making them. I’ve got one to make at the moment that I haven’t even put on my list because I want to pretend I don’t have to do it. There will come a point when it becomes urgent and I’ll be forced to make the call. You’re right, if we just do the task it will be over before we know it! I love the idea of a procrastinators’ club – I’ll put it on my list 😉 Thanks for visiting and commenting, nice to see you here. 🙂

      Like

  3. Yep. All of that…but especially the healthcare stuff. I actually have an internal statute of limitations for my list – a timeframe following which things that were on the list can be removed from the list without fear of “prosecution”. Having said that I did accomplish 2 of the longer-serving list items this week & boy am I chuffed with myself! Visiting from #MLSTL

    Like

    1. Hi Joanne, oh, the healthcare stuff! My husband loses doesn’t understand why I put these things off, it can create bigger health problems later if you don’t tend to the small ones now. I love the idea of a statute of limitations! That would work well for me – I hate the guilt of not doing the task and removing it anyway! Thanks for the idea 🙂 Well done, on getting through the 2 long-serving tasks, it’s an achievement you should be proud of! Thanks for stopping by Born in a Car, hope to see you again. 🙂

      Like

  4. I hear you Cheryl and I’m a list person too. It is easy to procrastinate about something that we don’t want to do and I find I do that myself. However, I read once about ‘Eating the Frog’. Mark Twain actually wrote about it but basically it means getting the worst jobs done first up in the morning and then everything else will be better. You do get a sense of satisfaction when you actually do that job you have been putting off and also a sense of ‘thank goodness that is done’! Have a great week and tackle one thing you have been procrastinating about! Thanks for sharing at #MLSTL. xx

    Like

    1. Hi Sue, I’ve never heard of ‘Eating the Frog’, but I understand the concept. Not sure it would work for me (or is that just another form of procrastination?), I’m not a morning person and the last thing I want in the morning is to do something I don’t want to do! I know about the sense of satisfaction, I do get that when I’ve been good and done things on my list 🙂 If only it was enough to push me further! I’ll take your challenge and tackle one thing I’ve been procrastinating about this week! Thanks for visiting. Enjoy what’s left of the week! 🙂 x

      Like

    2. Hi everyone here in such wonderful, lovely, and kind blog! Cheryl, Many Thanks!! Everything is very interesting and what about Russia is really the truth. I’m Russian, you can believe me ?

      I’m a great procrastinator!
      Regarding to a tough task doing first I would rather do the reverse because, on the one hand, you can waste a lot of time and effort but don’t achieve a result and anything else won’t be done, and on the other hand, if you do a lot of easy tasks instead of a big one (which, by the way, can’t be done at all) you will absolutely have satisfaction not less than from a big one (which, by the way, can’t be done at all).
      So, under this logic, I prefer to start with the easiest tasks.

      But everyone chooses your own approach. The main thing is to make it help you!
      Have a good mood everyone! ?

      Like

      1. Hi Ivan, thanks for your comment. It’s true about everyone having their own approach. We should do what’s best for us and for our situation. But sometimes, there are other influences, and we have to start with the difficult and big task that we don’t want to do. Sometimes people depend on us to do the big and difficult things first, so we have to try our best to do that before we do all the simple ones. Have a nice day! 🙂

        Like

  5. I’m not a huge procrastinator – but I will put off the stuff that isn’t particularly appealing for as long as possible! Now I have more time on my hands I’m thinking about all those chores that I’ve deflected for years – sorting out my clothes and culling a lot of them, cleaning out the pantry, clearing out any kitchen stuff I don’t use etc. I haven’t actually started yet……. maybe I am a procrastinator after all???
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    Like

    1. Hi Leanne, maybe you ARE a procrastinator! Now that you have time, you’ll find out! That’s one of my problems, I have a lot of free time, and I don’t use it wisely. I find that when I’m short on time, if I have a busy week of lessons or other obligations, I will do a lot of things, quickly, and cross them off my list. But when I have all the time in the world, I do nothing! Culling clothes is also on my list! Good luck with getting it done! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂 x

      Like

  6. Hi Cheryl, I put off things like writing a blog post or my sculpting because of a lack of confidence. I’m getting better, but I’m still afraid of failure. I love the way you write about what everyone is thinking about. Enjoyed your post. I’m traveling back to Georgia, right now. Be back with you all soon.

    Like

    1. Hi Christina, yes, lack of confidence can also cause procrastination, I agree. It’s hard taking the next step if we’re not sure of ourselves. I wonder if we’re all afraid of failure, and it’s just that some people have more confidence. I’m also afraid of failure, and we’ve really opened ourselves up to it by putting everything ‘out there’ in our blogs! Thanks for your kind words about my posts, glad you enjoyed tjem. Nice to see you here again. Oh, and I’m really looking forward to hearing about how things work out in Georgia – we’ll probably be there next year following in your footsteps! All the best and thanks again for visiting. 🙂 x

      Like

  7. Yes I’m in the same boat as you Cheryl and have been known to write something I’ve already done, only so I can cross it off the list!! Great to join you 🙂

    Like

    1. Hi Debbie, I’m so happy to hear that! I thought I was the only one (and a little bit embarrassed about it, too!). Thanks for stopping by, and have a great weekend! 🙂 x

      Like

    1. Hi Roseann, ah, yes, when the other half isn’t a procrastinator it can cause some problems! My husband isn’t a procrastinator, so I drive him crazy sometimes too! Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Have a nice weekend! 🙂

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s