Day 30: Procrastination

“I’ll think of it tomorrow, at Tara. I can stand it then. Tomorrow, I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all, tomorrow is another day.”
–Scarlett O’Hara, Gone With The Wind

I suppose it is quite apt that Scarlett O’ Hara should be amongst my favourite fictional  characters. I find shades of her in myself–certainly her tendency to procrastinate is something I can relate to very well.

In Scarlett O’ Hara’s case, the procrastination is at least an attempt to put off something that she would rather just never face up to, something unpleasant or something she deeply fears. My brand of procrastination is more in the nature of evasion–of things that are not even really unpleasant. For instance, I may have been meaning to call a friend for several days but all too often just never get around to doing it. And then I wince when I see a call coming on my phone from that friend–I know I am in for an earful and my feeble” Oh, I was just going to call you” will be treated with the contempt it deserves. Thankfully my long-suffering friends are used enough to my ways to not mind.

What can I put it down to? Laziness? Maybe. Or maybe it is just that I am–in my heart of hearts–not too fond of talking on the phone and hence avoid doing it unless I have to?

And while we’re on the topic, let me also bring up the example of this blogathon itself. Technically, it was not impossible for me to be done with my daily post during the day itself. In practice though, that just never happened. I found myself busy with a million things all through the day. When I did manage to find time, I found I just did not know what to write about.

Ultimately, almost all my posts–including this very post– got started in late evening. The ideas would rush forth only when I would start running out of time. I would type furiously  to be able to hit publish in time. I amazed myself by finishing some posts in under half an hour–I never knew I would be able to do that! I probably never would if there had been no deadline. Often the next day I would spot a cringe-making typo or two (there were two in yesterday’s post) in the previous post and correct them!

I have been thinking about this. Do I actually like to work under pressure? Or maybe I secretly like the thrill of having to rush against time, the adrenaline rush of managing to finish a task just in time? Or maybe this happens with other people too? I read somewhere that procrastination and perfectionism often go hand in hand– so if you’re afraid that whatever you want to write about is not going to be really good, you will put off writing it till the last moment. Hmm, that makes sense.

‘Procrastination’ was a spare-prompt in this blogathon and I am glad I decided to do a post on it because it made me really introspect. On a lighter note, I am also glad I managed to do it while there was still time. What an irony that would have been–putting off doing a post on procrastination till the very last day 😉

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10 Responses to Day 30: Procrastination

  1. I used to be a procrastinator, till I got married!

    My wife is an inveterate “pre-crastinator” and nags me till, just to get her off my back, I yield.
    Nothing annoys her more than my sitting in front of my lap top, reading “diaries of strange women”, when there are hazaar things to do around the house!

    When I travel, I have a tendency to reach the station or airport just in time because I hate waiting at airports or stations.My wife is just the opposite. She is always afraid of delays / traffic jams/ vehicle breakdowns on the way and starts so early that often I tell her we are in time for the previous train or flight. Never mind she says, It is better to wait at the airport/station than at home.

    In my professional life, I could not afford to be a procrastinator. We had project schedules which had to be adhered to. I would constantly remind myself “there will never be more time to complete this task, than now”.

    Journalists and others working for newspapers and periodicals work to inflexible deadlines and procrastination is out of question. Not for them the luxuries enjoyed by bloggers. If you don’t post anything today, it’s alright. Post it tomorrow. What’s the hurry? These blogathons serve one useful purpose. They make bloggers appreciate the work of those who are forced to work to a deadline and make them experience what it is to work to a deadline.

    May be as a reaction to working to strict deadlines all the time in my profession, I became laid back in my personal life
    Now, in my retired life, I can truly enjoy the luxury of procrastination!

    In this connection I am reminded of a joke that twisted a popular dohaa
    आज करे सो काल कर, काल करे सो परसों
    इतनी जल्दी क्या है, जीना है अब बरसों

    Just one more post for you! Hang on!
    Regards
    GV

    • Haha, I quite like the term ‘pre-crastinator’! My husband is one too. Even I hate to wait at airports/ railway stations. The husband, on the other hand, believes in reaching well in time– with an hour to spare, if possible!! There is some truth in the Hindi saying,’Ram milaye jodi.’ 😉

      It is perfectly possible to procrastinate within the time-frame of a deadline too. I know, because I have done freelance writing assignments and those certainly come with deadlines. Just as in the blogathon, my efficiency in doing the assigned work increased dramatically as the deadline approached. Just as in the blogathon, I also never missed a deadline and managed to stick to expected standards more or less.

      I take heart from the fact that this malady afflicts a large number of people who do writing jobs–it appears to be more the norm than the exception. Maybe it is due to the very nature of a writing job– after all, you never quite know exactly what you are going to write beforehand. You know that there are a thousand ways of saying the same thing and some ways are better than the others.You want to come up with the best possible way and are never sure whether you’ll be able to do it. A deadline involving, say, mailing a hundred clients or interviewing a hundred prospective employees in a certain time-frame would be less daunting, IMO, because the task is more clear-cut. When I am organizing birthday parties for my daughters, I like to be done with all preparations well in time, and I am able to do it easily enough, because the task is perfectly clear-cut if you plan it well.

      I feel that blogging is more difficult than, say, doing a newspaper column, precisely because there is no deadline to pressure you, and precisely because you can ‘afford’ to procrastinate indefinitely!!

  2. simple girl says:

    I love that line from the book.. It kind makes me enjoy the present and stop worrying about the future.. I love the character of Scarlett-O-Hara. I have read all your posts for the blogathon and you have written them beautifully…

  3. R's Mom says:

    I always procrastinate..always…for everything..so there there..you have company 😉

  4. chattywren says:

    I love that quote too! I am big time on procrastination too, especially if I am not sure what to do, or of the task is too big. I enjoyed reading your posts for the blogathon, I think you kept to the theme mostly!

    • //especially if I am not sure what to do, or of the task is too big.//
      Exactly! You hit the nail on the head! That’s just it!
      Thank you, chattywren! Yeah I used a good number of prompts 🙂

  5. aarthy says:

    I am a master in this art 🙂 But I also agree on procrastination and perfectionism go hand in hand. It is still a bad trait but I have noticed this in myself several times. ‘I need to word this post better, I need to find a better picture to go with this post, this is not good enough to be published … ‘ Many times, these are the reasons why my blog goes into slumber for a month 🙂
    Glad to have found this space. Your posts are well written and I enjoyed reading them. Keep writing!

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