The Dark Art of Procrastination

I’m sure we all have days where we get up and are completely and utterly unmotivated – for me today was one of those days.  This week I’ve been practising a healthy level of book-keeping avoidance and I have to congratulate myself on having succeeded quite spectacularly.  Lack of motivation and the tendency to procrastinate are familiar to many of us I’m sure and no doubt things like tight deadlines, commission-only wages, sales targets, lost deals and the wrath of an evil boss are things capable of getting one out of a slump and back on track.   When you work for yourself however you tend to care rather less about what the boss might think of your, quite frankly shoddy, work performance on days like this.

I’m lucky in that I have a daughter who likes to leave helpful messages about the house – this for example was left in my office in case I am in any doubt as to what I ought to be doing when I sit down at my desk ….

Thank you little one – appreciated.  This is all very well for a small child – their day can be considered productive if they get to eat a more than one biscuit or have the opportunity to pretend to be a dog for 10 minutes.  Case in point – a short while ago my daughter told me she had “spent her day practicing a new smile” ….

A couple of years ago two of my buddies having been hit by the recession and stagnant job market found themselves unemployed or – to use a far more PC term as one is supposed to these days – involuntarily leisured !  During this time they formed a (not very) secret society named the “Holy Order of The Duvet” – members of the order were able to positively embrace the fact that they had time at their disposal without the pressure of having to use this time in a productive manner.  This seems like a rather marvellous use of a few days or even weeks and reminds me of a lovely quote I saw at the time which said “if you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner you have learned how to live” ~Lin Yutang .   BUT … the problem (again) with self -employment is that you get enormous amounts of work guilt when you have days of being unproductive or not achieving anything ..

On such days is it important to set about doing things that will make you believe you are doing something when you are not actually doing anything but which you hope may have the side effect of suddenly making you incredibly productive – this can take many forms ….

1) Pissing about on facebook where you are able to discover huge numbers of other people successfully putting off whatever their plan for the day was  .. this does not help you get anything done but does make you feel better about your own lack of achievement.

2) Drinking vast amounts of coffee – walking to and from the kettle can make you feel quite busy – but simply means by the end of the day you are bouncing off the walls and yet still not achieving anything at all ..

3) Writing lists of things you need to do.  Although –  it turns out that in order for stuff to come off the “To Do List” – you have to do the stuff … who knew ?

And – bizarrely – I have now discovered that writing a blog post about procrastinating has successfully prevented me from getting on with the things I was supposed to be getting on with !    The Video below sums up the whole thing far better than I can frankly so I will sign off here.


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1 Response to The Dark Art of Procrastination

  1. Claire White says:

    Great post – will probably read it again several times in the spirit of work-avoidance! xx

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