Top 4 Reasons Why We Think We Procrastinate (and the 3 Reasons Why We Really Do)

As I’ve been working on stuff this past week, I’ve discovered myself spending way too much time doing other things that are much less important than what I’d been planning to do.

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This is odd for me. I am not a procrastinator by nature. As a matter-of-fact, I surprised more than one professor by turning in term papers weeks early. So, why am I procrastinating now?

As part of my procrastination, I decided to investigate and share with you.

 

4 Reasons I’ve Heard for Why I Procrastinate

1. Overconfidence – Maybe for some people. Possibly. But I’m not confident in my ability to turn this garbage first draft into a passable second draft. I’m not oblivious to this fact, as here I am, admitting it to you! Do I think I can do it? With enough work, yes. So why am I procrastinating rather than putting in the work?

2. Lazy – Lazy is not an adjective I’ve ever applied to myself. I work full time, am a mother, wife, blogger, writer etc. So no, not lazy.

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3. Not Believing the Task is Important – This definitely doesn’t apply. I can’t share a crap story. Okay, maybe I can, I’ve read enough of them, but I think a good story is very important. I want the reader to feel like the build-up, love the character, and have a sufficiently epic ending. I want a mental fist pump at the end. I want my reader to have that happy grin when you’ve come to the end of a particularly good romance novel.

4. Not Knowing Where to Begin – Well, maybe this is the case. I’m a Panster when I write, so I don’t have the whole thing plotted out, but the first daft is already written, even if it’s very rough. So, begin at the beginning.

 

 

3 Reasons Science Says is Why I Procrastinate

You can take a look here and here if you’d like, but the gist of the articles is:

1. Avoidance Behavior – If you dread the task ahead of you, you may avoid doing it in the short-term. You know, procrastinate. This can cause a vicious cycle, but it does play into #3 below in that it gives a temporary feel-good emotion while you’re doing something other than what you dread.

2. Lack of Motivation – People are known to procrastinate when there’s very little motivation to do a hard task.  Now, we’re getting closer. Even if I complete this revision, there will be more to come. I need alpha reader input and eventually beta reader input. So, yeah, motivation might be a little bit lacking. Yes, I want to finish the book. Yes, it’s important to me, but the real issue is when you combine this with the next point.

3. Present Emotions vs Future Emotions – There’s a very real emotional punch you get when you accomplish something. While revising the book will be accomplishing something, any benefits are in the far distant future. Watching a funny cat video? Instant laugh.

 

How about you? Do you procrastinate? What do you procrastinate doing? What’s your fix for it?

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3 thoughts on “Top 4 Reasons Why We Think We Procrastinate (and the 3 Reasons Why We Really Do)

  1. A very interesting post. I go through patches of procrastination – and I tend to think they are linked to lack of motivation and/or avoidance behaviour. When I’m feeling like that I will do almost anything other than the work in hand (mess about on Facebook, make a cup of tea, do the washing etc.). However, when I’m on a writing roll I sometimes find it difficult to stop. When I check the time I sometimes find it’s 2am or some equally silly hour. There doesn’t seem to be any happy medium!

  2. I’m a big procrastinator. In university I left every assignment until the week before it was due, even though we had weeks to complete it. I’ve always told myself I work better under pressure, but I think I knew I could meet the deadlines and saw no sense in starting sooner! It worked out mostly, (with the exception being the time my computer destroyed a 5000 word document two days before the essay was due!) and my grades were good, so I never changed!

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