Procrastination has a reason?
No...but you do. Each of us has a way our brains work through tough, convoluted problems.
Unfortunately, during the evolution of humanity, the Industrial Revolution and the development of our educational system, someone decided that procrastination was...BAD! Especially, when our procrastination impeded their timelines!
Ohh, the pressure...
Let's talk reasons for procrastination
Before we get deep, let me just say the following statements are in no way, shape or form, "scientific". (You know I flesh out these thoughts as I type, right?)
I'm not fond of the psychological definitions of procrastination. If you consult the great oracle of google about "procrastination", you will find a plethora of journal articles bemoaning the fates, and failings, of people who procrastinate.
Much to the dismay of all those cottage industries that have sprung up around "helping you correct your procrastination", I don't think we're broken. I think we're just working differently .
I think there are four reasons for procrastination.
- The first type of procrastination is a sign of resistance to growth. The resistance typically kicks in as we approach a higher evolution of our selves. The evolution can be any movement into a higher level of life such as higher education, starting a business, approaching new people, or a deeper spiritual life. I really believe the base of this resistance and resulting procrastination is...fear.
- Next, we have creative procrastination. This type is the slow germination of ideas that produce artworks, innovations, discoveries, and new knowledge. Procrastination of this kind leads to a thousand sticky notes on the wall next to your desk waiting to coalesce into one solid "thing". Supposedly, the ancient Egyptians had a word for this procrastination. It was roughly translated as "in the proper time." Not everyone works in this manner. There are folks who enjoy nothing more than tackling a project right away.
- Then we have the "angry" or"resentful" procrastination. You probably know this one - it happens when you commit to doing something you REALLY don't want to do. You resent the time, energy and resources you have to use. You're angry at yourself for saying, "Yes" when you really wanted to say "no". Consequently, you keep putting off the chore.
- Finally, you procrastinate because the sofa, a bowl of chips, and the Godzilla Movie Marathon Month have a hold on you, despite any looming deadlines or internal callings. And this form of procrastination was described by a second ancient Egyptian word translated as "laziness".
Which procrastination are you?
It's a fair guess that we have employed all four reasons for procrastination during our lifetimes. And, it just may be that moving back and forth through the four is "normal" behavior. Maybe, just maybe, procrastination becomes a "problem" to be solved only when the expectations of another aren't being met?
Or maybe, procrastination becomes a "problem" when resistance to personal growth and evolution result in one not reaching a higher level of potential.
This one has my name written all over it. Some ideas/actions can pop from my mind fully developed and need only my hands to complete them. Others require time to germinate. Just as chicken eggs need to stay in the incubator for the fluffy chicks to hatch, some ideas need time, the warmth of attention, and periodic turning.
Last week's blog post was one of those ideas. All the information for the post had been gathered four months earlier. But, I couldn't find the unifying concept. My experiences and my head kept trying to make the post something else. I kept postponing the writing.
The sticky notes, the phone calls, the interviews, the images all sat in one place. Multiple first starts were rejected. And then, "in the proper time", the words tumbled out, as if by magic. As my dear friend said, "It all unfolded in Divine Timing and Perfect Right Order."
That's how the creative procrastination (and the creative process) can work for me. You have your own methods that lead to a glorious spark from your heart to your hands.
We work and procrastinate in our own ways and we're okay!
Creative vs. other procrastinations
How do I know if my procrastination is creative and not resistance, or resentment? Creative procrastination does not produce symptoms of stress. And I make gradual progress by testing, discarding and refining the different possibilities that come to mind.
On the other hand, resistance or resentment leave me feeling as if I don't know where to begin. I feel overwhelmed, I am easily distracted, I walk in circles (no kidding). I crave salty, crunchy snacks and I mindlessly hit the social media buttons on my phone. It's as if I'm hoping the solution will present itself in a kitchen cupboard or a certain newsfeed.
So, there you have it...
We've covered some thoughts about procrastination, reasons, and some behaviors that may indicate stressful types of procrastination.
Our bottom line - procrastination is not a pathology. It can be creative and strategic in our art and photography work. And if we can recognize the other types as they affect us, we can face them and change them.
Until the next time...
Share your thoughts/comments below or over on the Facebook page. I'd love to hear your procrastination insights.
Expect the best. Anything else is an adventure.
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