Friday, January 3, 2014

Pressure #3 - Do you have a tendency to procrastinate, or do you like checking things off your to-do list?


I am supposed to be writing something, aren't I? Right, yeah. I was going to answer a question about whether or not I procrastinate. I was going to answer the questions seriously, but I can't stop laughing? Do I have a tendency to procrastinate? Do primates have opposable thumbs? Is rain wet? Am I wasting times coming up with rhetorical questions instead of just admitting that I am a confirmed procrastinator? If a tree falls in the forest......... no. Wait. That's a different sort of question.

I like to joke that "one of these days, I will stop procrastinating."  Sometimes, I think I am THE WORST procrastinator, and then I look at some of the people in my life. What I've noticed? The most creative people, and the very highly intelligent people I know (the two are not mutually exclusive, by the way) are some of the WORST procrastinators ever. Perhaps the outlook is good for me after all?

Interestingly, if you do a google search, and you type in "procrastination linked to" google automatically suggests the following: "procrastination linked to perfectionism" (check), "procrastination linked to anxiety" (check), and "procrastination linked to intelligence" (so maybe there IS hope for me yet!) Google ALSO gives you a ton of great memes about procrastination, as you can see.

So, WHY do I procrastinate? According to Eric Jaffe, "True procrastination is a complicated failure of self-regulation: experts define it as the voluntary delay of some important task that we intend to do, despite knowing that we’ll suffer as a result. A poor concept of time may exacerbate the problem, but an inability to manage emotions seems to be its very foundation." And I thought I just really hated folding the laundry!

In my defense, I DO really hate folding the laundry.

Well, no, that's not actually true. I really LIKE folding the laundry, once I get going. I just tend to put it off. Every SINGLE time.

In the same article I quoted above, the author quotes Joseph Ferrari (great name, by the way), who is, apparently a "pioneer" in procrastination research (unlike me. I am a pioneer in procrastinating research.). Ferrari says that "to tell the chronic procrastinator to just do it would be like saying to a clinically depressed person, cheer up."

Now, one one hand, that makes sense to me. On the other hand, it really is almost that simple (for me, the chronic procrastinator, not for someone who is clinically depressed.). I haven't read the whole article. Ironically enough, I have bookmarked it to read later.

But it isn't quite that simple either. Because my brain says "just do it," and when I DO just do it, I realize how simple and fast "it" was, and how easy it will be to do it again in a day or two. But I never "just do it" in a day or two either. Whatever IT is.

Why do I do this? Well, it COULD be OCD related. The link between OCD and procrastination is PRETTY evident in a cursory google search, but I went into some of the results. says: "OCD manifests itself in a large variety of ways, and individuals usually suffer from a combination of symptoms. Most people with OCD also share common difficulty with daily activities, such as tardiness, perfectionism, procrastination, indecision, discouragement and family difficulties."

In an interview with NPR about his book Triggered, Fletcher Worman confesses, "It's funny — procrastination can be a symptom of OCD in the sense that because you know a project will require so much of your effort, and you're so frightened of screwing up, it's easy to just keep putting it off and putting it off and putting it off."

There's definitely a link. The link is there with ADHD too. In this article at Psych Central, Roberto Olivardia, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and clinical instructor in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, is quoted saying, "I don’t know anyone with ADHD where procrastination is not an issue."  He also says, very cleverly I think, "For people with ADHD, there are two time zones: Now and Not Now. If it is not happening now, the ADD-er will tend to procrastinate until it gets closer to the ‘Now’ zone."

So, is it an OCD thing? An ADD/ADHD thing? A time management thing? Laziness? I don't know.

All of this was not the official answer to the BlogHer question, though. The question was, specifically, " Do you have a tendency to procrastinate, or do you like checking things off your to-do list?" The answer? MY answer? BOTH! As much as I really do have a very chronic procrastination issue, I LOVE getting that to-do list checked off.

And now, I have a million things to do. So I am going to go read a book. Cheers!

NaBloPoMo January 2014