This is a lesson in procrastination…
– Brand New, “Failure By Design”
This post is about two months late.
Of course, you’d have no idea if I hadn’t started off telling you that it’s that late, but I believe that honesty is an important part of any relationship.
Also, I couldn’t think of another opener.
The reason, I suppose, for why this post is two months late is sheer laziness. Sure, I’m busy with work, side projects, socializing, hobbies and sleep, but that doesn’t really excuse anyone when they agree to do something for someone else. The ugly, puce-shaded monster known as Procrastination, which runs rampant through our minds, is the only culprit.
I’ve spent years trying to figure out how to keep myself focused so I can increase my personal efficiency and effectiveness. I’ve read books, taken seminars, bought planners, created personal rules, and at one point, was strongly considering hypnotism. Yet it only amounted to a whole pile of temporary fixes, like a band-aid over a gaping wound. I always returned to my procrastinatory ways, which led me to one simple and honest revelation:
Procrastination and laziness are natural and inherent traits.
This isn’t an argument of nature versus nurture. There’s no grand battle between the rational and irrational parts of one’s mind. It’s simply a thing that people do, like breathing or sleeping or eating stinky cheeses. We procrastinate because our bodies and minds crave outside stimulation or relaxation. We put things off so we have the social benefit of an out for a conversation (“I have something I need to work on”) or seeming like we’re busy (“Well, I’ve got several things in the pipeline right now”). It feels good to procrastinate, no matter how much we might hate ourselves when it’s all said and done.
Procrastination is the reason that websites containing pictures of cats with goofy captions can make millions of dollars every year through advertising revenue. Procrastination is why we love Angry Birds. Procrastination is the reason that we have escapist art forms, like literature, film, music and video games (yes, I consider video games an art – don’t judge). Without procrastination, our lives would be duller and far less enjoyable.
Maybe it’s not so bad that this post is two months late. It gave me the opportunity to reflect on the hows and whys of the whole experience, and maybe that can help me to better understand how to control my wandering brain. So really, procrastinating on this could have saved me from a far worse fate, where I could have wound up putting off things with hard deadlines that could have a tremendous negative impact on my life.
Oh crap, I need to go finish my taxes.
About the Author: Andrew Weitsman is a marketer, blogger, entrepreneur and sorta-New York Times Bestselling Author (it’s complicated). He blogs several times per week at Needle, Meet Haystack and can be found on Twitter at @aweitsman. And seriously, he has to go finish his taxes.
Andrew is taking part in a two-month guest series featuring writers across the blogosphere here on twenty(or)something while this blog takes a brief hiatus. Email me at twentyorsomething [at] gmail.com or say hi on Twitter!