Beware the Procrastination Demons
by Maria Granovsky
Here I am. It’s 10 pm on a Friday evening. My eyes are burning from staring at the computer and my brain keeps telling me “I wanna go home.” But I’m stuck at the office, finishing a project that has to be done by Monday morning. I’m flying out of the country on Saturday, so I don’t have the luxury of the weekend to complete the work. I knew about this deadline for about a month. I started working on it two days ago.
“You can’t rush creativity.” “There’s plenty of time!” “I work best under pressure.” Pick your excuse — I’ve used them all. While I’m proud to say that no deadlines were ever missed, there have been plenty of meltdowns at the eleventh hour and fifty-sixth minute, when my computer froze, or the FedEx guy came and left early, or … You know how it goes.
“I work best under pressure” is hands-down my favorite. A small voice in my head often whispers “how would you know? It’s not like you ever tried working without pressure,” but I shush it as unhelpful, especially because it’s distracting me from fighting fires on the other projects that have now become emergencies due to earlier procrastination. Last minute scrambling sure does add excitement to one’s life, but I sometimes wonder how much shorter that life is due to stress.
I can recite many excellent reasons to tackle tasks as they come up. Things you’re afraid of rarely get easier if you let them fester; a small mess (physical or mental) has a tendency to spiral into a bigger mess unless cleaned up fast; you’d have more time to do things properly, rather than slap-dash in the last minute; you’ll have a sense of accomplishment for tackling something difficult or undesirable; your frolicking time will be free of the shadowy guilt that comes from knowing you’re shirking your to-do list… But none of these resonate enough to break years of conditioning.
What has finally made me rethink the usual way I do business is the realization that it’s preventing me from writing the sequel to POISON PILL. I don’t have the worry-free two to four hours of daily time I need because I’m constantly aware of just how much backlog there is on my plate. Not being able to work on the sequel is an unacceptably high cost, enough so that I’m experimenting with changes designed to place my procrastination in remission, if not cure it.
Still doesn’t mean I’m going to file my taxes any earlier than April 15, though…
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Genre – Legal Thriller
Rating – PG