This is probably my fifth attempt to start writing my first blog.
I take my position in front of the laptop, find my post page on my website, hands leaning on the keyboard and…, nothing happens!. I keep staring at the screen hoping that some sort of magical inspiration will make my fingers to tap dance an enchanting tune that will produce a decent and educated piece of writing worth publishing. Finally, I reconciled with the fact that today it’s not the day and decide to confine my laptop to the corner of my desk once more.
But today, I thought I could use this same situation to explore the reasons for my lack of motivation and vision. I started to question myself whether the sense of slackness that I have been experiencing, it was caused by me just being pure lazy and unwilling to do anything or by postponing a task that would have involved investing a lot of time and effort and instead, I chose to do something less demanding but more instantly rewarding.
To help to make sense of the dilemma of laziness versus procrastination, I thought I would look into some definitions. According to the English Oxford Living Dictionaries, laziness is ‘the quality of being unwilling to work or use energy; idleness’ whilst procrastinate is ‘to keep delaying something that must be done, often because it is unpleasant or boring’ as defined by the Cambridge Dictionary.
Furthermore, I found an extract on the Psychology Today website that relates these to terms: ‘Laziness and procrastination are similar in that they both involve a lack of motivation. But, unlike a lazy person, a procrastinator aspires and intends to complete the task and, moreover, does eventually complete it, albeit at a higher cost to himself’ (Burton 2014).
I started to understand that laziness was perhaps, not my problem. I’m proud of having succeeded in building my own counselling website, not without its own hiccups, but I’m eager and enthusiastic in keeping it current and fresh. So, I guess, I am a procrastinator. Every time I sat in front of my computer screen, I had all the best endeavours to blog about something that could have meaning and reach those who read it as well as feeling a degree of personal satisfaction and yet, I failed to do so.
I realised that I was putting pressure on myself to do an accomplished job with my first written work and I was getting overwhelmed by the wide range of topics that I could choose to talk about. My perfectionist self and its arch-nemesis, my failure self, together, they were building a high wall of fear and apprehension around me that was preventing me from taking a chance at blogging for the first time. Even though I was aware I didn’t have to meet any particular deadline to publish this initial blog, I was feeling increasingly stressed and anxious about this mental burden which was triggering feelings of guilt and remorse.
I believe that what has helped me to finally ‘put pen to paper’ or ‘fingers to keyboard’ has been to accept that I had been procrastinating and that it was ok. At the end of the day, all human beings procrastinate at some time, mainly, for fear of the unknown or for fear of failure. Then, I reflected on what was happening in my head when I was, fruitlessly, sitting in front of my laptop. I realised that I didn’t have a plan. Inside my head, it felt disorganised, fleeting from one subject onto another, not feeling comfortable in discussing any of them in particular. Next, I tried to explore and understand how those thoughts were making me feel and what to do to change them. As we say in counselling, ‘trust the process’ which means let things run organically by following your own internal flow and believing in what it feels right for you.
And today, finally, it happened. The high tall wall has come down. Hooray!. And what topic felt more appropriate to talk about than the same situation that has been keeping me trapped for weeks. PROCRASTINATION.
It’s worth mentioning that there is such a thing as positive procrastination. Procrastination doesn’t have to feel like that ‘bad influence’ mate that hangs around trying to lead you into the road of perdition. In fact, it can increase your happiness and make you more productive. For instance, you might be able to get on with other things on your to-do list that have been sitting there for a while or it can empower you to have a more creative thinking and allow you to make better decisions and informed choices.
I hope you have found this blog acceptable for a first attempt.
The link below offers a useful list of solutions for overcoming procrastination: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2017/04/13/14-ways-you-can-overcome-procrastination/#69d0b51717df
Burton, N. M.D., 2014, ‘The Psychology of Laziness’ weblog, Psychology Today, last viewed 7th. November 2014, https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/hide-and-seek/201410/the-psychology-laziness
Cambridge Dictionary, 2018, Procrastinate, Dictionary, last viewed 7th. November 2014, https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/procrastinate
English Oxford Living Dictionaries, 2018, Laziness, Definition, last viewed 7th. November 2014, https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/laziness