Some years ago a present arrived by post from one of my cousins. It was a plain notebook, the type with blank pages that you write in, and it had a fancy cover, with a title “The Procrastinator” in large strident type both on the spine and the front.
This sent me into a spiral of negative thoughts, did my cousin think I was a procrastinator, did others think I was a procrastinator, had it been sent in a sarcastic way, some side barb? The other practical problem was what to do with it, I couldn’t take it to the office and pick up another nickname in addition to the “onion breath” one that had accompanied me unknowingly when I didn’t go to the dentist for a few years (phobia). Similarly, I didn’t want to use it in front of my friends.
The notebook sat hidden at the back of some shelves for a decade, then I gave it to a charity shop. I had procrastinated about the procrastinator book – it was true I was one, and the book had fulfilled its destiny.
From psychometric tests, I found out I make decisions slower than most people, and that annoys them. However, also from the same assessment, my decisions achieve better outcomes as they are well thought through. A benefit!
Then one day I read, that procrastination is avoiding uncomfortable feelings, you are putting off doing something that you anticipate will make you feel bad. Suddenly I understood, at another level, that it wasn’t an intrinsic flaw, but more a natural behaviour. My challenge is to know when to procrastinate, and when to take the plunge.
At the weekend out of the blue a young relative contacted me and asked me to be guarantor for him. I was shocked, likely he didn’t understand I would be liable if he ran up debts (fair chance he would), I stayed in my shock state for a couple of hours then showed my husband the message. He immediately said I should phone up the young man, and explain we couldn’t do it for practical reasons. I did (after some gentle pushing and a couple of runs through of phraseology with husband) and the young man was fine about it we had a nice chat, and I invited him to stay. If I hadn’t had the encouragement from my husband, I would still be chewing it over, and going down some rabbit holes of calamity, about whichever route I chose. But actually, within a few minutes, the weight was lifted and I felt so much better.
I think what I am saying is procrastination is not shameful, or necessarily bad, it is only bad if it makes you feel bad and brings rumination and catastrophic thinking. Then it is time to take the plunge and know whatever the outcome you are taking control, and attempting to improve your well being.
What do you think? Is Procrastination good or bad?
A Moodscope member.
PS.I have been thinking about this blog for 6 months.