by Lanre Olagunju
Killing time is not killing, it’s suicide—Myles Munroe.
One way or the other, procrastination must have waddled its way into your goals for 2012, constituting an hindrance to some of the unachieved goals. We all are unavoidably preys to procrastination, essentially because we live in a world governed by the principle of space-time, in which anything that must happen will have to take time. Yeah time is an asset, a very vital resource at that, which is vastly needed in converting dreams into reality. But in another sense, time is also a restriction to man, essentially because we as humans can only do much within a specific time frame and then defer and hope to do other things much later. Can you now see why I said we all are preys to procrastination?
Just like there are two sides to a story and also two sides to a coin. There are basically two sides to procrastination. Many writers and self-improvement consultants who write and talk about procrastination only talk about how bad it is, how it kills opportunities and ideas and why one must be cured of it. Nevertheless, I wonder if any of these motivational experts have been able to come up with a cure for procrastination.
I vehemently disagree that procrastination has nothing good about it, specifically because many of the impressive and ambitious achievers procrastinate intelligently by choosing to give priority to the most important task. On the other hand, non-effective people are chronic procrastinators who neglect or defer important tasks as a result of laziness and lack of focus. Yet, it would be stupid to argue that of all the many ways to avoid personal success, the most sure-fire way isn’t procrastination. I’ve discovered that lazy procrastinators who squander time are awkwardly optimistic people who think they would still perfect a task by delaying it commencement to the tip end of the deadline. Therefore, they make unrealistic statements like “I’m more creative and productive under pressure” or “I’ll do it tomorrow when I’ll certainly be in the mood.”
When we procrastinate, it’s not really because we actually lack the ability to estimate time. So it’s not actually a problem of time management like many think. I like the way Dr. Joseph Ferrari, a world leading expert on procrastination, who is an associate professor of psychology at De Paul University in Chicago puts it when he explained that “Telling someone who procrastinates to buy a weekly planner is like telling someone with chronic depression to cheer up,” That’s actually not the case. One of the reasons why many indulge in procrastination is that they lack the ability to overcome the inertia to get to work. And from my personal experience as a writer who has to churn out at least two articles every week, I’ve realized that the bigger the task, the harder it is to get yourself to work. But once you overcome that resistance, it becomes a lot easier to follow it through.
Another reason why people procrastinate when there is a big project at hand is fear of failure or do I call it fear of wasting time in case the project fails. They erroneously think that would automatically amount to waste of time spent. Like one of my brilliant teachers would say, “failing after trying your hands on a mathematical problem would have shown you ways of how not to solve that problem”. And in fact, working on big projects always leads to somewhere, whether the desired result is achieved or not.
One more form of procrastination which is quite deadly is the one some experts refer to as “unacknowledged-procrastination”. They call it unacknowledged because you might not realize that you’re deferring major task basically because you’re getting other things done, most times things that aren’t necessarily related to your major task. There are times when I need to write an article and I lazily spend so much time surfing the internet all in the name of research. At other times, I find myself replying emails or returning text messages. Or you just find the need to clean up the house, visit a friend or take the dog on a walk, so you can avoid doing the main thing.
I ask myself this question and most times it helps “What’s the best thing you could be working on at the moment, and why aren’t you? This should be the most vital question any ambitious person should be asking in 2013. And the amazing thing is that once you ask yourself this question and you follow the sincere answer that presents itself in your head, you will not need to bother about procrastination anymore.
As I close, there’s a positive side to one’s ability to intelligently defer some tasks. For Instance, when you get inspiration or ideas on a particular project and you know that it’d pay off to set other important things aside, it’s wise that you give attention to this fresh idea which would in-turn, eventually increase your net productivity.
Lanre Olagunju blogs at www.larigold.blogspot.com and tweets from @Lanre_Olagunju
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.