The Peril of Procrastination

Some people might think working and studying from home is a dream.  You get to make your own work or study hours, avoid a stressful morning commute, and sip your steaming mug of coffee while wearing pajamas in front of your computer.  Indeed, these are all great benefits to working and taking online courses from home.  However, there is also a downside to it.  The endless distractions and freedom to do whatever you want at home makes getting anything done extremely challenging.  If you’re not paying attention, procrastination can become a life-long habit.

Procrastination takes on many insidious forms.  Researching information for a new blog article can suddenly turn into watching cute dog videos on Facebook (how did that happen)? Searching Google for a better word for ‘things’ can mysteriously turn into reading an article about antiques and gifts.  Honestly, how did that happen? Working out of your home can be a constant struggle of self-discipline, where the lure of an afternoon nap on the sunny sofa beckons each time you walk to the kitchen for a glass of water.

Delaying work has a sneaky way of making you focus on what is immediately around you.  Staring distractedly out your home office window, you notice what a beautiful day it is and maybe a nice walk with the dog will get the creative juices flowing again.  Then, there’s the dishwasher to unload, another load of laundry to start, the blinds to dust, and on it goes.  Next, you realize you better go grocery shopping so you have something to eat for dinner.  Without warning, 5:00 pm hits and you haven’t written more than 300 words the entire day.  Where does the time go?

Unquestionably, stalling tactics appear to be the hobby of choice for students everywhere.  There is no end to activities to keep us all preoccupied.  Squandering hours watching adorable kitten videos and reading amusing memes can be imminently more appealing than studying for exams.  Taking care of unsightly hairs and other pressing hygienic needs can seem far more important than completing an art project.  Responding immediately to texts from friends becomes crucial to planning your weekend schedule.

Postponing tasks isn’t necessarily a negative activity unless it becomes a full-time habit.  Everyone benefits from getting out of their heads once in a while; creative thinkers need a healthy break, and many believe procrastination is integral to creativity.  But, before you know it, deadlines are looming, and the inbox continues to overflow.  Sometimes, our minds can come up with endless ways to avoid our stressful to-do lists.

Unfortunately, doing things we don’t always want to do is a part of everyday life.  Setting boundaries and goals will help keep avoidance to a minimum.  Focusing on priorities or doing easy tasks when your energy is low is useful.

When procrastination becomes the preferable alternative to doing anything, you may want to reconsider what you’re trying to avoid.  Fear of failure and perfectionism can be the hidden agenda to wasting your time.  Or perhaps you’re not connected to what you’re doing because it has no meaning for you.

Pay attention to how you feel about something and what your thoughts are saying.  Is it all negative or can you put a positive spin on the task at hand? Move forward into the freedom of accomplishment and end goals achieved.  Next, reward yourself with a nice nap on the sunny sofa.  Rome, after all, wasn’t built in a day.