“Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” — Benjamin Franklin (and Mom)
As we reach the new year, many of us created a list of goals and actions known as “resolutions.” We’re generally not very good at keeping them; despite good intentions, I’m a few pounds heavier this December 31 than I was a year ago. I also find myself repeating the pledge that I’m going to avoid procrastinating, which I seem to keep putting off. I’ve improved a bit, but I still tend to set tasks aside until I have only a little time left to complete them.
Since January 2011, I’ve posted to Public Relations Nation every Sunday and never missed a week. While I love to write–especially about PR–it’s sometimes challenging to determine a topic, find 350 words, and post each Sunday before breakfast. I usually find myself working late Saturday nights to finish and hit “publish” before my self-imposed deadline.
Cambridge defines procrastination as “to keep delaying something that must be done, often because it is unpleasant or boring.” Maybe so, but for some of us procrastination becomes a great motivator simply because we work better under pressure. The downside of procrastinating is mediocre output because of the time constraints we’ve created; the upside is that deadlines make us put aside distractions and focus on the task at hand. Author Adam Grant said, “Procrastination gives you time to consider divergent ideas, to think in nonlinear ways, to make unexpected leaps,” and entrepreneur James Altucher noted, “Procrastination is your body telling you you need to back off a bit and think more about what you are doing.”
Sometimes it’s best just to accept our shortcomings, so I’ve decided to make peace with my procrastination. It works for me. A looming deadline is my motivation and it gets my creative juices flowing. I guess a looming deadline could also be the answer to keeping that weight loss resolution.
So here’s wishing you a happy, safe and healthy New Year! I’m starting it off with a new, rhyming slogan: “Let’s Procrastinate in Two-thousand One-Eight!”