Since I wanted to use facts to make this blog topic relevant to my fellow procrastinators, I pulled the file of articles I've collected on the subject, only to find that the piece I wanted wasn't in the file. So I did an Internet search and came up with a different article from the same source ("Procrastination: Ten Things to Know"), expecting to nod along with all ten descriptors.
Only I didn't.
So I went back to my web search and found a quiz, which, of course, I took. Halfway through the quiz, I started to feel better. I mean, it didn't take a clinical psychologist to figure out which descriptors indicated serious procrastination, and they truly didn't describe me. I don't save my Christmas shopping until Christmas Eve. I don't actively look for distractions. I didn't fit the descriptions for any of the three types of procrastinators. And I absolutely believe that my procrastination is part of a time management problem, something the article says is not the case. So, by the end of the quiz, I wasn't surprised to find that I didn't fall as high on the procrastination scale as I thought I might:
According to your results, you are somewhat of a procrastinator. Your score indicates that you either procrastinate significantly in a specific area (or areas) of your life, or are a moderate procrastinator overall. Whatever the case may be, this can become a serious problem.
The more time I have on my hands, the worse I am at getting started. When the clock is ticking, I make myself work. And before you start nodding knowingly, let me assure you that I am absolutely not motivated by a time crunch. Time crunches stress me out, and almost always lead to mistakes, so I don't do my best work under tight deadlines.
Yet it seems I need a deadline of some kind to take a task seriously. When company's coming, I clean my house. When I am teaching a class, I plan my lessons. When an editor wants a piece by a certain date, I get it written.
But when I have what feels like endless time at my disposal…that's how much time I take. Just to get started.
And then it was Wednesday.
Instead of celebrating the words I'd written and jumping online to report my success, I eased into the day. I checked email. I read. I visited Facebook (always a mistake when a deadline is looming). I practiced self-flagellation in the form of comparing my output to that of a fellow writer under deadline who'd written an insane number of words in one day, a number that made my measly output feel very insignificant indeed.
Finally, I began the article that I'd decided to work on today. And, as usual, it wasn't nearly as hard as I'd made it. Once I got started, I made progress bit by bit. I fought the urge to bolt from my chair when the words went into seclusion. I stayed off the Internet (mostly).
And I put close to 1000 words on the page.
The article isn't finished, but the first draft is in good shape -- for a first draft anyway. And, as I tell my students, it's easier to edit a rough draft than a blank screen. (That's conventional writer wisdom that I've heard from numerous sources, not Lisa wisdom, if, indeed, there is such a thing).
The new week starts tomorrow, and I have no doubt it will bring all sorts of new challenges, distractions and ways to procrastinate. But I am strong. I am invincible.
I am writer.