Adult Procrastination - Why Do Today What We Can Do Tomorrow?
I'll just do it later
Everybody on this planet has procrastinated doing something. It is a behavior that is common among adults, and unfortunately even more popular with children.
Why do we put off doing something? Is it because down deep we are lazy? Is it because we have become accustomed to doing things later, so it just does not matter? Is it a behavior that gets worse and worse if we keep on doing it? Can it cause us harm in our everyday lives? Is it something that we should worry about doing, or is it just a normal habit that is commonplace among adults, and it does not hurt anybody?
First, let's take a real deep look into the act itself, and see if we can determine what causes us to act out like this, and let's also see if there is a cause and effect that makes us do it more and more.
I think the easiest way to look into something like this, is to give ourselves an example. Let's make it as simple of an example as we can. Let's say that we are a child of about ten years of age. We have just come home from school, and we know that it is a rule that when we come
OK, now we all know that children not only like to push the rules to the limits, but that if there is nobody there to make them do something, chances are that they will break the rule. Not always but mostly.
So, as this ten yr old comes into the house, he thinks to himself, "I don't want to do homework right this minute. I am hungry, so I am going to have a snack first."
Pulling this apart, what has the child essentially done? He has put off doing his homework, but how? He has in his head, justified not doing it right away, because he was hungry, and hunger is more important than homework and learning. So, for a short time he has given himself a reason, an excuse, and a good one in his way of thinking.
So after the snack is finished, and he knows that he really should get his homework done, but still does not feel like it. What next? He procrastinates it again, because he felt really hot and he needs to wash his hands and face to get not only cooled off but cleaned up so he doesn't get dirt on his paperwork.
Once again, the boy has, in his mind found another reason not to do what he should. Once again he has thought about something that will pass his parents thinking, for he cannot get the paperwork dirty, and he was hot, and could have had a fever. Again, the boy has come up with a justification for not doing what he is supposed to be.
Excuses, Reasons, and Utter Laziness
I could go on and on with the excuses a kid can come up with, but I think that these are enough for you to understand my thought and answer process. Adults do exactly the same identical thing when they want to put off or procrastinate doing something that really is important, but not really fun to do. Perhaps balancing the checkbook, we can all say that it should be done by a certain day of the month, when the statements come out, but we can probably also come up with some of the excuses about why we can do it later. My child needs help with his math, I have to make dinner, this movie wont be on again ever. With each excuse, the justification must become better and stronger than the one before it, just in case our practice of putting it off is challenged by someone.
I believe that a good definition for procrastination is this---- Procrastination, the habitual practice of future laziness. If this practice is used over and over again, some people can actually sabotage themselves into not doing something that they actually intended to do, like picking up a child from school, or buying a ticket for a vacation for the family. Down deep we might know that we cannot afford the ticket for the vacation, but instead of facing that fact, it becomes much easier to put it off to death, if you know what I mean. Waiting until it is just too late to do it at all then becomes the excuse for not taking the vacation at all instead of just talking to the family and saying that we do not have the money to do it. It becomes the easier and lazier way to deal with the problem but not the right way.
Hopefully we have talked this out enough for any of us who might be guilty of putting things off too much, or too often can take a good hard look at the causes, and then the effects we are having on our lives.