A right kick in the procrastinating arse

Posted by in Productivity

Who knew fate had a sense of irony? The following is a brief story concerning someone whom writes regularly about productivity, yet recently fell victim to a severe bout of procrastination – only to have a perfect stranger provide the required kick in the arse to get moving again.

Everyone procrastinates

It’s a consoling thought, isn’t it? Everyone procrastinates, because to procrastinate is, in many cases, to err – and to err is only human. Except for the fact that procrastinating is bloody annoying, and more often than not leads to severe bouts of guilt and/or last-ditch efforts to get something done.

Still, you might be consoled to know that everyone really does procrastinate, including yours truly, and I thought I’d make the most of an opportunity presented by a truly glorious example of said behaviour on my own part to shed light on a particular phenomenon of procrastination that hides in broad daylight.

Insufficient information leads to indecisiveness

One of the main culprits, as far as procrastination is concerned, is indecisiveness. This may be blindingly obvious when put to paper, but an inability to decide really is something of a showstopper when you want to get things done – it can just be hard to notice in daily life, because procrastination is such a stealthy beast, and particularly so if you’re stressed.

Procrastination, in fact, does its very best work when we’re stressed, in which case we become highly susceptible to reverting to a state where our brains are allowed to make primal, split-second decisions about what’s important and what’s not – which almost invariably leads to the most spectacular cock-ups in the department of priority-making.

Briefly put: ones level of stress is inversely proportionate to ones ability to intelligently prioritize tasks.

And this, dear reader, was just what happened to me.

Of course fate has a sense of irony

Because it’s had quite a few millennia to develop one – and perfect its application of it. Recently, I’ve had an abundance of things to do, and fell victim to the perfect storm of being finding said things not only excruciatingly interesting, but also infuriatingly complex, the last of which was due to a general lack of knowledge regarding how to actually get them all done.

This is just about the point where tunnel vision set in, and before I knew it, I had neglected a fairly important part of my stated areas of focus for more than six weeks in a row. Now, nobody got killed, and my core priorities were still well taken care of due to well-ingrained habits, but in retrospect it’s easy to see that the procrastination had grated on me.

What happened that made me properly alert to the situation, where hitherto there had been only a temperate annoyance and poor excuses for not buckling down, was a chance encounter with a perfect stranger that gave me the kick in the arse that I needed.

Truth be told, it wasn’t so much as a kick as, say, a volley delivered with enough blunt force to topple the Eiffel tower – or something similarly weighted. After talking to this person for about an hour, he suddenly quoted back to me something – as if straight out of my own musing on the topic – the importance of regular reflection as pertaining to the art of prioritizing.

Of course, I couldn’t help but crack a wide and impressively sheepish grin where I sat, and progressed to confess my sins straight there and then. We both got a solid chuckle out of that one.

By the time of this writing, I’m back on the wagon – and just thought I’d let you know that even people who work with these things fall off every now and then.

The important part? Getting back on.