Why is it that we procrastinate over things? I know I have spent the last hour or so finding lots of other non-urgent activities to do, such as mowing the lawn (I don’t even like mowing the lawn), making another cup of tea, going to get my eyebrows threaded and tinted and having a very lovely Whatsapp catch up conversation with a friend. I am fully aware that I have a number of things on my ‘to do list’ that are far more pressing. So actually maybe it’s not about procrastinating, maybe it’s about being easily distracted.
Procrastination or is it Distraction
If someone asks me what I’m thinking, I find it almost impossible to give just one thought, because it feels that at any one time I can be having multiple thoughts. Sometimes this serves me, other times it sends me into overwhelm and causes the headless chicken effect.
I can be in the middle of something, such as this blog, and flit in and out of my emails as I am alerted to a message. What happens? Well, I lose my train of thought, and I can get totally distracted by the email, which can in-turn lead me on to doing yet another distracting activity. When I come back to the blog my flow has waned and the words are harder to find BUT I do come back to it.
The Difference Between Procrastination and Distraction
The good thing is that I am aware of my ‘areas of development’ and this is indeed one of them. So what can I do? The simple answer would be to put my phone somewhere else so I am not tempted to read the messages that pop up, turn the email alert off and focus, really focus on one activity at a time. Yes, I could do that, and maybe it would work. I wonder if I would then just get a little bit bored. I am someone who likes deadlines, who works well under pressure and who LOVES to be busy. As a single working mum of two young children, I know this feeling very well and hand on heart most of the time it absolutely works. Yes there are days when I want the world to slow down, or for someone else to come and cook the kids dinner or mow the lawn, and then there are other times when I feel totally in flow and I reach the end of the day feeling like superwoman. Why? Because in some odd way distraction serves me, well most of the time anyway.
So there must be a significant difference between Procrastination and Distraction don’t you think? Or maybe I am convincing myself that there is!
Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones or carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones, thus putting off impending tasks to a later time. Whereas Distraction is something that prevents someone from concentrating on something else.
We all have to do things that don’t necessarily fill us with joy, and if we put them off then maybe it’s procrastination. The saying ‘do the worst first’ springs to mind. This often works for me, because I am then able to focus on more pleasurable things that ‘float my boat’ so to speak.
So whether you are a procrastinator or a someone who is very easily distracted, recognise it, acknowledge it and then you have a choice to do something about it. After all, that’s what it’s about right? Choice.