Functional Procrastination

Procrastinate pro·cras·ti·nate [proh-kras-tuh-neyt, pruh-]  verb (used without object), pro·cras·ti·nat·ed, pro·cras·ti·nat·ing.

1. to defer action; delay: to procrastinate until an opportunity is lost.

verb (used with object), pro·cras·ti·nat·ed, pro·cras·ti·nat·ing.

2. to put off till another day or time; defer; delay

Even the definition of procrastination on even makes it seem negative. 

To Procrastinate until an opportunity is lost.

I am going to let you in on a little secret, if you know how to procrastinate properly, it’s not negative. I know, I’m an expert.

Often I will observe people patiently working to create their ultimate goal, whatever that may be.  The same day an idea pops into their head, or they receive a project and instantly they’re ready to get started. In the past, I’d find myself wishing I could be more like them, the ones that take their time to ensure that [insert awesome achievement here] is the best it can be, top notch.

The realization that I will never be that person sank in quite some time ago, we’re talking like… middle school.

Procrastination works well for me, I have stopped wishing to be more responsible. The stereotype of procrastination reeks of irresponsibility. If the outcome of what I accomplished is something to be proud of, does it really matter how much actual time was spent? I want to stress the word ‘actual’ in that statement up there; just because a person is not physically putting the work on paper (or whatever contraption is appropriate for this big ‘ol hypothetical goal/project/accomplishment/duty I’m discussing) does not mean they are not being productive.

I consider myself to be a perfectionist and a procrastinator. That may explain why I am a functioning procrastinator – much like a functioning alcoholic, but not as serious – even though I may have made a few jokes about being both.

My brain needs time to digest the task at hand. It starts laying out all these ideas and suddenly the inside of my head has just exploded with bubble charts and random ideas. I will be thinking about the outcome until I absolutely have to do it. A gigantic amount of time would be wasted if I started something [anything] immediately. I’d start only to have to erase and start over more than once.

On the indecisive scale of 1-10, I’d say I’m a solid 23. Waiting it out until the last minute forces me to be decisive and eliminates time for me to change my mind. This same time others may observe and believe it is being wasted, the pressures to complete whatever it is I’m working on keeps me focused, on task. It allows me to accept my best work as good enough. The ability to look at a finished product for an extended time period becomes a level of stress that trumps the initial stress of not yet starting.

I do not procrastinate because I am lazy. I do not procrastinate because I’m unable to prioritize. I procrastinate because it works for me. To each their own, I suppose. Kudos to the responsible folks who complete everything early and cheers to my fellow functional procrastinators.

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