Procrastination - Pros and Cons

If there’s one thing writers love even more than writing, it might be procrastinating. I like to think of myself as someone who has fairly good time management skills, but I’ve gotten in touch with my inner procrastinator since going freelance. I used to always get my work out of the way before I’d play, so that I wouldn’t have the work “hanging over my head” while I was having fun. But as a freelancer, I can always be doing more work, so that feeling of work hanging over my head never really goes away. Thus, I’ve learned to procrastinate.

I’ve had two recent experiences with procrastination that have taught me a bit about when it’s not beneficial — and when it is.

  1. Elance. Once in a while, a project on Elance will arouse my interest, and I’ll add it to my “Watch List.” After adding it to my “Watch List,” I go to my handy-dandy Google calendar and plug in the due date for proposals, giving myself a reminder that goes off ten hours before the due date. Several times, I’ve gone to submit my proposal after I get my reminder, only to find that the project has already been closed for bidding. So most recently, I set my reminder for several DAYS ahead of the closing date . . . and still found it closed for bidding when I showed up. I’m not sure if there’s some sort of weird glitch in Elance’s internal calendar, or whether some folks pull their listings early. What I DO know is that I’m sick of missing the opportunity to bid on projects I want, and so, when I see a project I’m interested in in the future, I’m going to submit a proposal for it within 24 hours, no ifs, ands, or buts.
  2. My living situation. I’ve been thinking about moving to someplace that has lower rent for a while now, but it’s been a hard decision because I really like my current residence. Although several people have been pressuring me to make a decision, I’ve procrastinated making any kind of commitment because nothing felt totally “right.” Yesterday, I learned about a living situation that would be almost ideal for me — an opportunity I wouldn’t have been available for if I’d committed to something else earlier. Nothing is finalized, so I’m not going to say more — except that I’m not going to procrastinate in following up with this opportunity.

So, the lesson? DON’T procrastinate moving on something you really want, even if it does seem like you have “plenty of time.” DO procrastinate when you feel unsure about committing to something; your procrastination just might be your heart’s way of telling you something better will come along.

And procrastinating the work you have to do is probably never a great idea, so I’ll stop doing that now.