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Why You Procrastinate—It's Not What You Think

HELP!!! There are so many topics I want to “unpack” that I am overwhelmed – all I want to do is pound down the remainder of a Costco-size bag of veggie sticks!!! Better than cigarettes, which I gave up over 20 years ago, and only 4 WW points for 38. I’ll be right back.


What other distractions can I come up with to keep me from doing everything on my list for today? I’m usually so focused and now I feel even more agitated than I did pre-veggie stick meltdown! It’s not like I haven’t accomplished anything, just nothing I actually set out to do. So why am I procrastinating?

“If you’ve ever put off an important task by, say, alphabetizing your spice drawer, you know it wouldn’t be fair to describe yourself as lazy," writes Charlotte Lieberman in her New York Times piece, Why You Procrastinate (It Has Nothing to Do With Self-Control) If procrastination isn’t about laziness, then what is it about?

Evidently, it’s about being in a bad mood, as I learned from the article, and you know what? It is!

Upon reflection, I acknowledge that I am in a super crappy mood, brought on largely by other people’s procrastination which, in turn, is keeping me from getting my work done, and I am incredibly frustrated. That was one of the topics I was going to unpack – people not getting back to you in a timely manner with information you need to complete a task. But no…rather than write about that, I’ll go make myself another cup of coffee and do the laundry…then beat myself up about it. How productive!

“If it seems ironic that we procrastinate to avoid negative feelings, but end up feeling even worse, that’s because it is,” an irony that is not lost on me Charlotte Lieberman, who goes on to say, “we must realize that, at its core, procrastination is about emotions, not productivity. The solution doesn’t involve downloading a time management app or learning new strategies for self-control. It has to do with managing our emotions in a new way.”

And the article offers up some options like:

  • Cultivating curiosity

  • Considering the next action

  • Making your temptations more inconvenient

All great, but I’m going to add another one, giving yourself permission to be in a crappy mood and procrastinate. I did and wow, I finished my column on time!!!


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