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16 January 2011 @ 11:27 pm
When I was at home, my mother asked my father why he hadn't done something and he responded immediately, "I was going to do it tomorrow!"

And my father has the right of it: The modern term comes from the Latin word procrastinatus, which is the past participle of procrastinare derived from pro- (forward) and crastinus (of tomorrow, "to make for tomorrow".

I realised that was at the root of my problem. No, I don't blame my father (or my mother, for she procrastinates too). I merely realised...it runs in the family. (My brother just over-procrastinated on an exam; thankfully I hardly ever [and can't recall the last time I did] over-procrastinate, merely cut it right to the line like the dare-devil or lazy-liver I am.)

During my elongated break (which I am still on, and may or may not be procrastination), I decided to do a little research. (You know, research of something completely unrelated to what one should be doing, as procrastinators do...).

The person who wrote this Wiki article and the people who are mentioned in it seem a little uninformed.

Schraw, Pinard, Wadkins, and Olafson have proposed three criteria for a behavior to be classified as procrastination: it must be counterproductive, needless, and delaying.

Delaying, I'll go for - that's the whole point, really. Needless...maybe, for instance my research on procrastination; it has not real need. Counterproductive, though? Perhaps to the task at hand, but I would like to know how cleaning your kitchen or hoovering your stairs or unpacking or rearranging your bookshelf could truly be called counterproductive, objectively.

Apparently I am an egodystonic perfectionist tense-afraid (sometimes relaxed instead) procrastinator. Isn't that fascinating!

And here we go, I'm normal: More specifically, a 1992 study showed that "52% of surveyed students indicated having a moderate to high need for help concerning procrastination". It is estimated that 80%–95% of college students engage in procrastination, approximately 75% considering themselves procrastinators. (; "Student syndrome" refers to the phenomenon where a student will only begin to fully apply themselves to a task immediately before a deadline. ...Students also have difficulties when self-imposing deadlines. Really, now? I hadn't noticed. :Þ And since Mark-the-Housemate is also in my room at 4.20am writing (or whinging over) an essay, I'll just assume he hadn't noticed, either. :B

This was a pretty fun article, too.

Essay due in a little under 12 hours. 2000/2700-3000 words. Paragraphs in all but one section. Only three sources and my brain (that being the most fail-tastic part, but will be fixed eventually...) Totally doable.

What do you all do to procrastinate? What are your little tricks? I drink lots of water (...if I drank as much water as I do when I'm procrastinating/working, I'd be much healthier), take breaks for 10-minute blocks of television, take lots of bathroom breaks (see first point), flail around a lot, chat with people and reward myself with chocolate when I'm finished. In earlier stages I also do productive things like clean, unpack, organise and do unrelated work. What are your secrets?

And here, have a cookie.

[Appropriate icon is appropriate. I note, for the record, that if I had to write a paper on procrastination, I would be researching unicorns.]


You'll be with me like a hand print on my heart.
Current Mood: nostalgicProcrastinatory.
kellychamblisskellychambliss on January 17th, 2011 04:47 am (UTC)
One of the things I do to procrastinate, I'm doing right now -- reading LJ and leaving chatty comments. Needless? Well, I don't know; it serves all sorts of purposes: keeps me in touch with people I like, gets me out of myself. Delaying? Yep. I'm not writing fic when I'm writing this. Counterproductive? Depends. If the thing that needs to be produced is fanfic, then probably my writing a note to Kiwi is going to keep me from producing that product. On the other hand, perhaps my brain needs the break, and fanfic ideas are percolating at the subconscious level even as I type. But other products are possible, such as maintaining community. So to that tend, the procrastination is not counterproductive at all.

I think theorists have the wrong of it, very often. In many ways, procrastination serves many useful psychological purposes, even if it does keep one from producing a particular product at a particular time. If I got all my work done early, then I would have to face some difficult issues that I don't really need to worry about while I'm putting off smaller things. Said difficult issues aren't necessarily things that need to be addressed right now, so I'm not losing anything.

I honestly believe that if procrastination didn't serve important needs for us, we wouldn't do it. It's all a matter of economics. If the costs outweigh the benefits (however defined), we'll usually cease doing something. Even if the costs are outrageous (or seem so to outsiders) , if there are sufficient benefits, we'll persevere. The fact that I am unable to stop procrastinating tells me that I'm getting benefits that outweigh the costs.
Kiwi Crocus: Nature || Sparkle drops.cranky__crocus on January 31st, 2011 01:51 am (UTC)
I very much approve of your procrastination methods and am grateful that you spent some of your procrastination time on my livejournal!

I also must say I agree with your thoughts on procrastination. I'm thinking of a cave man who decides to sit back and not hunt the mammoths that day, and thus avoids being trampled with the attempts to get the herd over a cliff fails. That isn't a very altruistic example, of course, but procrastination has so many reasonings and techniques!

One of the things I love most is when I've waited to the last days of a deadline to work on a paper, and the professor remembers something (s)he wanted to tell us and thus sends it out in an email. I can then take full advantage of it while my friends often have to pick at their work to find a way to remedy it. Always makes me feel a little vindicated.
101mutts101mutts on January 17th, 2011 05:15 am (UTC)
I procrastinate by doing useful things, though I'm good enough at it that it doesn't seem like procrastinating half the time. I always do the things that are least distasteful on my TDL first instead of what's most important to get done. I also play games on the computer and research stuff (dog seminars, colleges, read blog posts). But I would imagine a small amount of procrastination would actually be productive. For example, when I get home from school I generally need a half hour to go online or read and just chill. Any work I produced wouldn't be very good without recharging.

I still love the procrastibation quote you posted somewhere.
therealsnapetherealsnape on January 17th, 2011 06:24 am (UTC)
I'd say that procrastination is counterproductive mostly in that the task at hand doesn't get done. But as kellychambliss says, LJ-reading and commenting for instance, does serve to maintain community.
And for me, LJ is the prime source of procrastination. That, and putting the kettle on.
Kiwi Crocus: Rainbow || The cake is a lie.cranky__crocus on January 31st, 2011 01:53 am (UTC)
That, and putting the kettle on.
Perfect procrastination, there. Even when I don't have a little food to procrastinate with, I can always use the kettle. (:
chellix18chellix18 on January 17th, 2011 01:32 pm (UTC)
wow!~we really do learn something new everyday.
im guilty with procastination as well, for me, the reason why i do it is because i know there will always be tomorrow. like what im doing now,im suppsed to be studying for an exam on May but since there's still 3 months left im just lying around doing nothing. tsk tsk tsk *bad chellix*
lash_laruelash_larue on January 17th, 2011 01:33 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure I procrastinate so much as simply ignore. Fortunately there are few things that I really have to get done. I suppose housework is the most frequent victim. And trust me, housework is severely abused chez Lash.

"Something in the fridge smells off."

"Yep." * closes door * Fortunately, mine is a bit of a slob too.

As for what I do to avoid it? Stuff like this, mostly. And reading/writing Fanfic is inexpensive. I have noted that going into town always leads to spending money, so perhaps I am not so much a procrasturbator as I am frugal? (I don't buy that either)

But mine has noted that I am much happier since I started this obsession hobby, and I do think that it has helped my emotional well-being, so I wouldn't call it counterproductive either. Nor would the people who have been spared because of it, if they knew.
Kiwi Crocus: Readwrite || Plait reading.cranky__crocus on January 31st, 2011 01:55 am (UTC)
I always appreciate people who are a bit slobby. And it makes me less frightened to visit you some day! I'm not incredibly messy or anything, but I'm far from a neat-freak, and they tend to frighten me just the tiniest bit. I'm afraid to place my foot wrong on the floor!

Glad you are much happier since starting the hobby! Emotional well-being is important. I wouldn't call it counterproductive. I use fanfic as a treat for when I accomplish something, too.
Leilevelcro_panda on January 25th, 2011 09:52 pm (UTC)
I remember a writing exercise that they gave us my freshman year for Composition; we were told to just start writing about whatever came to mind on our topic and eventually it would start to make sense.

By the end of the period I had written about unicorns and dinosaurs having a teeny tiny battle on my desk. My topic was about construction on the school campus.

I've always hated writing exercises like that. They never work for me.

Your unicorn remark made me think of that lol /random
Kiwi Crocus: Emotion || Blue butterfly.cranky__crocus on January 31st, 2011 01:59 am (UTC)
Hahaha, that totally would have been the case for me too. My brain just doesn't work that way! It's a dreamland!