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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Not flying every where because of procrastination

“Procrastination is the thief of time.” - Edward Young (1683-1765)

I am suffering from procrastination right now. My actions or inability to act are coming from being frustrated. There may also be an element of low self-esteem in the mix right now which is highly unusual for me. In my head I know that the only way to move forward is too keep moving, but right now that knowledge is not helping me. I am normally not a procrastinator. I am usually doing several things at one time and am able to remain on task. The result of my current state is that I realize that I am not a superhuman and there are times when I need to relax and regroup. Another potential result (though highly unlikely) is that I decide that my goal is just too lofty and allow the procrastination to evolve or erode into quitting.

I want to stress that I have not stopped flying, I just don't fly certain places right now because something has happened to me. I am a procrastinator. I remember exactly when I joined the club. My faculty mentor (I am working on my PhD) sent back a paper covered in red. At one point she told me that she was not convinced that I was writing at a PhD level. This derailed me. It derailed me in spite of the fact that I am halfway through and she is the only person struggling with my writing skills. I will admit that I am not a critical thinker. I now know that scholarly writing is a highly honed technical skill that most people are not born with. I know that this academic journey is a learning process. I will not be shot if I make a mistake.

Fortunately I am taking a class to help me refine my technical writing skills. The instructor is kind, gentle, encouraging, yet very firm. I like that. I like the fact that I can throw my best efforts out there and not be afraid of the response. Perhaps I am learning. I have yet to submit something to my mentor this semester. I decided that I needed to seek solace, comfort, and guidance for a while. Who am I kidding? I am still afraid of what she will scrawl across my paper again. But, for the moment, I am comfortable not crying when my papers are returned to me. I realize that even I need a break.

Are you a procrastinater?

I found an article about procrastination by Patricia Stewart. It can be found at . She listed the following as characteristics of a procrastinator:

•Low Self-Confidence - The procrastinator may struggle with feelings of low self-confidence and low self-esteem. He may insist upon a high level of performance even though he may feel inadequate or incapable of actually achieving that level.

•I'm Too Busy - Procrastination may be used to call attention to how busy he is. “Obviously I cannot do such and such because my affairs are so complicated and so demanding. That is why I am late, etc.” The procrastinator may even spend considerable time justifying his reasons, time that could be spent doing the work.

•Stubbornness - Procrastination may be used as an expression of stubbornness or pride: “Don't think you can push me around. I will do it when I'm good and ready.”

•Manipulation - Procrastination may be used to control or manipulate the behavior of others. “They cannot start if I am not there.” Let's face it: deliberate delay drives others crazy.

•Coping with Pressures - Procrastination is often truly difficult to eradicate since the delay behavior has become a method of coping with day-to-day pressures and experiences. Obviously if one is cured, others will put new demands and expectations upon you. It's easier to have an excuse, to delay, to put off.

•A Frustrated Victim - The procrastinator often feels like a victim: he cannot understand his behavior or why he cannot get work done like others. The whole thing is a frustrating mystery. The reasons for his behavior are hidden from him.

I am on this list. Are you? Read enough? Want to take action? Here are some tips from Ending Procrastination. Retrieved from

1. Make a list of everything you have to do.
2. Write a statement of intention.
3. Set realistic goals.
4. Break it down into specific tasks.
5. Make your task meaningful.
6. Promise yourself a reward.
7. Eliminate tasks you never plan to do. Be honest!
8. Estimate the amount of time you think it will take you to complete a task. Then increase the amount by 100%.

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