There’s a soccer ball sitting in the yard next door. It’s mine. I think one of my friends kicked it over there, and it’s been sitting there for months. I keep meaning to go get it, but tomorrow always seems like a better time to do it. So it just keeps sitting there.
I am a chronic procrastinator, which leads to many all-nighters, many last-minutes, many adrenaline rushes.
Twenty percent of the population label themselves chronic procrastinators, according to Psychology Today. I wonder how accurate that number is. Some people might’ve just never gotten around to completing the survey.
Being a master of procrastination, I understand pretty clearly the circular cycle of procrastination. If you find yourself going through this process in multiple areas of your life, odds are you’re a chronic procrastinator.
Here are the steps:
1. Wishful thinking. When you receive an assignment or task, you immediately promise yourself that you won’t procrastinate – not this time. You’ve learned your lesson. This time will be different. But you also understand that the project isn’t due for ages.
2. Forgetful thinking. What assignment? Oh, that assignment. You’ve still got plenty of time. And if you started now? Well that’d be silly. Anyways, you’ve got lots of other things to do.
3. Active avoidance. You’re running out of time, but you’re not running out of excuses. You know the deadline is coming soon, but, you’ve officially reached a stage of denial. This is the first step of utter procrastination. It’s similar to being guilty of pre-meditated murder instead of the spontaneous kind. You receive longer jail time.
4. Crunch time. This is the adrenaline junkie’s favorite stage. It’s now or never, baby. How did you let it get to this point? This is just ridiculous. There’s no way you’re going to finish. What have you done? This is the worst thing ever created, ever. Hurry, hurry, hurry.
5. You made it. Barely. It was close, but rejoice, you’re done. You promise yourself that you won’t procrastinate again. But don’t worry about anything just yet, you deserve a break.
But what if something you need to do doesn’t have a deadline? Well, just look at my soccer ball in the next yard over.