Procrastination is Not So Bad
The new calendar year is here! Time for resolutions and new goals. I posted to my facebook that my plan was to, of course, lose weight and eat healthier (BTW, I’ve now exercised for three days in a row and feel great! I’ve cut calories too! Yes. I’m very hungry right now). I asked others what they were planning on doing. And as you would expect, someone said they’d like to work on the way they procrastinate.
It got me thinking about procrastination. It’s a very gloomy word to me. I envision angry and disappointed Jr. High school teachers. I think about college and I remember staying up all night, or hitting the library and find all the good books checked out. Or that my paper topic has been rejected and I have to start all over.
There are plenty of reasons to start early:
- Time to develop your ideas and achieve depth instead of breadth.
- Opportunities to problem solve when things go wrong.
- Much less stressful–no last minute rush!
- Work should come before play.
But are there good reasons to wait until the last minute?
- Allowing ideas to percolate on their own. One can get overwhelmed with too much information.
- Sometimes things just go right the first time, and you don’t need the extra time to complicate something that could be simply done.
- Waiting until the energy peaks. I find it much easier to write, say, and Imbolc ritual when it is actually near Imbolc. The energy is right there, and our needs become apparent.
- There is a time and a place for everything. Perhaps the reason you are “procrastinating” is because you are busy with other things. After all, the thing isn’t due for a week, and when something else takes precedent, you’ll do that first, right? It’s just good time management.
- Psychology teaches us that most people work better under pressure. The time crunch forces us to be precise in our work, and often to overachieve to try and hide the fact that we didn’t put in as much effort (read: time) as we perceive the project needed.
- The world moves too damn fast. Maybe we need to slow down and appreciate what we have and not just hurry on to the next thing. I mean, why is that deadline where it is? Is it really set in stone? Or is it just inconveniencing someone else?
- Maybe we need to balance play and work. After all, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. And it angers Dionysus…
Especially as Pagans, we should recognize that things happen in their own due time. You can’t hurry up the Winter any more than you can force an idea onto paper. Sometimes the astrology just isn’t right. At the moment, we have a Mercury and a Mars retrograde. If you think I’m going to get on the phone right now and try to set up future activity, then you are crazy! The planets will go direct soon enough. Why invite trouble, eh? There is a reason we don’t do banishing spells on the Full Moon–the energy just isn’t best for that kind of work.
Now all this should never be an excuse to be flaky or to not do your best. If you say you will do something, you need to do it. That’s part of taking personal responsibility and being a grown up. And if you realize you can’t do what you said you would, the polite and responsible thing would be to say so. I’ve had plenty of profs give me extensions when I’ve let them know ahead of time. Most people would rather have quality work at some point than shoddy work turned in on time.
So the next time someone accuses you, or you feel guilty of, procrastinating, maybe take a look at the reasons behind why you didn’t start earlier. Honestly, if you get the work done on time, does it matter when you started? Maybe we all just need to chill out a little bit. Unless we’re gonna die tomorrow, then there’s no time to lose!