Friday, August 5, 2016

Could You Be a Situational Procrastinator?

I might be a situational procrastinator. 

What do you think?

-I knew I was getting an ear infection, but wanted to finish The Last Kingdom on Netflix, so I put off going to the doctor until after regular hours and had to go to the urgent clinic. (I guess this is a weird king of Kuddos to the show.)

RESULT: My ear is killing me despite the meds and I wish I had gone sooner.

-My son is nearly ready for college application time. I wanted some bonding-time with him this summer, so jumped right in and planned a trip for the two us. 

RESULT: Seven days, five states and three schools later, we learned a bit about each other and it was a great experience. 

-I go back to teacher schedule on Monday. For two weeks my teacher inbox has been pinging with meeting and training announcement. There are two I am to complete from home and that I am avoiding, one for a new district wide tech program and one that comprises of six hours of online video torture followed by a repeated testing salt wash.

RESULT: TBD. Truthfully, I'm not a rule breaker and I hate to miss deadlines, so I will get these done. But you can bet I won't start the tech training until the day before it's due and the other doesn't HAVE TO be done until October, so....

-With school starting back I should not have been surprised when I got the call to go move my classroom (its a yearly ordeal). I thought I was smart by asking about this problem at the end of last year (was told I would not move and thus packed the cupboards full instead of sticking everything in easily transportable boxes), but alas...

RESULT: I got my butt up there and moved my stuff and got the basic setup of the new room done. Why? Because this work effected other people. If I did not do my part, others could not do theirs.
-Weeding. Sucks. I am way more interested in sleeping in while I can than getting up early (so not to die of heat stoke) just so I can pull weeds from a 120 ft long rock garden. Especially since hubby already bought this grass/weed killer easy pump thingy for me and I haven't use it. Yeah.

RESULT: I weeded. I sprayed. I left the pulled weeds in the grass planning to ask my son to take the mowing over them to pick them up. I didn't ask or he didn't hear and they stayed for a week. The weeds dried up nicely in the sun, got watered by the irrigation system and now I have MORE weeds.

-At the start of summer I sat down and made a spreadsheet of upcoming writing competitions. It is a great sheet, in order by date and then alphabetized with all kinds of handy columns. I then picked two I thought I was nearly ready for.

RESULT: I was overzealous. No, I could not meet the deadline for a travel article because honestly, I couldn't decide if my ideas or trips were article worthy next to the other already published articles. I did start taking notes for a short story idea but decided not to enter because the idea is too big for a short story (I'm not abandoning it, though. It's on the slow burner for now.)

-Scanning through Twitter last week, I came across the #PitchWars writing competition. I emailed my writing group buddies who have manuscripts completed, agonized over my query and synopsis, and edited my 1st chapter for the 123rd-130th times.

RESULT: I made my submission yesterday. Two days before the end of the sub window. 

Is this kind situational procrastination normal?
Yes. We all avoid situations which we find disheartening and wind up finding our happy place instead-my ear infection being a prime example. 

It's also a matter of motivation. Looking over my list, I found I am more motivated by close deadlines and taking action when other people are counting on me.
"Chronic procrastinators have perpetual problems finishing tasks, while situational ones delay based on the task itself." (source)
I take heart in this statement. I am not a chronic procrastinator. I finish many tasks and finish them well, thank you.

But I do have this problem...
“You know what you ought to do and you’re not able to bring yourself to do it. It’s that gap between intention and action.”
This quote below seems reasonable to me. As a busy person, one must learn to prioritize. Sometimes work wins, sometimes home life, sometimes massages and pedicures win.
"...procrastinators calculate the fluctuating utility of certain activities: pleasurable ones have more value early on, and tough tasks become more important as a deadline approaches. 
The more I read of the source article, the more I believe I am not the typical procrastinator who never completes a task, or makes lists of jobs to do, does one, shuffles the list, and does one more.

Maybe I am not a procrastinator. 

I don't fit anything on the list from Psychology Today.

After reading, this article (which I plan to share with my students), I think what I need to focus on is my attitude towards tasks-make myself find the positives and just get started. Again, looking at my list above, I can see how I've done this for the items I started on right away.

How to find the positive?

Here is a compounded list of steps from the Positivity Blog which I plan to take.

1. Find the optimistic viewpoint in a negative situation.
4. Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.
6. Add value and positivity to someone else’s life.
7. Exercise regularly and eat and sleep well.
11. Mindfully move through your day.


  1. I'm not a procrastinator, but sometimes I'm just plain old lazy. Music helps me get going. (How can you sit around in the La-Z-boy with the Beach Boys or Bryan Adams playing?)

    1. I think you are right. Music is a good external motivator... so if you can't pull together the will to get something done, music can get the blood pumping.

  2. I use Meghan Trainor if I need to get moving and a classical music channel for when I need to focus. Works every time. Provided I remember to use it.