Destination Procrastination

“Procrastinate now, don’t put it off.”
                      —Ellen DeGeneres

Uh oh.

I’ve got a deadline looming and I should be writing a magazine article. Instead, I’ve turned back to my blog because, well, I missed a day and, honestly, it’s more fun.


Anyone who writes for a living will probably get a chuckle out of Stephen Pastis‘ take on procrastination and the writing life.

Pearls Before Swine: A Day in the Life of a Writer

But as I’ve said in earlier posts, time management is not a typical strength of people with ADD. It’s not that I want or intend to be late or that I can’t sit down and get something accomplished. It’s just that it’s sometimes difficult to get started.

Deadlines are crucial in helping me get things done. Without them, I’d lollygag on all sorts of things. Most of the time I need externally set deadlines, but setting my own often helps too.

But why is it so hard to get started?

According to a 2011 article in Psychology Today, procrastinators have at least one of three issues: They have a fear of failure, a fear of success or they are perfectionists. I’m not quite sure which I category fit, but I often put off what could have been done two days ago.

Calling it “structured procrastination,” Stanford University philosophy professor John Perry, author of “The Art of Procrastination,” believes procrastination can be beneficial.

In an article he authored for the Huffington Post, Perry describes structured procrastination as “the art of making this negative trait work for you.”

He gives nine reasons to procrastinate including:

* Some procrastinators are perfectionists and fantasize about doing the perfect job. But putting the task off often results in adequate work which, most of the time, is all that is needed.
* Given the chance, a lot of tasks disappear (in other words, didn’t need to be done at all).
* Not doing one thing is an excellent way of doing something else gaining one the reputation of someone who gets a lot done.

“People who clean their garages, write clever blogs, send thank-you notes and read a lot of books are invariably procrastinators ..,” Perry writes.

Temporarily skirting my responsibility to write the article, I check my email. Lo and behold there in my inbox an article in ADDitude Magazine about, yeah right, procrastination.

To the perfectionists out there, ADDitude says, stop the negative self-talk.

ADDitude’s other suggestions for us delayers include: break the task into smaller more manageable steps, create the right non-distracting environment, get organized with everything you need to complete the task, do something fun to relax before getting started and stay focused by not multitasking.

For another short detour on the road to completing YOUR task, I found the Ellen DeGeneres quote on Buzzfeed along with many others about procrastination.

So now it’s after 10:30 p.m. and I still haven’t started my article. I suppose there’s always tomorrow. Bets on whether I’ll get the article submitted by or before the Aug. 1 deadline?



3 thoughts on “Destination Procrastination

  1. Pingback: The ADDled Brain and Anxiety | The ADDled Brain

  2. I have ADHD too. After years of trying to make myself into a “planner”, I recently gave up and started embracing my tendency to procrastinate. I nearly always finish an assignment 30 minutes before it’s due. But my last-minute work is excellent! The work I’ve done in advance is generally not so good. And there are just too many good books to read for inspiration in the meantime. 😉

    Different strokes, right?


    • Hi Selena,

      Thanks for writing. Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond. I wasn’t procrastinating, I just got distracted …

      But yes, I agree. What you experience is exactly what John Perry talks about. So good for you for relieving yourself from the stress and trusting that you can and do accomplish good work despite a deadline!

      For me, if I don’t have deadlines, I will procrastinate endlessly, especially if I believe the task will be taxing or boring. I think I have a bit of that perfectionist thing going on. Hence, the long lapse since my last post.

      I plan to get back to it soon. Until then, great to hear from you and keep on keeping on …


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