People write frequently about how to stop procrastinating. But when is procrastination positive?
Two rationalizations I hear people utter frequently:
- We’ve gone without doing (x) for (specified time), what’s wrong with waiting another (specified time)
- If we don’t (do x) now, we’ll never do it.
#1 is a rationalization for procrastinating and #2 is a rationalization against procrastinating. Both can be equally wise or equally foolish depending on how you fill in the blanks.
Examples of #1:
We’ve gone without attacking a small defenseless country for the last 200 years, why not wait another 200 years?
We’ve gone without eating healthy meals for the last six months, what’s wrong with waiting another six months?
Example of #2:
Let’s say you just inherited $200,000.
You could say either of these things:
If we don’t start saving money now, we’ll never do it.
If we don’t buy the Ferrari now, we’ll never do it.
Procrastination is neither positive nor negative; it’s simple decision making. If you choose to procrastinate, you are deciding to spend your time and/or money doing something else.
I wonder how he got around to it? Maybe he told himself – if I don’t write this essay now, I’ll never write this essay.