Origin and causes of Procrastination

Procrastination; the dictionary defines it as putting off until another day, delaying an action or deed, to defer. We’ve all been there and we’ve all found ways, albeit creative ways, to procrastinate, especially if it’s something that we are not eager to accomplish or complete.
I think back to my days at college and I remember lots of late nights and all-nighters because I put off until another time the project that was due. This could have been due to the anxiety in starting and completing the assigned task, or maybe it was just plain laziness.

As children we are taught to do our work in a timely fashion and not to allow distraction to interfere in getting our work done. For the most part, the teacher mentality of our parents seemed to work and pushed us to get things done; after all, if we didn’t complete our homework there would be no television, video games, or playing/hanging out with friends. So, when did our ability to procrastinate get so fine tuned?

When we get older and start to do things on our own without our parents watching every move and every assignment, we find other things to fill the time and the projects or assignments tend to get pushed back. We get caught up in the many things that need our attention and we procrastinate on the things we tend to not want to do and focus our attention readily on the things that make us happy, are fun and give instant gratification. In our hurry up world we have come to find that we need to grab the gold ring when we can because the chance at happiness and fun doesn’t come up everyday. That’s why we put off the mundane tasks and the activities that are required of us in our everyday life.

I once went to a seminar and the ideas I took away with me have stayed with me long since. The leader of the seminar told us that sometimes in our hurry to procrastinate on the important things we tend to get tunnel vision and look for ways to avoid what we see as the mundane. This leader suggested that we needed a new perspective. If you are 5 foot 5 inches tall, you only see things from that height for virtually all of your life. What happens if you climb up on a table, chair or half wall and look at the world differently? Would you feel different about the tasks and activities placed before you. This leader suggested that perhaps all we need is a new perspective.

Procrastination will always be part of our lives, but we can structure it and learn new ways to do the same activities if we are willing to see the activity from a different viewing point. Look for ways to interject fun into your mundane tasks, make a game out of those every day projects and soon you’ll look forward to doing them. A new viewing point works wonders!