Procrastination is the bane of my existence. Why? The Oxford English dictionary defines it as 'to defer action, delay'. That simple definition sums up procrastination quite nicely. But it leaves out some pretty heavy shit that accompanies practicing the art of procrastination.
An example of procrastination is needed. How about everything to do with this gloss. I chose my words a the last possible minute, a few days before the deadline. I could have picked them at an earlier date but instead I chose to wait. I've also managed to leave writing this gloss till the last few hours. I don't know exactly why I chose to put off doing everything. It would have been better to just suck it up and chose the words right away and write about them on a reasonable date.
So if I can't explain it myself as to why I delayed on such a simple task then maybe good ole' Freud can help me out. Freud thought that procrastination was associated with the pleasure principal; that humans want to feel nice, pleasant emotions before they feel negative ones. When we receive a task we don't like we delay action on it to put off feeling negative feelings till a later date. But it doesn't really matter because you end up feeling guilty about not doing the task right away. It's just a lose-lose situation. Personally I start to feel anxious and guilty about not doing it, then I just avoid the task in general. Which is stupid because I always end up doing the assignments in a rush right before the deadline a cursing myself for my idiocy the every time.
I've learned that I'm just going to be miserable even if I procrastinate so I don't think my case relates to the pleasure principle. Yes I did put off writing this gloss because it sucks to write 500 words about a single word. So technically I am delaying doing something because doing it is not fun. But I don't feel any warm fuzzy emotions when I make the decision to just not do the damn gloss right away.
Freud was born well over a hundred years ago, so are there any modern explanations for my ineptitude? Scientists have recently linked procrastination to low self-esteem. I defienently had low self-esteem in high school where I took procrastination to the extreme. I just didn't do any work. However, I'm feeling pretty good about myself right now so that doesn't seem very likely. I mean I'm insecure like everyone else but I don't think it's causing the procrastination.
I guess in the end it doesn't matter why I procrastinate. I'm just going to blame my prefrontal cortex. It's that magical place in my brain that does all my decision making as well other things. But really it's responsible for the messes I get myself into, like not doing things right away and instead procrastinating about them.
1. Oxford English Dictionary. "Procrastination". 2012. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/151861?redirectedFrom=procrastinate#eid. Accessed November 21 2012.
2. Online Etymology Dictionary. "Procrastination". 2012. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=procrastination. Accessed November 21 2012.
3. Wikipedia. "Prefrontal Cortex" Last modified October 29 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prefrontal_cortex. Accessed November 21 2012.
4. Wikipedia. "Procrastinate". Last modified November 20 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Procrastinate. Accessed November 21 2012.