Monday, July 7, 2014

The Perils of Procrastination

By Niki Turner

I have a recurrent earworm. It's sung to the chorus from Carly Simon's "Anticipation," but the words go like this...

"Procrastination, procrastination, is making me late..." (If you don't know the original song, you can find it here.)

To procrastinate means to delay or postpone action; to put off doing something.

As I write this, I'm procrastinating vacuuming, even though there's enough dog hair under the couch to make a puppy with, and a big black cricket gave up the ghost sometime last night by my husband's desk.

A lot of us probably procrastinate household chores, and unpleasant activities like going to the dentist, or doing the taxes, putting them off until the very last possible moment. I'm guilty of that kind of procrastination, too, but I also put off doing things that actually make me feel better when I'm done. Exercise, prayer, writing... all things that I enjoy, and that really do improve my state of mind (and body), and yet I've been known to spend half the day in my exercise clothes instead of just doing my exercise routine. Or spending hours on FB or Pinterest when I should be writing. Or avoiding sitting down for quiet time with God by getting distracted with some mundane task.

Google "procrastination" and you'll come up with as many funny cartoons and memes about it as you do ways to quit the habit. Unfortunately, in order to make all those methods work, you have to stop procrastinating stopping procrastinating. It's a pervasive problem. There are hundreds of self-help books for procrastinators on the market, and I'd be willing to guess a hefty number of them are bought by writers, a profession in which almost everyone is afflicted by procrastination, at least occasionally.

What do you procrastinate doing, and why?

Any tips or tricks to break the cycle?

For some enlightening information about procrastination, and maybe some new ways to address the problem, you might want to check out these articles:
Why Writers Are the Worst Procrastinators

Niki Turner is a novelist, journalist, and blogger. Her first completed manuscript earned second place in the Touched By Love 2009 contemporary category romance contest. She writes for local newspapers, and won second place for best agriculture story at the 2013 Colorado Press Association annual convention. She also blogs at and is a co-blogger at Niki is an active member and volunteer for American Christian Fiction Writers and is involved in establishing an ACFW chapter on Colorado's Western Slope, where she resides. Her fiction blends the good news of God's love with come-as-you-are characters in stories that encourage and inspire.


  1. I was going to comment on this post this morning, Niki, but, um, well, you know . . .


    I procrastinate getting my writing quota done. That's why I'm reading e-mail and blog posts. :D

    1. LOL. I've been keeping an eye on the comments all day and I kept thinking that was exactly what was happening... "I'll comment later." I know I'm guilty of that!

  2. I hate doing my 'bills'. Most of them are automatic. It's no big deal. It takes me 15 minutes, but I still seem to find ways to put it off each month. Ridiculous.

    1. I have found that a large part of the tasks I routinely procrastinate actually take less than an hour to accomplish. It's silly!

  3. I put off making phone calls. Doesn't matter if it is business or personal. I hate talking on the phone. Things that should only take a couple minutes to handle get strung out far too long. Sigh. I'm getting better than I used to be, but I'm glad for this day and age when a lot of things can be handled via e-mail.

    1. Oh my, Lisa, ME TOO!!! I loathe the phone. I love my eye doctor because I can make my appointment online without having to talk to anyone.

  4. That's funny, Niki. When I teach my Meyers Briggs personality class for writers and characters I usually mention that the "P's" in the group--which stands for perceptual, but also indicates procrastinator--can write. It's just a matter of whether or not they ever finish anything. LOL. At least you've managed that hurdle :)

  5. I'm with Lisa on procrastinating phone calls. I just hate it. Especially when I'm going to have to tell a machine what I'm calling about.


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