Writing that moves readers to action

I began my week with thoughts about time shared by Eric Clapton…

“Being in the moment … time just sort of stops still, and at the same time seems to go by very quickly… it’s a blur. But I love it. I love when it feels like it’s really going well. I’m just in tune, in harmony with time. It’s a great feeling.”

As I’ve learned over the past several weeks, it often takes a mishap to remind one of the importance of appreciating and using time wisely…

As you may recall, in late September I shared my curiosity about responses to a question posed in one of my LinkedIn group discussions:  “Where do you struggle in your writing process?”  For many, Procrastination was a popular strife.  For some reason, though, this issue did not appear on my list.  With a desire to fit in or at least understand why this issue had not arisen or did not seem to create “struggles” for me, I began to ponder and embark upon researching the subject of procrastination.Messed up ankle

Then, a week and a half ago, I fell and severely messed up my ankle.  My pace slowed; at times, my entire time rhythm felt warped – even truncated or halted (yikes, 5 more weeks of this!!).  Routine tasks – once allotted time and occupying portions of my day – have either been eliminated (walks, the gym), severely altered (sleeping), or demanding that I relearn functions (extremely time-consuming).

cb in bedFor a person who prides herself as being an active overachiever, all of these changes, at times, felt debilitating and have shed new light on my interest in Procrastination.  I wondered if I dug deeper into this mysterious concept (for me, anyway), I might find some positive insights…and may even uproot a tool that would be useful – especially now.

PROCRASTINATION…what is it?
The Merriam Webster online dictionary defines procrastination as: 

Noun:
the action of delaying or postponing something

Verb:
to be slow or late about doing something that should be done; to delay doing something 
until a later time because you do not want to do it, because you are lazy, etc.; to put off intentionally and habitually; to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done.

Etymological details suggest the word derived from Latin and came into use around 1540 in Middle French as a means to describe “a putting off from day-to-day” or “put off till tomorrow, defer, delay.”  To me, right now, that doesn’t sound like too bad a concept!

The term had a bit of a peak in usage during the 1800’s, however, usage seemed to taper off as the early 1900’s approached.

As suggested in his enlivened perspective on the word’s history, Ben Zimmer notes that “Christian moralism fused with commercial pursuits” during the “dawn of the Industrial Revolution” may have affected the word’s usage.  Naturally, that  caused me to reflect on my grandmother and a phrase she often used around our house while I was growing up:  Żadna praca nie ma pieniędzy (Polish for:  No work, no money.)

DO ALL OF US PROCRASTINATE?
Dr. Joseph Ferrari, psychology professor at DePaul University and pioneer of modern research on the subject tells us that “Everyone procrastinates, but not everyone is a procrastinator.”  “We all put tasks off, but my research has found that 20 percent of U.S. men and women are chronic procrastinators.”

WHAT DOES PROCRASTINATION LOOK LIKE?

IS PROCRASTINATION GOOD OR BAD FOR YOU…
Much has been researched and written about procrastination – its causes, impact, etc.  As one can well imagine, the act of procrastination is a complex subject. Researchers often ask whether the activity (or rather inactivity) might be classified as biological or psychological.  Oftentimes, the subject is divided into different types (i.e. behavioral and decisional).

In the early part of the century, The Procrastination Group (can you believe a “group” titled and tasked to study just this exists?) is said to have conducted an online survey.  They posed the question:  “To what extent is procrastination having a negative impact on your happiness?”  Of 2700 responses, 46% said “quite a bit” or “very much.”

Some claim procrastination can be a barrier to many aspects of life – achievement, meeting one’s goals, etc.  Yet others like professed procrastinator Frank Partnoy (author of “Wait:  The Art and Science of Delay”) suggests that the key to success is waiting for the last possible moment to make a decision.   And, yet there are still others who have found great fodder in ranting or writing about the subject

ARE TEST AVAILABLE TO HELP DETERMINE WHETHER YOU ARE A PROCRASTINATOR?

IF YOU PROCRASTINATE AND WANTED TO STOP PROCRASTINATING…could you?

All of this information has definitely been enlightening.  I now feel comfortable with resorting to the use of Procrastination as a tool to journey through the healing process with my messed-up ankle.  However, I also know that I need to be cautious about engaging procrastination as a lifestyle (a bit like managing the use of those pain pills or herding wild monkeys).

So, how about you…Do you sometimes procrastinate or are you a chronic procrastinator?  Does procrastination work for you…or is it a good time to consider making some changes…???

Crafted, researched and written by:  LIZ CARLOCK
The Write Resources, LLC™
© 2014 EM Carlock

Graphics:  http://www.peanuts.com/

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