Procrastination is in the Eye of the Beholder:

I’ve been thinking a lot about procrastination. Waiting until the “last minute” to do something. This is a potential incorrect assumption, but nobody wants to procrastinate. (Or maybe you like it. You do you, whatever floats your boat.)  It generally has pretty negative connotations, right?

Here’s the thing: to an extent, the “last minute” means something different to everyone. Most, if not all, projects have a deadline, so there is a literal last minute, sure. However, everyone has a different idea on when it should be started, or how long it may take. Everyone has a different comfort zone on how long they like to have to get a project done.

Do you feel like you’re procrastinating based on your standards?

Is someone else making you feel like you’re procrastinating because they have different standards? 

By what standards are you procrastinating?

How do you communicate conflicting standards or expectations and reach an agreement?

Say you have something due a week from now. You just found out about this thing and have seven days to get it done. You know it will take about five hours to do the thing. When do you do it? Right away? Exactly five hours before it’s due? What does it matter as long as it gets done to your standards by the deadline?

You might be like me, and you don’t like having projects hanging over your head and like to do them as soon as you know about them. I personally like a large cushion of time before a deadline. By that standard, waiting a day or more could be considered procrastinating.

Others may think that’s so bizarre- why would you stress about it before you have to? Why not prioritize something more fun or immediate? I certainly know all my friends in college found it weird when I had my essays done a few days before the deadline.

Even now- I decided I want to publish a new blog every Friday. It’s only Tuesday and I’m starting this now. I felt like I maybe should have started yesterday, but wasn’t sure what I wanted to talk about. I procrastinated based on my own standard, but it still could be considered early based on someone else’s.

Maybe you like waiting until “the last minute”.  An impending deadline can be a pretty strong motivator, right? You might be so confident, not stress about a project, and budget those five hours it may take right before the deadline.

Who’s to say the person that does the project right when they get it spends more time on it than the person that does it right before it’s due?

The potential problems arise when the procrastination is causing a negative impact on your life.

Are you losing sleep? Is your work (or school) suffering? Is it causing anxiety?

What is a negative impact on your life?

What issues are you having because of procrastinating?

What happens when you procrastinate?

How can you tell you’re procrastinating?

What else can motivate you to not procrastinate besides ‘last minute adrenaline’?

What does it feel like to finish a project with time to spare?

What else could you accomplish if you weren’t procrastinating?

How does procrastinating impact your sleep?

Has procrastination had an impact on how satisfied you are with your completed work?  

How about how others see your work? Do their thoughts matter?

Is sometimes losing sleep over a project a problem? Does it bother you?

If you think you’re procrastinating and want to change that, what would that look like? Feel like?

How would you know when you aren’t procrastinating?

Everyone has a different standard of time. Sometimes we just have to compromise to meet and respect each other’s timetable. What works for one person may not work for another.

I don’t want to come off as sounding like I’m encouraging procrastination. I’m not. What I am encouraging is for you to find a healthy standard of project time management that works for you. If you’re happy with starting a project “later”, and it isn’t causing external or internal problems, that’s great; but if you are worried about what others think about your work ethic, are losing sleep over starting a project too late, or your work is suffering because of when you choose to start a project, then that’s the problem.

What would it take for: you to respect your own time standards, for others to respect your time standards, and for you to respect the time standards of others? 

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