The Art of Procrastination
So I’ve been procrastinating on my journals a little. Or a lot. I had an elaborate plan for reading week to finish my book for my book report as well as all my journals. Unfortunately, I only ended up finishing half of each. Although the journals have a small word requirement, with more than a month until the due date I find it hard to focus on journals when I have other, more pertinent assignments from other classes to do. Personally, I think it is a result of time management and knowing what my priorities are at this moment. But after some research, I found that procrastination is a quality that plagues most journalists. So my question is, why? Why is procrastination so common in journalists and writers?
The Writers’ College Times writer Michelle J. Rensburg tackled this idea in her article “Time Management for Journalists — Why Do We Procrastinate?” She outlines 5 reasons for procrastination: lack of knowledge about the subject, lack of interest in the topic, lack of motivation to complete the article, fear of getting your article rejected, and rebelling against your article. All of these reasons are applicable to my procrastination in both reading my book for the book report and writing my journals.
For the book report, the novel is quite a dense read. Being a voracious reader, I assumed I would be able to whip through the novel with enough time to go back and conduct a deeper analysis. Boy, was I wrong. The longer I read the book, the more I began to lose interest with Hartley’s incessant military jargon and confusing references (see “lack of interest in topic” and lack of knowledge about the subject”). This then created a vicious cycle of me dreading reading the book and instead finding something else to do that I justified as being more important at that moment.
As for the journals, while the far off deadline most likely contributed to the lack of motivation to finish them, I think the fear of writing an unacceptable journal was most likely the main cause of my procrastination. Growing up as a perfectionist, I have learned that I have an irrational fear of failure or inadequacy. As a result, I would put off daunting assignments I was unsure about, so as to put off the stress of wondering whether I would pass or if I could complete it. It was a terrible habit, and I overcame it as I advanced through grade school. Now, it seems in university I need to make an adjustment again. However, I am still quite happy with the amount that I finished over reading week as it was a step in the right direction. It was definitely more than I had done previously.
At least it quells my worries a little to know that I am not alone in my procrastination. It just means that I’ve chosen the right career path.
A blog post with advice on how to overcome procrastination as a reporter: “So Little Time, So Stop Procrastinating!”