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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Raise Your Hand if You Procrastinate

Hi, my name is Renee, and I am a procrastinator.

As I was driving to a reporting assignment today, this scheduled blog post came to mind. It’s been on my list of things to do for a week, but I was mulling around a few different topics and it took me awhile to find the right one to work on.

Okay, who am I kidding? I wasn’t “mulling over” anything. I procrastinated, plain and simple. I can’t say for sure if I procrastinate a lot in my personal life as well as my professional. I usually get money turned in on time for my children’s school collections and purchase gifts before special events. I have a calendar I put all my appointments on and don’t find myself running late to meetings and other scheduled events very often.

I just know that while I typically don’t miss deadlines, I do usually turn in assignments either the day before or the day of. And while I get interviews done well in advance, I always feel the need to let information simmer awhile before I tackle a rough outline of an article, especially if the story requires a difficult subject matter.

I am the type of writer who needs accountability and deadlines in order to be productive. This does not bode well when you are the editor of a bi-monthly parenting magazine, as I am. I assign stories to writers and regular contributors and try to pad deadlines where I can so that even if an article comes in late, it doesn’t affect our production schedule. But what do you do when you’re the editor of such a magazine and you are also responsible for writing some of its content? You stress. You put off researching the calendar events. You lose a little sleep. You watch old episodes of the television show “Wings” when you know you should be writing back-to-school content. As every production cycle begins, my husband watches me pace back and forth in front of my computer, muttering to myself. He brews extra coffee and sits back, always offering me a speck of hope by saying, “You don’t need to worry about this. You’ll get it done. You always do.”

It seems appropriate that our latest issue features an article called How to Manage the Evil Three: Rejection, Depression and Procrastination. I sometimes wonder if procrastination and creativity go hand in hand, or if I just simply put things off to create more drama in my life. I’m not the only procrastinator around here, am I?

Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer and editor who blogs at Renee’s Pages.


  1. Renee--I am the "Princess of Procrastination." (You weren't aware that you should genuflect when you see me? Now you know...)

    I think part of it is some of us procrastinators love the "thrill" of seeing if we can finish by the deadline. I think another reason behind the procrastination (when it comes to writers and other artists) is due to how the creative process works. When we need to let things sit before working on them again, it necessitates letting time go by, and by then the deadline is looming over our head and then...

    Oh, who knows why we do it, but as long as it works (this time) we'll continue to do it.

    This was a great post, Renee, because it reminded me of a project I keep procrastinating on--for over a week now. Maybe I'll work on it this morning...or tonight...or maybe tomorrow...

  2. Oh yes, this rings very true for me! I've even written my own blog post about my ability to faff:

  3. As a rule, I'm rather scheduled, but having a deadline is a great motivator for me. Otherwise, like you, I tend to put it off. Also like you, I mull things for a long time and let them simmer before I actually cook up a true piece of work. I'm working.. I am... you just can't see it yet!

  4. I am so glad that I'm not alone! I actually saw a quote on Facebook today (while I was procrastinating) that said, "I'm not a procrastinator, I'm just extremely productive at unimportant things." Yep!

  5. Love that quote, Renee.

    Sioux, next time I see you, get ready to see a curtsey. :)

    As for procrastinating at deadlines, I think it's because we have SO MUCH TO DO. We are juggling SO MANY THINGS, that how can you ever get ahead? That's how I feel. I can never get ahead. But I love my life. So maybe I thrive on the stress?

  6. Mastered in procrastination in college and it's continued.

    Sorry, Margo, I don't buy the "I have so much to do" as an excuse for procrastinating. For me, it's more about being a perfectionist. Like now, for instance, I have a writing to-do list that has 16 items (that I really would like to complete before school resumes). Yeah, that won't happen; well, maye 13 of them will be completed since they are short-term assignments. Once I've researched, I like to let it simmer - think of different ways to devise the story. Even when I have to cover an event for the newspaper at night and the story is due by 8 AM, I am pacing back and forth between my office and living room, working out ledes and determining which power quote will work best at the end. Once that's set, I'm ready to write!!

    My husband tells me the same things, Renee! It's amazing how husbands/significant others become attuned to our writing habits!

  7. I recently decided that some of my procrastinating habits HAD to go. I was done with excuses on why some areas of my life weren't working or moving forward.

    I signed up to a program that uses EFT aka, emotional Freedom Techniques. I have used EFT for a number of years but its power never ceases to amaze me. In the simple exercises I discovered that a key reason for my procrastinating was connected to issues with my sister (growing up she always wanted the attention, I learnt to stay in the background, it was safer and caused less hassle at home if I did) so as an adult and trying to 'take myself out there' it felt unsafe, so I procrastinated and sabotaged my success.

    If anyone would like more info on this please do contact me, I have also just set up a FB page /eft4writers and will be running some free seminars with an EFT practitioner.


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