We plan to do stuff. We'll vacuum the house, do the Mt. Everest of dishes in the sink, finish our philosophy paper, complete that thing we promised someone last millennium... and then we don't actually get started. Perhaps we make an attempt, only to discover we have no attention span today. Or we opened social media for five seconds... and now we're sucked into some endless rabbit trail that dedicated procrastinators seem to naturally find. Oops, you've gone three hours without even looking at your manuscript!
I'm guilty of this, especially lately. I started a chapter well over a month ago, and have not finished writing it. Maybe more like two months, I'm afraid to know. I have multiple short stories I haven't bothered to complete, some of which are more than a year old.
Then there's the chapters I need to beta-read. I plan to get it done quickly, and somehow it never occurs. Sort of like when I say "Man, I need to dust/ clean the bathroom/ put away my clean laundry/ etc." I finally did some of the tidying up when we were having people come over. Let's see, when did I last clean the bathroom? I think Abraham Lincoln was still president.
Anyway, without further ado, here's a description of what the working process looks like sometimes.
- Decide to undertake a task, or receive a job to do from someone else.
- Plan to start on task soon, and get it done quickly.
- Procrastinate for any number of reasons. You have other stuff you want to get done before starting this task. You just don't feel like it right now. Or perhaps you're too tired, or too hungry, or too unhappy, etc. Maybe you just can't focus today.
- Set deadlines for yourself, in hopes that it will motivate you.
- Continue putting it off.
- Deadline goes past.
- Realize that it's been forever, and you've made little or no progress.
- Spend next few days feverishly doing task that you've been meaning to do for a few weeks/months/years.
- Decide that next time, you're going to be better. You'll make yourself finish that task ASAP.
- Repeat steps 1-10.