The most famous procrastinators, apart from students, are writers. (We totally understand if you need a few writing hacks- we have some great ones for you here!)Let’s say we have an assignment to submit in 7 days. We try to start when an assignment is given, but thanks to procrastination all we do on day 1, is write the heading of the topic and save the document. On day 2, we write a couple of lines which even we know aren’t that great.
On day 3, we take a break from writing; because of course we are tired from the mediocre work of the previous day. On day 4 we feel a smidgen of panic which easily repressed but let’s be honest we have 3 more days. On day 5, we don’t write because our mood doesn’t allow us. On day 6, we worry about writing but no actual writing is done.
On day 7, most of our day is spent making up phrases and words to be used in the articles and it is only in the late night of day 7, that we actually put sensible and proper sentences down to compile our work. Then this work is edited in the wee hours of the day of submission and sent. This is the saga of a writer’s procrastination.
We know we’ll worry and fret but why do we put it off? So let’s look at the pros and cons of procrastination in writing:
1. A sense of independence and control:
It sounds weird but it’s true. By procrastinating you are exerting your control over the task. You are independent, why should anybody tell you what to do? You’ll do it when you see fit.
2. Collect your thoughts:
By delaying writing, you are collecting the material in your head. You think of new ideas, what should be written, how it should be written, what shouldn’t be put down, the beginning, the end and everything in between. Instead of writing on schedule and putting down unsatisfactory words which you know you will end up editing out, we just wait for the matter to be composed in our mind.
3. Performing under pressure:
Our best emerges when we are put under pressure. Our efficiency increases and so does the quality of work. This is because our minds know that we have to get a lot of work done, correctly, in the time left. It digs deep to get us the best words to put forward and actively keeps checking for mistakes, effectively reducing the work time.
4. May be someone else will do it:
This is a little sneaky and holds true when you work in a team. May be if you don’t get around to it, someone else will do it for you, because in the end all that matters is that the task should be done.
5. You do other tasks:
In order to avoid writing the given task, your mind compiles a list of all the other non work-related things to do. So, when you are busy procrastinating, you can rearrange your wardrobe, buy groceries, clean the bathroom, take your pet to the vet, get your nails done and cook, all of which are things you need to do anyway.
6. The work will be done regardless:
Procrastination doesn’t mean you won’t do it. It just means that you don’t want to do it. So, even if you are king or queen of procrastination, be assured that you’ll do it even if it means staying up all night with your beloved cup of coffee.
1. Stress and Regret:
You may not be writing, but you are continuously thinking about writing which is just as stressful as writing itself, if not more. You worry that it will not be done on time and you regret all the time you have wasted. And you ask yourself, ‘what is wrong with me?’ and ‘why can’t I just sit and do it?’
2. Break under the pressure:
Not everybody strives under pressure. Some people do well when they are continuously working on their task in a slow and steady manner. Writing is stressful sometimes and the pressure affects some people’s writing making it less than the required standard.
3. Not enough time to edit correctly:
When you have finished writing barely before the deadline, you don’t leave yourself much time to edit your work. We all make mistakes and if those mistakes aren’t removed from our work, the quality falls. So, by delaying, you are not leaving yourself much time to fine-tune your writing.
4. Not prepared for untimely situation:
Not everything in life is in your control. What if you are procrastinating your writing but close to the deadline you fall sick, or have to be elsewhere urgently or the power goes off. In all these situations, you are the one at loss.
5. The more you delay, the harder it gets:
This is a tested fact. Active procrastination in the writing that you have to do makes brain interprets it as a form danger or high stress which it tries to avoid, because why else postpone it? By pushing your writing for later, you are telling your brain that it is something to be avoided which makes it even harder when you actually do have to write.
A happy medium is required when writing. Complete avoidance and immediate primitive work both aren’t too good for us writers. Remember, balance is key.