There’s something comforting about this story: even Nobel-winning economists procrastinate! Many of us go through life with an array of undone tasks, large and small, nibbling at our conscience. But Akerlof saw the experience, for all its familiarity, as mysterious. He genuinely intended to send the box to his friend, yet, as he wrote, in a paper called “Procrastination and Obedience” (1991), “each morning for over eight months I woke up and decided that the next morning would be the day to send the Stiglitz box.” He was always about to send the box, but the moment to act never arrived. Akerlof, who became one of the central figures in behavioral economics, came to the realization that procrastination might be more than just a bad habit. He argued that it revealed something important about the limits of rational thinking and that it could teach useful lessons about phenomena as diverse as substance abuse and savings habits. Since his essay was published, the study of procrastination has become a significant field in academia, with philosophers, psychologists, and economists all weighing in.
I’ve now lived in the boyfriend’s house for four years (not including the two years I lived there without my clothes), and we’re married, so I’ve come to think of it as my house. Almost. I still pay rent on the little cave and almost everything I own is still there, just as it was. I only threw out the extra-extra-large condoms last month, after trying hard to think of a scenario in which I could safely give them to a large-penised homeless person. I kept the house because the rent is cheap and I write there; it’s become my office. And the great northern beans, the cinnamon, and the rice keep the light on for me, should anything go horribly wrong, or should I come to my senses and reclaim my position as the most alone person who ever existed.
I totally 1 million percent agree with you about making time for what you want to do. I love my job and to me it doesn’t feel like work. When I have free time, I will usually try to spend it writing because that is one of my favorite things to do, other than hang out with my kids. I believe that you are a writer or you aren’t.
Love love love this. I used to procrastinate. Then I had kids. They cured me. Because my kid-free time became so SHORT and therefore so SACRED — I had to write immediately because later didn’t exist. Preschool only lasted a few hours. I wasn’t going to be able to do it later. So I sat down and put my butt in the chair and my hands on the keyboard. Once it became a habit, it got easier. I used to take all day to write 1,000 words…now I can easily write three times that before school gets out. 🙂
Thanks for the reality check Carol. I’m gonna start fighting procrastination today. I never really dealt with it. I allowed it to rule my day or days until I felt guilty for not being productive and start working. I hated it but didn’t know how to deal with it. Your post just gave me a solution-when I feel like not working i just have to decide to work!
I often friday night lights quotes tyra's essay wonder whether my degree in History has any practical application in life, particularly since I ended up not pursuing law (sorry, Cousin Matthew) and became a.
Read this article to learn procrastinating on my essay about the simple rule that can make an immediate impact on your life Procrastination interests philosophers because of its underlying irrationality.
For me it was a crippling fear of failure, inability to cope with the brain drain of a 2+ hr daily commute, and a persistent feeling that my life wasn’t interesting enough to write about. All of these things manifested as procrastination. I’m sure other writers have other trigger points, too.
I think writing that much and that regularly isn’t for everyone. It was my observation as a staff writer that while many people could write a good business article now and then, very few could write 3-4 of them a week, 50 weeks a year, year after year. Being a freelance writer is the same, except no boss standing over you making those deadlines — you have to make them yourself. Do you have that drive? That’s the question.
I got great training because I worked at home in my staff writer jobs too. So I was used to being ‘on deck’ during business hours in case one of my editors called in, and being focused just like I would at an office. After 12 years of that, I just continued those habits as a freelancer.
I think procrastination is something that everybody struggles with. Especially for writers who work at home, there’s the double whammy of having distractions both in the home, as well as right there on your computer!
I used to have that desire to write, the one you’re talking about that is so strong you blow other things off so you can write down the ideas in your head. Then I hit a confidence crisis and struggled with depression for almost a decade, where I didn’t do any of the things I really wanted to do, like write, read every book on the best seller list, and learn to sew. Those things seemed unattainable, because sometimes I even struggled to cook dinner. I only spent time doing the things I was required to do, like stuff at my job, and stuff that took no effort. I’m only now adding those things back, one at a time. The writer’s muse is nothing like what it was before, but it’s slowly gaining its voice back. Or am I kidding myself? Can a writer who had her fire doused by low confidence and depression ever call herself a writer again?
However, I’m procrastinating right now, because I was in the middle of working on a blog post when the notification for your email popped up on my screen and I *had* to click! Sometimes I have to choose MALW posts over everything else. 😉
This post correlates perfectly with one I just wrote to help NaNoWriMo participants beat procrastination. Since I assumed Wrimos are already motivated to write, I focused on providing writing prompts to keep their creativity up and running. Personally, I only drag my feet on writing when I don’t have any good ideas swirling around in my head–but if I do, I can hardly stop myself long enough to eat.