Terrific article in The New Yorker about procrastination. Since this is something I’m a world champion at, it’s interesting to see a bit more about the psychology behind it.
One thing I find interesting, and makes me want to explore it further, is that I often feel more guilty *after* I complete a task I’ve put off too long. It’s like I’m still trying to castigate myself for the delay, even though I’ve finally gotten around to doing it.
Piers Steel defines procrastination as willingly deferring something even though you expect the delay to make you worse off. In other words, if you’re simply saying “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die,” you’re not really procrastinating. Knowingly delaying because you think that’s the most efficient use of your time doesn’t count, either. The essence of procrastination lies in not doing what you think you should be doing, a mental contortion that surely accounts for the great psychic toll the habit takes on people. This is the perplexing thing about procrastination: although it seems to involve avoiding unpleasant tasks, indulging in it generally doesn’t make people happy.