Critical Thinking Session

Why do we procrastinate?

   Are you a procrastinator? Well, this is kind of a tricky question, because to some extent, everybody would feel like they are! However, we usually never ask ourselves the reason why we decided to postpone doing certain things. It just remains a wonder why I've been keeping on saying that I would lose my weight someday for ten years now. Now, there are three fundamental questions to ask. The first one is: Why do we tend to be too slow to get to certain things? The second is: What are the differences between things we do right away and not so soon, or maybe never? The third question is: Is is a bad thing to procrastinate? Let's take a look into how our minds function!


     Before getting to the first question, the reason we are too slow to move our ass in some occasions, it would be fair to see what kind of things we are capable to do quickly. Yes, quite opposite from procrastinating! Speaking of myself, I'm very quick eater. Whenever I was served with some food plate, I can finish it within a second (or a bit longer than that, but still in a very short time!) When I'm hit by an impulse to do something exciting or buy something that grabs my attention, I don't even give a second for giving a second thought! If I'm a student and get a text message from a girl that I care, I would sneak out of my classroom to text her back as soon as possible! However, I've been all talk no action for certain things for sure, such as throwing out unnecessary T-shirts resting in a drawer for years, reading piled books that I bought in the past, and making efforts for losing my weight. The phrase that frequent my mouth, "I'll get slim," is already a cliche!


    Now the question is, do I hate doing those things I procrastinate? Well, not really. When I was much younger, I often tried to dodge doing things I hated, and it was just my awaying from facing the reality. However, now I'm pretty mature, and I learned to do my best especially for the things I'm not good at. Furthermore, reading those books and getting slim are my own wishes, not obligations given by somebody. So, there should be another reason for my procrastinating mind, and it actually has a lot to do with my sense of priority. In other words, my ability to complete multiple tasks is pretty much limited.


    At this point, we are already into the second question that tries to figure out the difference between things we do soon or later, if not never. In general, Japanese people are highly procrastinating that most of them don't want to take an proactive role to cause changing the present situation. However, when some outer pressures are added, they sort of get into a panic and quickly accept those changes. This is quite insightful, because it shows that not only Japanese people but human in general are basically hesitant to do things that might change the reality they live in, but when they are pushed hard into the current, they would come along! So, as long as there is no outer pressure that forces us to move, we are likely to procrastinate.


    Now we're at the last question: Is it a bad thing to procrastinate? In general, yes, it is. For things such as your work tasks or house chores, it is always better to finish the list of tasks for today before it ends. However, there are also things that you probably should procrastinate before rushing into it. When you were asked out on a date, saying YES immediately might not be the smartest way to grab the person's attention. Leaving him a little anxious awaiting your reply for maybe a couple of hours would make him notice how much he cares about you. And same goes for other negotiating cases as well!


1. Do you see yourself as a procrastinator?

2. What kind of things do you procrastinate?

3. Why do you procrastinate doing certain things?