Tim Urban has a brilliant TED talk about procrastination, and more specifically, the two types of procrastination we encounter.
And he makes the argument that we are all procrastinators. Our procrastination is either contained or not contained.
Contained procrastination represents something that has a specified end date and end time. There is a timeline to get it done, and while the procrastinator may wait until the last minute to get it done, the deadline will inevitably push them to get it finished.
The first type of procrastination is something we have all encountered, are very aware of, and have probably been involved in a project along the way in which you had a least one team member that waited until the last minute.
Take a step back, and stop judging. Yes you get all of your assignments done well before they are do. You are on top of it. You certainly don’t have to worry about being a procrastinator.
But wait – what about that other type of procrastination? The type that isn’t constrained to a deadline?
I would argue – we all have procrastination in our lives that is not constrained. So much of our procrastination is contained within the realm of work and deadlines, and we are met with a certain level of accountability that keeps us on track.
But what about the things that matter in life outside of work? What about the goals, dreams, and passions you wanted to pursue?
We all have aspirations of spending more time with family, traveling more, making more friends, etc. Yet these are the aspirations that so often take the back seat. We allow others to set our priorities and deadlines.
And that’s why the second kind of procrastination can be so dangerous – it’s not contained to a deadline that has been set for us. It’s up to us. It’s up to us to impose deadlines. It’s up to us to keep ourselves accountable and turn that procrastination into the contained variety.
What are you procrastinating on in your life that really matters?