Recently, I have become ultra-aware of the tendencies of the human body towards laziness and procrastination. Up to this point in my young adult life, I have found myself susceptible to this time wasting problem that is VERY prevalent in today’s society!
The more I think about it, however, the more I have decided that the two words don’t seem to be interchangeable like most people would probably assert:
Laziness – (n.) The attribute of being resistant to work or exertion; disposed to idleness.
Procrastination – (n.) The act of postponing or delaying and action needlessly.
I think on the surface, these two terms seem to be interchangeable, and for the most part people would say there is no real difference between the two words, however, recently I have been seeing alot of articles in forums for Video Gaming addiction about “procrastination” specifically used as a coping mechanism… here is what I could find as far as resent articles from this topic:
Whereas “laziness” seems to be an attitude that is pervasive to a person’s character, (you are usually considered either an “active” or a “lazy” person as a general characteristic of your person), procrastination can be a delaying/coping mechanism used to avoid problems/uncomfortable situations, either intentionally or unintentionally.
For example, I know for myself personally, my specific brand of procrastination was very specialize… I would go so far as to term it “task displacement”. (I totally made this up, if it refers to an actual term, I claim no ownership).
In my mind, I define “task displacement” as comforting oneself when NOT doing something of importance and that should be taking precedence over any other task, (i.e. looking for a better job, paying bills that are late, etc), you “displace” this guilt/discomfort with one, (or usually more), less meaningful tasks that, while not being “lazy” by any means shows a lack of initiative.
For example, let’s say Mike, (a totally FICTITIOUS and hypothetical person), needs to finish a very important assignment for his schooling, (high school, college, master’s, doctorate, take your pick), but instead of working on this task, (which should take precedence over other less important tasks), Mike decides he needs to refinish his deck first… and then clean his garage out, then clean his living room carpet, etc, etc).
Procrastination can give the IMPRESSION of being busy and working on important tasks, but ultimately the goal is to AVOID the most uncomfortable/hardest work in favor of more comfortable/easier work.
IMHO, this makes procrastination all the more dangerous then just plain laziness – whereas laziness can be pointed out and dealt with, procrastination make detecting the problem much harder to outside concerned parties, and makes for ultimately a harder intervention, (“but I AM doing a ton of things”/ “I’m so busy right now with these other tasks”).
Being aware of your “task displacement” is probably half the battle, for I believe most people do this unintentionally or subconsciously… as long as you are DOING something, you feel you are being productive. I find that if I list out the priorities of the task I have at hand, I am better able to identify “task displacement” and redirect my efforts to the most important goal at hand.
While I’m sure this is not always the way procrastination works out, (i.e. most people who interchange “lazy” and “procrastination” might argue), this is the particular brand of procrastination I deal with on a daily basis, and one that I am working on ;)
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