Fans of Procrastination Say It Boosts Control, Preserves Self-Esteem
Jared Sandberg for the Wall Street Journal
February 9, 2005
Paul Kedrosky claims to be among the world's worst procrastinators. "I literally circle topics like a dog trying to tromp down a nice place to sleep," says the 39-year-old high-tech executive. "I try to figure out how to do something without, you know, doing it."
That means that Mr. Kedrosky sometimes has to play a game of chicken with a new assignment. "I take this approach of trying to outlast the obligation," he says. If and when that tactic fails, he can switch gears and become completely deadline driven.
But that doesn't mean someone can arbitrarily assign him an early deadline and he'll fall for it. "I want to know when the wheels are going to fall off," he says.
For Mr. Kedrosky, it's all part of "this nagging suspicion that a lot of the things that I get asked to do I don't actually have to do." He's particularly wary, he says, because the advent of e-mail means that managers no longer have to look you in the eye when they tell you to do something, allowing for the rise of what he calls "drive-by obligations."
... procrastinators aren't so much lollygaggers as they are people who fear failure, or success, or being controlled ... some people seek a ready-made excuse for not doing the job as well as it could have been done. ... Other dawdlers worry that if they're successful, they'll be required to produce more ... Finally, procrastination in the workplace can be a way of saying, "You can't make me do it" without uttering those risky words.
A Redmond, Wash., software executive says he has a long list of ways he likes to procrastinate. The list includes checking sports scores, news sites and blogs on the Internet; instant messaging friends; reading and deleting chain e-mails from his mother; and searching for old friends and video clips on the Web. "Someday," he says, "I might even write a grant proposal to start an international foundation for hungry children."
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