The Art of Procrastination - Why Laziness is Pleasurable

Rest for a WhileThere are people who have mastered the art of procrastination. Their bodies have been honed to be competent at laziness, at putting off important activities to a later time, until no accomplishment has been achieved whatsoever. One way or another, all of us (not exempting myself) have trained ourselves in the art and science of sloth.

Personal experience and observation have taught me that, to develop the habit of procrastination, there are certain conditions that can exacerbate the temptation to be lazy. Of course, it is up to our decisions and choices if we are to give in. Philosophically speaking, we are human beings and we are the masters of our fate, we are not slaves to mere sensations and weaknesses of the flesh.

To better understand ourselves why sloth becomes so tempting, I have taken the pleasure of noting the reasons and conditions behind the lazy habit.

1. Expecting failure

When you are about to begin a task, act upon an idea in your mind, or push yourself to fulfill your heart’s dream, what formidable hindrance can hamper your motivation than to say to yourself, “This endeavor is going to fail (anyway); it will not work, so what the heck!” So what do you do next? You sit back or lie down, and keep on dreaming – yes, just be content with dreams.

Failure may or may not happen. Even if it does occur, there is always the opportunity to try again. If you take a look at the stories of people like Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Stephen King, Bill Gates, and many others – they are people who have failed... and failed miserably (if you do not know or are not familiar with them, better Google them up and search about their experiences of failure). What we all know now, obviously, is that they are people of renowned success.

You should prepare for failure, but it should not be the aim of your action. It can indeed occur; what you can do if it happens is to learn from it, rise from it, continue your journey, and do it for the mere love of the activity. That is surely way better than dreaming about it in your slumber.

2. Allergic to difficulty

In one episode of the cartoon TV series, Teen Titans, a martial arts master instructed Robin that, “There is an easy way, and then there is the right way.” Of course, not all easy is wrong and not all difficult is right; but to many of us, like Robin in the story, difficult and stressful tasks are something to be avoided.

One demotivating factor that pushes us back to our comfort zone is when we see that the activity before us is daunting, may incur stress and lay waste our spirits. If you connect this to item #1 above, you might say to yourself, “Why bother myself with stress and fatigue if in the end everything will just come to naught?”

Stephen Covey suggests that we should “Begin with the end in mind.” Focusing on the task itself can indeed look daunting, but looking on and anticipating a fruitful outcome can reinvigorate a tired spirit.

3. Discouraging environment

If you are surrounded by people who keep on saying to you: “You cannot do it, it will only amount to failure, there are a lot of people better than you who did not make it as well” or something like in that nature of thought, I can bet that the likelihood of you spending majority of your day in slumber or being a couch potato is strongly probable. These people saying all these demotivating messages are more or less couch potatoes and day dreamers themselves.

It is said that misery begets company, that it is contagious, and that its influence can affect anyone near it. Sloth is a kind of misery that is pleasurable to the body, the only misery that is deceivingly enjoyable.

4. Physiological condition

If you have diabetes, hypertension, anemia, or you are suffering from some kind of chronic fatigue or sleeping disorder, I cannot blame you for feeling tired, stressed out, and sleepy most of the time. Somehow, this condition can affect your ability to start and sustain an activity.

Medical intervention can help out in overcoming this circumstance, and it is advised that you seek it rather than to appear lazy in the eyes of many and prevent you from achieving your fulfillment.

5. Worry, sadness and depression

Sloth is one of the so-called 7 Deadly Sins or Vices. The Latin translation for sloth is Acedia, which in medieval times is a word associated with sadness, boredom, and depression.

When you are sad or you are in a state of self-pity, you are constrained to concentrate mainly on yourself and on the object of your sadness. You over-introspect and over-analyze the cause of your emotion, thinking about it and asking “Why” over and over again. So it is with worrying, but instead of “why,” the questions that distract your mind are “How” and “What if.”

Emotions like these have their purpose, but delving in them extraneously without any plan to get out of the situation can generate fear of the outside world, and can make lying in bed and locking yourself in your room all day long feel deceptively comforting and convenient. Besides, worry and being sad when not controlled can lead to depression, or despair at the worst, and this can be debilitating than the usual emotions.

There is the depression that is clinical in nature. In such a case, item #4 should apply.

6. Attractive distractions

You think that when you are doing a lot of tasks, when your mind is busy, or when you are physically active, you are immune from the vice of sloth and the bug of procrastination. I do not think so; sometimes, if not most of the time, busyness is so mundane compared to the really important events and people in your life.

Say you are watching TV or enjoying a rave party, but you have a school research project at hand, of which deadline is close by. You think the former is an activity worth enjoying on such scenario?

Demon of Sloth, Belphegor
Maybe you are a family man/woman who has put off spending more (and I say MORE) quality time with spouse and children because of “urgent” tasks at the office. Surely, work is important, but procrastinating against a wonderful time with family is not going to deposit excellent memories with your loved ones – the loved ones who will be present at your death bed! Leave your work at the office, I am sure it will still be there on Monday. ;-)

The challenge for most of us is not just to be busy and productive all the time, it is to spend our time on what really matters most in our life. One motivational question you can ask yourself whenever the demon, Belphegor, is racking your thoughts and emotions is this: What do I want people and my loved ones to remember me for after my death?

Here is a Youtube video by Brain Rot Animation on Sloth as one of the 7 Deadly Sins:

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  1. Great artickle!. Also it would be enlightening to have something about adhd/ witch brings the patological,monster levels of procastrination that isnt realy driven and witch most people are ignorant about.

    1. Isn't it ironic that you're talking about ignorance and you are ignoring the right way of writing?

    2. Almost as ignorant as someone not knowing or caring if they're using a second language or managed to get their point across quite clearly before they act the superior asshole like you.

      How's my spelling?

    3. So immature.

  2. Good read. Thanks for this. Ironically, it took me way longer than it should have to get through this article because of "attractive distractions".

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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