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Sunday, 17 February 2019

Is Procrastination A Symptom Of Choice?




I read an interesting article a few days ago. In the piece, the writer suggested that more choice was a primary reason for procrastination. While I certainly give the writer's  thoughts some credence, I don't entirely agree with her stance. 

It’s true we do have more choice today than in times past, but I feel that indecision, due to the of the amount of choice, is a more likely cause of the inability to get things done.

As a child, I had no choice. I wore whatever clothes my mother chose and ate my meals at a set time.  If I didn’t eat what was in front of me, I went hungry. On the one and only occasion, I refused to eat my evening meal, it was served up for me at breakfast. Imagine how today’s children would react if placed in a similar situation.  

They would probably demand this or that, only to change their mind just as you’re about to crack the egg they decided on into the pan. Yes, too much choice can cause indecision, and the time you’ve wasted is probably time you could have spent doing something you've already kicked into touch. 

But it’s not just children who have difficulty deciding what they want. Take a walk around any supermarket, and you’ll come across people who can’t make up their mind. They’ll spend inordinate amounts of time trying to decide what brand of cola to choose. As a result, they waste valuable time and put off doing things that would add value to their lives.  Personally, I don’t have time and can’t be bothered to take half an hour deciding what tin of baked beans to buy. I usually go for the cheapest, and while that indecisive person is still deciding I’ll have had my dinner, and I'll be starting my next piece of work.

Clothing causes some people a similar dilemma. I went out shopping with a friend once. (Once was enough; never again.) He needed a new coat. We spent six hours going from shop to shop, and in the end, he went back to the first shop we visited and bought the first coat he tried on. Not only did his indecision mean he had to put off a business meeting, it meant I had to put my plans on hold, too.

Indecision, causes us to put off doing so many things that we really want to do, and which would, more than likely, be a better use of our valuable time. Think of all the things you could be doing next time you find yourself lingering too long in the bread aisle.

Today, we have more choice than previous generations. Fashion changes weekly, almost daily in some instances, we have an abundance of food to choose from, and the rise of the internet has made shopping more accessible than ever before.

I believe that choice is a good thing. It means we can shop around, get the best value for our money and not be stuck with the same old brand year after year. However,  choice can become a problem if you spend all your time deliberating over your options. 

It’s our inability to choose what we want that causes us to procrastinate, not the choice itself.


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4 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Hi, Christine. Thank you for commenting. An interesting conundrum, indeed.

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  2. "As a child, I had no choice. I wore whatever clothes my mother chose and ate my meals at a set time. If I didn’t eat what was in front of me, I went hungry. On the one and only occasion, I refused to eat my evening meal, it was served up for me at breakfast. Imagine how today’s children would react if placed in a similar situation."

    I suspect many others grew up in similar situations.

    Life today is different. Some of it better, some worse and some of it so confusing …
    For many too much choice can become a problem, especially if too much time is spent on weighing up the pro's and cons. I often think go with your first thought, it so often is the best one.

    An interesting post John, thanks.

    All the best Jan

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Jan. Thank you for commenting. Your first thought comes from instinct, and your instinct is usually telling you the right thing. In modern society we all too often drown out our instinct, because it may not appear to be the 'norm.'

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