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Why Waiting Can Induce Procrastination

You're not the one driving your group to another place--especially when you don't have a driver's license yet. Everybody else is getting all their stuff together and getting ready to get into the car. But it takes five more minutes.

Meanwhile, you have all your stuff, including your laptop in its case and your writing folder in your backpack. You're standing against the wall, just standing there, waiting and waiting with all this stuff in your hands for it to be time to pile into the hot/cold car and go somewhere.

All the while, you're mentally unable to write.''

Your waiting froze it.

Waiting for the Ride Causes Procrastination

In my case, when I'm waiting for Mom or Dad to drive my siblings and I to school or anything else, I get stuck in a state of waiting and inactivity. It's one of the most unproductive mindsets you can get yourself into, next to sheer tiredness, or sitting in a comfy chair in a way that you don't want to reach for the keyboard.

And it doesn't have to be just for a ride. Maybe you're on hold for something important, or you're waiting for the exact moment your favorite webcomic to be posted, or you're waiting for your bladder to get full enough to be able to relieve. (Disgusting thought, but it sure put you into the waiting mood.)

It's partly fueled by fear. You don't want to be caught unprepared once whatever you are waiting for arrives. So you tense up, feet on the starting line, so you'll won't get caught in the dust when the pistol is fired.

You can do better than that, though.

How to Turn Waiting into Productivity

It's simple.

  • Sit down and stay a while: Unless you're going to leave within less than a minute, relax, put your stuff down, whip out your writing folder, and write. Don't worry. I doubt your group won't leave without you. And if you're doing it right, you'll be able to put everything away quickly to get to what you were expecting.
  • Turn the waiting period into a deadline: Right now, I'm waiting for Mom to come home from work to pick all of us up for dining out. She's coming any minute now. For some reason, upon her calling us with a twenty-minute warning, I received a bolt of energy I was unable to harnessed earlier. Perhaps it's the pressure? In any case, think of the waiting time more of a kitchen timer ticking, and squeeze in a page. 

Little things add up, after all.

YOUR TURN: Does your productivity freeze up while you're waiting? How do you use your short waiting time?