Procrastinators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from chronic procrastination.

The difference between an Excuse and a Reason

Well, I said I was going in to College today to finish off that job, and I didn't (which means I also didn't do the other errands that involve going into town). It would be much better if I went tomorrow because DSO is at home today so I can be with him and work here, and we can do stuff together today, and then I can go to work tomorrow when he goes to work (makes sense).

Anyway, I wasn't sure if I was giving myself an excuse, or if it was a reason, so I couldn't work out if I was skillfully manipulating myself into procrastination, or if it was a genuine better reason.

So I thought about what, for me, is the difference between an excuse and a reason. A 'reason' is something I've thought about before the event is due to happen, come up with a better solution, and decided to go with it. An 'excuse' is something that happens after the event was due (or not pinning myself down to a time to do it in the first place).

So this was an excuse - it was procrastination. However, the excuse I'd come up with did ~actually~ offer a better solution so I decided to go with it anyway. Now I know about the potential to procrastinate I've planned it so that it will be really difficult to procrastinate tomorrow. I'm giving DSO a lift to work so I'll already be in the car, and I'm going to go straight from there. Which means I need to have everything ready to go tonight, including doing invitations to my leaving do (which I'd put on the list as 'fun', but actually I don't like doing invitations part, so I procrastinated on that, and I think that's what started the procrastination ball rolling).

lying to oneself

I do think people who procrastinate tend to lie to themselves as much as others about their so-called reasons for not getting something done. After all, who wants to think of themselves as a screw-up?


It's an interesting concept, lying. When I was doing linguistics at Uni we had this big discussion on when something was a lie and when it wasn't. Does it ~have~ to be untrue, or is it the intent to deceive that's important? If I tell you something I believe to be untrue, and it turns out it's true, was I lying? If I think I'm telling the truth and it isn't true, is it a lie (we thought not - we thought there at least had to be intent to deceive, and we were divided on whether or not it had to be false in fact).

So when it comes to lying to ourselves, there's a bit of us that knows it's not true, but another bit that's maybe had the wool pulled completely over it's eyes. I'm definitely ~more~ inclined to lie to myself than to others (I don't tend to tell lies) - there's definitely an attempt to deceive - but in making myself conscious of the lie (like in the example above, where the 'reason' came after the decision)it becomes untenable.

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