We need a better word/term for this procrastination-like thing

In a neighbouring thread, I mentioned a phenomenon of human behaviour thusly:

To which shiftless said: “I wish there was a word for this.”

Well, is there? Can we make one up? It’s a form of procrastination, but a specific type. I wasn’t postponing action to avoid the task, I simply didn’t feel compelled to act because I knew I could act anytime. As a result, I did nothing. It’s more a form of procrastination inspired by overconfidence in the ability to complete the task.

We need a term like “The Can-Do Procrastination Paradox”.

Procrastination has many rationalizations. One of the hallmarks of procrastination is lying to yourself about what you are going to do in the future: “I’ll have more time to do it later,” “I’ll feel better later, so that’s when I’ll do it,” etc…

The key is that you thought cleaning your house was a good idea but you came up with an excuse not to do it. That’s simple procrastination.

It’s the same thing. :wink:

procrastadox–sounds like a new subspecies of velociraptor
paracrastination–sounds like a sexy medical disorder (a la paraphilia)
procrastinoxidation–sounds sciencey! but kinda chemical

Hrm. You could name it after me, as I excel at it.

How about “countdown procrastination”? You know you still have time on the clock, so…another game of Solitaire, sailor?

It could be covered by Parkinson’s Law:
Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

However you could say it’s a different phenomenon because the work doesn’t even begin.

Seems that the existing word most appropriate to the situation is apathy.


Hmm. Finite work divided by infinite time = Work ≈ 0

I get my best work done when I’m procrastinating.

Its time to clean out the freezer, but I don’t want to do that, so I’ll clean the oven. Oven is clean but I’ve noticed dust on the kitchen blinds. I’ll clean the blinds, but now sees that the windows are dirty. Now that the windows are clean, I clean the blinds and sills. Now the floor is needing to be cleaned…

I often wish that I had just cleaned the freezer right away.

I’ll think up a word for it tomorrow. Or the next day. If I get around to it and nothing else comes up. Or not, if I just don’t feel like it. Is it really that important, anyway? And besides, it’s right around my nap time.

Yep, that’s what I think, too.

The more I try to think about what distinction the OP is trying to make, the more I realise there’s none to be made. It’s finding any excuse to put something off until later, which is the very definition of procrastination.

Maybe, at a stretch, you could call it “prolonged procrastination.”

But that’s exactly what it was NOT. I was not finding any excuse to put something off until later. “Looking for excuses” that implies a negative outlook and unwillingness to deal with the task and that unwillingness is completely absent in the scenario I’m trying to describe.

It was a positive outlook due to the surplus of opportunity that somehow resulted in the procrastination. “Yay! I have all this time to get X done, which means I can do a great job of it.” Then X doesn’t get done at all due to the surplus of a good thing removing.

The other example from the neighbouring thread:

That’s what I’m looking for. Some term that means “I have a surplus of opportunity to do X, which is so awesome, that X doesn’t get done.”

I’ve seen this same phenomenon in tourism. People who were born and raised in city X have never seen the sights in X unless dragged there by school. These same people have often seen the tourist sights in virtually every other town they visited. When asked, they say, “Oh, the sights in my hometown X? I’ll see those some day. When it rains, or something”.

Sounds distantly related to analysis paralysis.

Maybe some pairing of satiate and shun… satiashun? Okay, mebbe not.

Yes, exactly!

I thought of a simpler analogy:

  1. I am worried about my mortgage payments.
  2. I win a million dollars! I can pay off my mortgage all at once right now!
  3. I don’t pay off my mortage right away, because I’m no longer worried about it.

This reminds me of how I never listen to music once I have purchased it.

I’d go for lazy.

You saw something that needed doing and adopted the principle, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can put off until the day after tomorrow.”

Lazy. Just do it.

Another analogy I was thinking of was the whole leaky roof phenomenon. You know, when it rains you think ‘yep, must fix that roof! can’t do it in the rain, but the next sunny day I’ll get right on it!’

Then that sunny day comes and fixing your roof–why? it ain’t even raining, man!–is not even a concern.

How about ‘leaky roof procrastination’? :smiley:

The more I think about it, the more I think that it’s very related to the thing that makes “For a Limited Time Only!” increase sales.

It sounds like you’d (the OP) had been used to cleaning when you had a chance, because you didn’t have much time to do it. So rather than a habit (something you would’ve continued to do at the same rate whether employed or not), cleaning had become a “Limited Time Only!” opportunity to grab. When that no longer applied, your normal impetus to clean was gone, so you didn’t do it.

Tourism is a great example of something similar that is common to a lot of people.

“Make hay while the sun shines” is a saying that refers to this principle of motivation - those who are in sales are keenly aware of it. If a salesperson gives the impression that the offer is only available for a limited time, customers are more likely to take it while it’s available.

It’s probably also related to how scarcity implies value. Value is rarely perceived at actual benefit - it has more to do with difficulty to obtain. We should all value air more highly than anything if it were otherwise. Without air, we’d die very very quickly… nothing else would be meaningful at all! But instead, air is so readily available and common that it does not get much value at all, people would often trade some air for something of much less intrinsic value, but more scarcity.

That made me laugh out loud. Clearly you don’t know the crayon-eater IRL (a crazy busy, schedule-juggling freakazoid).

Anyhoo, I just came in to drop my experience of this phenomenon—BEER!

When I was underage, scoring beer was a Big Deal. It was a rare commodity that took effort to get. When my buddies and I drank beer it was to excess! Spilling any beer beer while drinking with your buddies resulted in cries of “Beer crime! Beer crime!”

Then I moved to Canada where the drinking age was 19 and, meh, if I wanted a beer I could just open the fridge.

It was more like Deegea’s “limited time only” observation. When we were underage dumbasses and there was a “Get it while you can!” thing happening, my buddies and I would suck back a case if we could. Once I could have a beer whenever I felt like it, a six pack could last in my fridge for a month or more.

Not “procrastinating” or “lazy”… “Taking for granted” maybe?

The “unforbidden fruit”, maybe? Not so tasty and tempting if you can just go buy some…

Sounds like a book title:

The Cremation of Sam McGee
The Count of Monte Cristo
The Procrastination of Unforbidden Beer

ETA: A romance, clearly.