Zen and the Fine Art of Procrastination

I've always been a gifted procrastinator, perhaps even a child prodigy, throwing down the gauntlet of procrastination for years with my dad Tony ("I have 2 days to file for social security." "Yeah? Well, my taxes are due in 3 hours!"). I'm even a driving procrastinator, leaving myself exactly 22 minutes for a 22 minute drive to work (but wind up speeding, just a little bit, or sometimes a lot). The game just never gets old.

Every single year, without exception, I'm required to submit an extremely detailed report to the state of Alabama by the 15th of October. I know it's coming, but manage to put it off until the last minute. I've read articles (while stalling) about how procrastinators are perfectionists, giving themselves a built-in excuse and how unproductive this technique is. Au contraire. I manage to accomplish twice as many other things the longer I avoid the task at hand. This year, I brought in plants/flowers to create a work oasis for my office, and spent 4-5 hours rearranging furniture. I figured the new perspective would help with inspiration, or at least smell nice to cover the scent of my nervous perspiration on the 14th.

Patrick's DUI trial, originally scheduled for December 2nd, has been moved to October 21st. My first inclination was to call and get it changed back. Patrick? Decided to keep it in October, so it wouldn't be hanging over his head. Where did I go wrong? You try to teach your kid, give them a navigational tool for life, and this is how they pay you back? Ungrateful anticrastinator.


DHK said...

PQ (G2) has the same habits...heredity?

Anonymous said...

Ah, procrastination, how I love thee.

Like you, I usually leave things until just too late. Certainly focuses the mind.
I did Christmas shopping weeks early once. Weeks! I then went out and walked around the shops anyway as a way of delaying having to do something else. Maybe Patrick's doing the same.

Laoch of Chicago said...

Procrastination is almost always about ambivalence.

As to the DUI it used to be thought that delay was always good from the defense perspective. Witnesses memories fade, officers get in trouble or die. Good luck to the lad.

The Gaelic Wife said...

That's this week! Woah! Good luck to all.

So tell me, are you like most men and wait until December 24th to buy Christmas presents? I say most men because I haven't met any women who admit to procrastinating about buying gifts. Somehow gift giving is supposed to be built into our DNA.

cort said...

I will admit to not understanding wanting to get things over with...continuances are my friends. :)

TQ said...

The game is for the players. If you enjoy the rewards and the exercise, that is fun enough.

ColleenQ said...

Aunt D: or possibly learned behavior from experts?

Monty: I'll admit it - I can't STAND when people talk about finishing Christmas shopping before 24 Dec. It's just weird! If all goes well, it's certainly better for him to get it over with...I guess.

Laoch: you've given me something to think about...ambivalence, eh?

Gaelic Wife: I absolutely HATE present shopping - there's so much pressure to find the right gift, and I live in po-dunk Alabama. Unless my family is craving boiled peanuts during the holidays, it's beyond frustrating. I must be half man. ;)

terri: what's up with the name change??

TQ: you're probably getting rusty now that you're retired...guess I'll step up as the new champion. :)

TiffanyBerry said...

Did you just invent a word? Anticrastinator? you're brilliant.

ColleenQ said...

TQ: if pro is for and anti is against...it seems perfectly logical. Man, if only I could make up words for a living!

DavidShag said...

I am half a procrastinator. Things like packing for trips are done the morning of the trip, if not as I walk out the door. But things I dread (like DUI trials) I tend to want to get the worst over with. Xmas gifts - late and in one day tops and usually all from one store, even if I have to give people saucepans because that is the only thing left. But the habit of planning to arrive on the dot and assuming the shortest possible traffic time I am completely cured from - maybe because I traveled so much for my job (and had, as a contractor, so many interviews for which lateness was not a good beginning). I now aim for 10 minutes early. You cannot imagine the amount of stress relief that has provided. It is awesome. But that other quirk you mentioned, getting so much done as a form of procrastinating when you should be doing something ELSE done, is a very real phenom. I thought when I retired I would write, garden and fix things more - I find I do all three way less. Having to fit things in, or to sneak the time to do them from time that should be given to something else (read: my actual job) seemed to be a terrific spur to achievement - it was almost like an inspiration. I have nothing I HAVE to do now and - behold! I do nothing and achieve nothing. Damn!