Procrastination—I haven’t lost my touch!

I used to be a pretty good procrastinator. Not a champion, but definitely a contender. My peak performance was from my undergraduate years into my early thirties.

Paper due Monday morning? I’d get jacked up on coffee and start work by 9 p.m., telling myself, “I work better under pressure.” More accurately, it was the only time I worked. But I’d better have a draft by 2 a.m., because after that my brain would fizz out and all the coffee in the world couldn’t bring back coherent thought. Unfortunately, that system worked well enough to regularly give me B+s, which only reinforced my procrastinating ways.

By the time I was in my 30’s, I was married, had two sons, and was working full-time. Way too many chores and too little time! If I didn’t attack a distasteful task like putting away holiday decorations, they would stay untouched for weeks, a constant depressing reminder. I learned to slog through scutwork more promptly because the alternative was worse.

Fear of failing my clients and losing business kept me from procrastinating too much when I had my communications business. I’d learned that I had to build in time to write a draft, let the piece cool off for days (or at least hours), and then revise it before sending it to the client. When I had a particularly tedious project, say catalog merchandise copy or highly technical training materials, I might suddenly feel an acute need to do something I never do like alphabetizing spices or organizing my sock drawer. At very least, I’d clean the kitchen and switch loads of laundry (something! anything!) to postpone the icky project.

When our sons were little, unwelcome tasks were constant: their toys were scattered everywhere, and they drizzled on their clothes so there was more laundry. Seeing two days’ worth of crusty sippy cups and soggy cereal bowls piling up made me want to run away from home. I realized that sometimes it’s better to tackle the work right away and get it over with. After all, I’m never going to wantto do dishes. They only get more gross the longer they sit.

These days, I’m more inclined to get chores out of the way. Sort of. For at least four weeks the special tile cleaner I bought sat in the bathroom while I put off using it. Today, there’s a tricky part of an essay I meant to revise. Instead, I cleaned out my file entitled, “Blog Ideas,” and decided to write this!

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This entry was posted in Humor, Procrastination and tagged , by Ellen Shriner. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ellen Shriner

I write short memoirs and personal essays. I have also completed a workplace coming-of-age story that takes place in 1979 and 1980 during my first year of college teaching. I write on topics of interest to working women, middle-aged mothers, Baby Boomers, people who love to read and write, and those who belong to writers' groups and book groups.

13 thoughts on “Procrastination—I haven’t lost my touch!

  1. I’ve been busy procrastinating the landscape project in the backyard. It’s due date is before fall and right now I still have plenty of time and I do put in work but the excuses are legion.
    It’s raining.
    It stopped raining but the ground is too muddy.
    I probably shouldn’t work in the hot sun.
    I’m thinking about reworking it.

  2. Thanks for an all-too-familiar life story followed by commiserating comments. A few inches from my computer screen is a photocopy of a card sent to a friend. It says “I used to just crastinate. Then I decided to go pro.” 🙂

  3. Ah yes. Procrastinators unite! I’d join…;)

    I email myself blog ideas sometimes not realizing than I would then have to sift thru too many stupid emails which would lead to more procrastination…

    Blah.

  4. Sounds very familiar. I think I’ve become worse as I’ve aged. It seems I used to get more done, these days most things don’t seem to all that important!

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