I’ve been meaning to write a Week-Ender about the woes of procrastination, but I always seem to put it off.
But no more! Today, I am going to introduce a subject–procrastination–that I know lots of people will want to comment on. If they get around to it.
So if you think you want to jump into this discussion, do it now, while you’re thinking about it.
I’ve heard it said that procrastination is best put off until tomorrow; I’ve also heard that procrastination is opportunity’s assassin.
I can’t count all the times I’ve put off doing something and by the time I got to it I had missed a deadline or a golden opportunity.
I think we all procrastinate to one degree or another. Am I wrong on that? Are there people out there who find time and energy to get to everything every day? If so, I’d like to hear how they do it. What’s their secret?
I am not a habitual procrastinator–or maybe I am but just don’t take time to think about it. I never mean to put things off; things just sometimes seem to get overcome by events.
For instance, I have a headlight out on my truck. It’s been out for about two weeks now. I know I need to fix it. I had a note taped to my bathroom mirror reminding me, but after a week or so it sort of became part of the mirror and I stopped seeing it.
So I moved the note to the coffeepot, because I figured I’d see it first thing in the morning, which I did, but then got off on other things and didn’t see it again until that first cup the next day. That’s been going on for a few days.
I’ve set the reminder alarm on my cell phone to remind me, but I keep re-setting it because when it goes off I am doing something else and can’t get to the headlight right then.
I remember I need to replace the light when I’m driving in the dark, worrying about getting a ticket (do they issue tickets for busted headlights? I’ll have to find out…tomorrow, or when I get around to it). Then I forget about it once the sun comes up…
Apparently, procrastination has been around a long time. British poet Andrew Young said that procrastination is the thief of time way back in the 1700s. So I guess when I procrastinate I could consider it carrying on an old tradition.
Actually, procrastination may be emblematic of today’s rushed society. There seem to be so many important things to do, all of them with deadlines and drop-dead dates and timelines. So we have to continually shift priorities.
The thing about shifting priorities is that as a priority goes from number one, to two, to three and on down the line, eventually it is going to slip off the chart. It will be a blip on the radar screen that may get your attention if you see it; otherwise the BIGGER BLIPS take priority.
It’s like my headlight, which is blipping and I am going to get to it, but first I need to finish this BLIPPING blog. Maybe I’ll tape a note to my forehead about that light; I’ll let you know how that works out.
Another phenomenon about priorities is that many times as they slip down the list or even off the list, you realize they weren’t even priorities at all.
A really professional procrastinator can justify waiting to see if a fallen priority hits the list after it’s fallen off; if not, it wasn’t really that important in the first place.
I’ve read on Internet sources that procrastination is a complex psychological behavior that affects everyone to one degree or another. (By the way, the Internet, IMHO, is a major contributor to procrastination, because it provides a wide variety of tools to distract you from your priorities.)
So, I suppose, since everyone suffers from this malady, and misery loves company, then I must love procrastination because I am among friends.
I wonder if there will be a syndrome for this behavior, like Complex Procrastination Syndrome (CPS). Maybe there will be a pill you can take to cure CPS. Imagine a procrastinator trying to come up with a cure; we may never see it!
I am slowly beginning to think a certain degree of procrastination is maybe a good thing. It could be mankind’s natural way of dealing with stress.
If that poet lamented it 400 years ago and we’re still lamenting it today, then just maybe we should begin to see procrastination as our friend.
Procrastination could be like white blood cells, fighting the infection of priorities. When we get too many conflicting priorities (which seems to happen daily), procrastination cells kick in and start knocking down the bad priorities that don’t need to be dealt with, leaving us time for the really important things.
So CPS could be a cure for modern mankind’s stress; my gosh, we may have come up with a miracle cure, right here in the Week-Ender!
I hope the government doesn’t find out about it, though, as they’ll want to regulate it. I wonder if procrastination can be considered a First Amendment right? I’ll have to look into that…later.
Just reading this is probably causing you to procrastinate about something, or several somethings. Since we have established here that CPS is potentially a cure for stress…OMG, the Week-Ender can now be considered a contributing factor in the relief of stress in modern man!
I wonder if I should report this to the American Medical Association or the CDC or somebody?
Do your realize what this means? If we have a pandemic of CPS, it could lead to world peace, because everyone will chill out and focus on what’s really important.
We could have a “TGIF Pandattitude” (I just coined that phrase, which means a pandemic of TGIF attitude, so consider it copyrighted © but feel free to use it).
So, I think we have clearly established that it is Friday; we should procrastinate about something, contributing to our health and the health of all mankind, which will lead to world peace.
It’s going to be a great day!
Randy Gaddo, a retired Marine, who also served until recently in municipal parks and recreation, lives in Peachtree City, Ga., and can be reached at (678) 350-8642 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.