Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Procrastinators Anonymous

Hello, my name is Sara and I'm a procrastinator. I don't know why I put things off. Oh, okay. Yes I do. I put things off because they either:
a. are gross, like cleaning toilets
b. are boring, like folding laundry
c. are someone else's job, like picking up their own crap, and I'm waiting for them to do it but they never do and I wait to see how long it takes before someone picks it up before I do it in a huff
d. involve math and measuring and math is haaaaaaaaard (Kidding. Sort of.)
e. aren't as appealing to me as other things, like surfing the net or eating my weight in mint chocolate chip ice cream while watching HGTV
f. don't hold my interest. Oh look! Something shiny!

My point is, I suppose, that I have the attention span of an ADD gnat and given the choice between a task that I don't really want to do and something else, I'll choose something else almost every time. Which is why there are piles of paper and other crap on just about any flat surface in my kitchen. It's also why my laundry is never done. (Although I could argue that with six of us wearing clothes daily, why and how would it ever be completely done?) My fabulous powers of procrastination are why there are things that are meant to be hung on my wall sitting in a pile in a corner of the family room. They have been sitting there since the end of February. Apparently finishing that task was once of interest to me, but now? Meh. Not so much.

I think that procrastination is genetically passed from parent to child. At least in this family. And I think that both my husband and I carry the gene. That's why my children have been known to tell me as they head out the door to play or as they stare at the shiny, talking box "I'll do ____ a little later, 'kay?" And being a procrastinator myself, telling them to get right on ____ is like the pot calling the kettle black.

This putting off of the less enjoyable is all well and good until I am under the gun. Then I curse my procrastinating tendencies. Because then I am left trying to do all the things that I put off in a short amount of time. And really, I'm not so much fun to be around when that happens. Suddenly everything is urgent and anyone who doesn't share my sense of urgency, well, they suddenly find themselves wishing they lived anywhere else but here. Yes, I am a joy.

So why do I do it? Knowing everything that I know, why do I keep on putting things off? My theories are thus:
Theory the first: I do better work when I am under a deadline. When I am feeling the pressure I believe that I work harder, more efficiently, and more creatively. Whether this is actually true, I do not know, but it is something I tell myself to justify my procrastination.

Theory the second: I think that perhaps if I put off a task that I don't really want to do, a task that could just as easily be completed by someone else, perhaps someone else will actually do the task. And perhaps they will do it without me asking! Perhaps they will see what needs to be done and do it. And perhaps monkeys will fly out of my butt and sing "Jingle Bells." (Obviously, this theory has received quite a bit of testing and is actually moving toward being refuted.)

Theory the third: I'll think about this one later. This subject just doesn't interest me any longer. Oh look! Something shiny!

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