I’d like to share that I’m a huge procrastinator. When I was in school I would admire those who could keep up tidy notes and split their workload other the entire sessions. I sooo wasn’t that person. I was definitely the less-than-24-hours-before-a-deadline all-night puller type. I felt bad. To me, it seemed I couldn’t manage my time properly.
Turns out there was a lot of positive to learn from that season of life: I work well under tight deadlines, I can prioritize when I really have to, and, best of all, I can quickly produce something I’m proud of because of the quantity of time I spent avoiding the task. My subconscious was stewing over what to do or write from the beginning and at the last moment I’d simply make magic.
I try not to spend too much time analyzing my self-defined shortcomings. However, I recently started reading Wait: The Art and Science of Delay by Frank Partnoy and I’m deep into questioning and analyzing at the moment. I had that book for a while and never got to reading it. That’s right, I was procrastinating on reading a book about procrastination. Except I didn’t know it talked about procrastination.
I talked about my desire of slowing down the pace of my life in my previous post. My house and my mind are filled with a gazillion projects that I started in a slightly more distant past. Since realizing that I want to slow down, I’ve been trying not to start many more projects. This book about delays is extremely fitting. Thank you, Universe, for continuing to time everything I do and think perfectly. It makes me smile!
Anyways, back to the book and my projects. Partnoy wrote ”where there may be some small amount of work that we have to do right away such as get a small repair job done on our car […] we’re likely in many cases to procrastinate and in the end we are paying three or four times as much for a bigger repair job on the car”. We want to avoid unpleasant tasks at all cost. I’m super guilty of this! I’m facing my pile of projects and I understand how I made it hard on myself. But realizing that there’s a problem is the first step, right?
I now know some projects I’ve been meaning to finish are simply not going to get done because they don’t bring me joy. Reparing that beautiful 4 year-old gown I’ve never worn because the seamstress didn’t quite get my vision is not going to happen because thinking about or seeing it makes me sad. I’m donating it! That kitchen table that has been sitting in my basement for 2 years which I’ve been meaning to restore? Nope! In the end, the time I have to invest is not worth what I would bring me. I already have another table. I should just make peace with it and let it go. And the list goes on….
However, there are some tasks that I’ve been avoiding which actually need to get done like renewing my passport or writing and sending my wedding thank you cards. Procrastination occurs when we’re not working on something. It doesn’t mean we aren’t doing anything, just not what we should/could be working on.
I’m actually a productive procrastinator. Instead of printing and filling out my passport application, I clean the dishes, fold laundry, etc. Those tasks are less ”important”, therefore I choose to do them over more important ones. Partnoy writes about John Perry, philosophy professor known in the procrastination field, who suggests that when making to-do lists, we should start with a few important tasks, and then add some not as important tasks that still need to get done. It’s the most efficient procrastination! I love it 🙂
If you personally struggle with procrastination, like me, try to see the positive in it. Procrastination is not necessarily a bad thing. I’ll get back to this in a later post. But again, since I’m a procrastinator and because I’m working on not adding too much on my plate, let’s all have very low expectations about the when.
Have a fabulous weekend! Enjoy being a procrastinator at some point over the next few days.