This is my life.
I am a procrasinator of epic proportions. Not at work, at work I am 100% on the ball all the time, actively seeking out things to do in advance of them being needed, because work will reign holy hell down on those who are not ready for it. But, once I leave work. It is on. I procrastinate everything from laundry to bedtime. I am the QUEEN of not making calls that need making. I just called my professional body to ask about why I haven’t received our Journal…. for the last two years. I overpaid my NZCOM membership dues by a year, because I couldn’t be bothered making a call to ask if they were taking it out twice. Every single bill is paid automatically because if it wasn’t we would live forever in a backward world with no power or internet.
I procrastinate even fun things. I avoid making concrete plans, because then I might have to keep them. I buy clothing and shoes and almost everything else on line, because damn the thought of having to get dressed just to go to a store. I hate leaving my house for anything job like. If it is a task, I don’t wanna. My good friends will tell you that this is a serious problem. That I will definitely be anywhere if I say I will, but getting me to promise I will be there in the first place is the equivalent of getting John Key to remember something. Being an LMC midwife for years gave me the ultimate in get out of doing things free cards…. ” I will be there…. Barring Babies”.
So, I am writing this blog as an act of pure procrastination. Not only am I actively avoiding housework, essay writing, background reading, physical activity, interpersonal communication, gardening and grocery shopping, I am ALSO actively avoiding writing the blog post that is percolating away in my brain, keeping me from sleeping and generally messing with me.
I want to write it. I think I probably NEED to write it, if I ever want to achieve anything real ever again. But…. It is personally challenging. So I though, I would instead write a wee piece on the fine art of procrastination.
Identify the thing you wish to avoid. Figure out what lengths you would go to in order to avoid doing that thing. Do you care if it impacts on other people? Do you think you can get out of it altogether if you wait long enough? Or is this merely a delaying tactic? If it is a delaying tactic, then it is definitely time to commence the fine art of procrastination.The thing you wish to avoid is the Object of your procrastination.
Choose your procrastination technique. There are many options here. You can procrastinate by looking really busy at other things, by getting every other job that you have ever avoided done RIGHT now. This is active procrastination. You appear to be working your way toward the act of doing a thing, but actually you are creating tasks to delay the action you are trying to avoid. I am currently actively procrastinating doing my housework. Doing the housework is a procrastination technique to avoid the true object of my procrastination, writing an essay. I am procrastinating by writing a blog on procrastination. This is high level procrastination, and should not be attempted by newbies.
A favourite procrastination trick is to pretend that the task you are using to avoid the task you are avoiding is a necessary part of the task you are avoiding. You could actively procrastinate writing an essay by cleaning and reorganising your office desk. This technique requires a high level of self delusion, and requires the active suspension of disbelief. The idea that you will actually keep your desk tidy once you are finished is a blatant lie that nobody believes, but if you manage to blend just the right mixture of sincerity and hysteria, people will accept it as being safer than arguing with you. This is excellent beginner procrastination.
A third common procrastination method is “pretending you still have plenty of time, and will start shortly”. This method allows for just living life as you normally would, as if you aren’t procrastinating at all. You do, however, run the very real risk that somebody close to you will send you crashing into reality by pointing out how long you actually have to do the thing, which may lead to a nervous breakdown if you aren’t yet ready to commence the task.
Identify your chosen procrastinations technique, and loudly voice your plans to anyone in listening range. You may improve this step by announcing your intent on facebook, twitter or instagram. By making people think that your goal is actually your procrastination method, nobody will accuse you of procrastination until it is too late. There is a risk that some other high level procrastinator will recognise this as a step in the procrastination process.
These people (I am one of them) are rarely fooled by your fakery. We are best ignored. Maybe even hide your procrastination status or tweet from those you know to be high level procrastinators. They feel so bad about their own procrastination, that they will actively try to intervene in your procrastination process, forcing you to get on track to achieving the goal you are avoiding. It is not comfortable for anyone when that happens. They can be recognised by their ability to do ridiculously complicated things that achieve absolutely nothing.
That said, you can cover up your procrastination by claiming simple laziness. Some people will buy that. Some people believe that being lazy IS a form of procrastination, but really it takes more than sitting around ignoring stuff to be a good procrastinator. I encourage you to expect more of yourself.
Enjoy the adrenaline rush that happens in the moments of clarity when you realise that your procrastination is taking you to the very edge of safety. When it becomes an actual possibility that the initial goal will not be achieved, the adrenaline rush is similar to that of jumping off a cliff with a tiny rope wrapped around your ankles. It is immense. The trick is to ride that adrenaline wave, embrace it, and CONTINUE to procrastinate, as long as possible. It is scary, but if you end up sitting down and doing the work at the first adrenaline rush, think of what you are missing out on. It is like stopping after just one orgasm. You can do better! Just remember, to put off the object of your procrastination requires dedication and commitment.
At the last possible moment, when the final adrenaline rush has ebbed and you accept this is the last possible moment you can do the task that was the object of your procrastination, take what ever substance is ethically acceptable to you (this can range from a shot of wheat grass with some gogi berries through to a cup of coffee and a bag of M&M’s without even venturing into illegal acts, though I hear some master level procrastinators use illicit substances too) and get down to work. You will not rest or sleep or achieve anything else until it is done. You will become a finely tuned machine, super focused on a single goal, and therefore capable of high level metal acrobatics to achieve your end aim. Did you know that Tolkien wrote the Lord Of the Rings in a single sitting? is That is the product of master level procrastination. You too, can achieve amazing things, just by trying hard to achieve as little as possible for as long as possible.
Go forth, my friend. Go forth with abandon and procrastinate wildly and see how wonderful the world can be!
* I made that up about Tolkien.