I’m a procrastinator and I better write right now. Just as soon as I put in this load of laundry. I’ll have 45 minutes while the washer does its work for me to have a block of uninterrupted writing time. After I loaded six machines, I went for a quick cup of coffee in the kitchen and noticed the terrible mess on the kitchen floor. I vacuum quickly and give it a quick wipe down. Now I only have 20 minutes left so I flush time down the twitter toilet. The alarm sounds to transfer clothes to the dryer. No problem. I’ll have 45 minutes while the laundry is drying.
I open the computer to write and an email pops up from an old friend. Ooh, that’s sweet. I’ll take too many minutes, answering with too many words. A text dings, which magically turns into two texts and three! Before I know it, I’m engaged in a four-way text marathon and where has the time gone? Time to write right now will have to be later after I fold the laundry.
Only the laundry isn’t ready to be folded because I overpacked the dryer and have to lay two loads worth over my bed, the piano, and my dresser. My husband comes home with a glorious, tempting weather report. “C’mon honey,” he urges. “You should reward yourself for 12 loads of laundry by procrastinating both the writing AND the folding and instead come up to the rooftop pool with me.”
Sunshine trumps screen time so I’m slathering lotion; translation: delaying. As I roast under the sun, distracted by the darting lights show in my eyelids, I feel strong pangs of guilt, because although I’m procrastinating, my brain is not relaxing.
I’ve always been this way; why do today when you put off until tomorrow? High school was academically easy for me and cemented in my horrible study habits. My system involved taking transcription-level notes in class, retyping the notes the last possible NIGHT BEFORE an exam, printing out the typed summary, and most importantly, putting them under my pillow for the night, where they would magically permeate into my brain while I slept.
I continued these exceptional habits through both my colleges, first Boston University for three semesters and for 5 more at New York University. Neither one of these “prestigious” schools mandated I alter my study habits as I persisted in this Test-Eve studying right through graduating magna cum laude.
When I graduated, I happily extended the procrastination courtesy to every element of my life. Taxes, doctor’s appointments, shopping, getting married (10 years of dating). Sometimes I stare at my “things-to-do-list” knowing the same things have been on it for a year, and while the pangs eek in to attempt to make me feel guilty, I usually turn my head to the sun and save the list for another day.
Is it finally time to write? Wait! I just heard Peter Gabriel and Sting concert tickets are still available for Monday. I’ll just spend a few minutes searching online to see who has the best tickets. Oh and I need to order those rash guards for my son before vacation. Oh and the toothpaste – did I add that to the shopping list? Distraction is procrastination’s right-hand man.