Procrastinate

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I started writing this almost a week ago… 🙂

Very straightforward for Latin, I have to say, it actually means to defer. It is more specific than the current usage as it actually contains reference to “tomorrow” but otherwise perfectly understandable, if annoying.

I am not very fond of procrastination, even though I do it so well Others are even less enamoured of procrastination and have outstandingly explicit and eloquent things to say about it.

But this is an apology so I looked at what good can procrastination do. I am talking only of procrastination, not of time management difficulties. Those are not choices, procrastination is.

Let me make it clear: it is not a character flaw, it is not a difficulty, it is not an accident. It is a choice, and as such it is a consequence of a process that involves a lot of the individual, some of the system and most of the environment in which it happens.

Most people that I know of (including myself) do not procrastinate out of malice. It may be a passive (or is that passive-aggressive?) protest against circumstances we do not agree with. It may be a sign that more rest is in order so we can make better decisions. It may also be too difficult in which case it becomes again a passive way of saying it

What it can help with is timing. It’s a delaying technique but it may also be triggered by waiting for another piece of information needed to complete our knowledge. Or waiting for just the right time to do something. Or the right space in which to say something difficult.

Sometimes I am so tired that anything past breathing is way, way too much. So I procrastinate.

I don’t like it. I don’t think anyone does. But saying (and I have heard them all!) that the above are “just an excuse” is the same as saying “I don’t care why, just do it my way/the accepted way/the right way” despite what (I believe) are valid reasons.

And that makes me more, not less likely to continue to procrastinate.

Vicious circle, much?

Lately I have procrastinated sadness, if such is even possible. But I can’t let it overwhelm me during the day. And sometimes even nights are out of bounds. So I defer it. There is romance reading, pop music listening, cartoon watching – light hearted fun that nonetheless allows another hour to pass.

I can expect that much of myself, indeed. For sadness will come, and will not be denied entry.

I might as well make the decision when to open the door.

Disorganized

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Now I am really disappointed with myself for missing two things, an important one and a possibly important one. The first was an event the little one participated in, Peace Day. I apologized and I think I may have been forgiven. It was total forgetfulness. I did not write it down to remind myself, so I will not beat myself over it (what with me being human and all that).

The possibly important thing was not forgotten, that was sheer procrastination. It could have led to a change in my life, so I had to think about it and the reasons for that procrastination. Part of it was, of course, life: I have plenty of time; I need to research this a bit more; I need to talk to someone about it. The other part though is a lack of purpose. A bit of burnout, a bit of disenchantment, a desire for change but without the urgency. So the result is more of a live each day as it comes rather than striding confidently in the direction of my dreams.

That’s not necessarily bad, but it does mean that I am not making the changes to my life that I deem necessary. I don’t act on the opportunities that present. I observe the status quo without giving it either direction or meaning and as a result I feel even more disempowered. Do I like it? Let’s not joke about it, I dislike it but, apparently not intensely enough to matter.

Sometimes the best I can do is let it grow, accumulate, until the dislike turns into a call for action. I know I am capable of that, I have done it many times.

I was wondering if I should really push myself harder and just get it done earlier. I thought really hard about it, not just overthinking it, but actually trying to figure it out so that I may use it as a template for other periods in my life. Would I benefit from doing it and, if so, how would I go about pushing myself harder? In other words, how not to be a procrastinator?

The answer to the second question, “how would I go about it?” is reasonably simple: talk to people as opposed to making the decisions alone. I use it sparingly as I am very impulsive so I rush into things. Making decisions alone takes a longer time (and, as you read above, patience is not my strong point) but chances are the decisions will be more considered.

The answer to the first question has a bit more nuance. Yes, pushing myself would benefit me (no one likes a procrastinator) but it would deny time its value in life. Some things need to be done slowly, in the fullness of time, for the right reasons. In effect, in answering the second question I answered the first one, too.

Or you could say that as a procrastinator I just found good excuses to procrastinate

Fine, I will give you that. I will say I am just going through a phase, taking some time out, and get back into it as soon as feasible. Work, parenting, assignments, gardening, travel, friends… my life is full and that’s the way I like it. Now I just need to live it a bit more efficiently. What to start with though?

Ah, I know…