I’m what you would call a closet procrastinator. The saying, ‘Why do something today when I can put it off until tomorrow?’, defines me up to a point because I procrastinate, selectively.
Like many of you, I find that there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything, under every hat I wear, completed. Or if I do manage to get the majority of tasks done, I’ve now squandered any time for myself, and let’s be honest, time for me is important. This creates what I call a ‘me time deficit’. Which promotes stress and makes me cranky. No one in my house likes it when I’m cranky. I’m kind of like the Hulk, only I’m not green.
So how do I manage to prevent a ‘me time deficit’? I procrastinate! Now, admittedly, I will typically avoid particular tasks, like laundry, until the mountains that are overflowing each basket in the house glare at me with insentient accusation until I can’t take the condemnation any more and lug them down for washing. But there are other tasks that I avoid with equal diligence, and it is these tasks that result in a stressful cramming session, a direct result of an overindulgence in procrastination.
So, how do I balance the beauty of procrastination with the cold reality of deadlines? This is where the ‘closet procrastinator’ comes in. I’m great at getting the necessary things done that keep the family going throughout the day, minus laundry, so it would appear that I don’t put anything off.
This is a gross misconception.
I just hide what I don’t want to tackle and convince myself that it really doesn’t need to get done right now, or tomorrow. Then I work on convincing my conscience that I’m right, or I just temporarily beat it into submission if it won’t listen to reason. However, a day of reckoning always comes and I end up with that ‘oh crap’ moment that sends me into a panic.
A mature person may reflect on this and ask themselves, was it really worth putting that off just to feel all this anxiety now? Well, that’s not so simple to answer. Or perhaps it is and I’m just really immature. I would argue, with my conscience again (damn thing is such a killjoy sometimes), that it would depend on what I got to enjoy by putting off the task that required my attention. If ‘me time’ was an outcome of the act of postponement, then I’m not so sure I would do anything differently. In the end, whether or not I go into procrastination mode depends heavily on where the task ranks on the ‘need to get done’ scale and how large my ‘me time deficit’ has become. Honestly, if I can hide it in the closet - with all the laundry - chances are it’s not getting done until the procrastination clock runs out.
Another result of the anxiety-ridden cramming, is that the finished product is often well done (or appears to be to an outsider) and is rewarded. So in a sense, by waiting for a protracted amount of time to get something accomplished, I may end up doing that task at a higher level of proficiency. Or, admittedly, it may end up sloppy as hell but I tend not to highlight those outcomes. Ultimately, the procrastination cycle that I experience is one that rewards the last minute rush and allows me to snag a few extra blocks of time to veg out with no distractions or pressing responsibilities. Well, at least no vocally demanding responsibilities.
As for my obligations today, aside from laundry? Well, there are those scout badges which have been sitting on my dresser for a month waiting to be sewn onto my son’s uniform. Then again, the next Court of Honor is weeks away...
Now I put the question to you: to procrastinate or not to procrastinate?