Friday, December 5, 2008


I'm a procrastinator. I confess this with a sense of shame. The word even sounds embarrassing. Might as well be "procrasturbator". It's not something that people admit in polite company.

I've tried to mend my ways. A few years ago, I picked up a self help book entitled Do It Now: Break The Procrastination Habit. It didn't occur to me until later that 95% of the book's wisdom was likely contained in the first three words of its title. If I'd bothered to open it up and read it (hey, I've been meaning to get to it!) Chapter One probably would have begun with something like "Why are you wasting your time reading this book? Shouldn't you be getting something done?"

That brings me to a common misconception about procrastination. Many people mistakenly believe that procrastinators are lay-abouts who do nothing. Not true. We're not doing nothing; we're just doing something else. Take right now, for example. Christmas is approaching. My shopping isn't done. My wrapping hasn't even been started. I haven't sent a single Christmas card or letter to anyone. The desk at which I'm sitting is buried beneath a mound of unopened mail and unfiled receipts. Yet here I sit, blogging.

Hey, I have an idea! If you're on my regular Christmas mailing list, here's wishing you all the joys of the season and all the best in the coming year. Merry Christmas from me!

There. That's out of the way.

Oh, okay, okay, I'll send a damned card. Expect it sometime around Valentine's day.

It probably doesn't help that I have a tendency to invent a myriad of projects for myself and then not finish any of them before moving on to the next. For example, I might decide to catalog my DVD collection. That's a big project, because I have a lot of DVDs. So I'll catalog maybe five DVDs, and then decide that it would be a good idea to scan all of my family's old photographs so that I can digitally preserve them before they fade or deteriorate. So then I might scan maybe twenty photos before I decide to start playing one of the many unfinished computer games on my shelf.

Which brings me to another thing; I don't just put off work. I even put off recreation. I'm an avid computer gamer. Over the years, I've collected too many computer games to count. Guess how many I've finished? If you guessed a number that can't be demonstrated by those possessing the standard number of fingers and toes, you guessed a tad high.

What's more, I have several games that I haven't tried even once! I bought them because they were on sale or because I'd heard good things about them, and there they sit, on my shelf, their unbroken shrink-wrap a gleaming proclamation of my loserdom. Still, this does have its up-side. I'm never bored. Procrastination means never feeling like you have nothing to do.

I can beat this problem. I know I can. All it takes is just a bit of self-discipline. Let this be my first New Year's resolution. In the coming year, I resolve to stop procrastinating and to tackle my responsibilities immediately and without delay. That's the wonderful thing about New Year's resolutions. You make them now, and you put them off until January 1.

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