Look, there are very few things in my life which I can confidently say that I am good at. I’m a good writer, a good Marcel Proust reader (yes, this is a learned skill), and, most importantly, I am a good procrastinator.
And, unlike many other procrastinators out there, I have no interest in trying to change my ways. I love procrastination–so much so that I’ve even rationalized it somewhere in the dark, twisted holes of my brain to make it sound more useful or necessary to the thing I’m actually putting off.
It’s like, I know it took me nearly 2 days to write a post about procrastination (oh, irony of ironies!), but, hey, I needed to watch several hours of videos so adorable they could turn my insides into cotton candy. I like to think of that time as time that I needed to let the thoughts and the words come to me naturally and easily without being forced. Besides, what kind of procrastinator would I be if I immediately banged out a post about procrastination without any kind of delay? Not a very good one, I’m guessing.
Anyhow, the beauty of procrastination is that it doesn’t mean ‘an inability to do the thing you think you should be doing.’ It’s more like ‘an inability to do the thing you think you should be doing right now.’ You’ll get it done sooner or later. Whether its weeks before the deadline or 20 minutes to the wire, you’re eventually going to do it anyway. And, really, isn’t that all that matters in the end?
But let’s not forget that, as fun as procrastination can be, too much of a good thing can, well, lead to bad things (can you tell that I’ve forgotten how that saying goes?). I mean, I know that I could definitely benefit from some kind of metaphorically motivational fire under my seat. Just like I know some people who are way too rigidly structured and could stand to benefit from the creative freedom that procrastination provides.
And, as it turns out, science has proven procrastination so useful to people that we can now deduce several points in history in which humanity used to “procrastinate effectively.”
“In ancient Egypt and Rome, procrastination was thought to be useful and wise. Only a handful of early writers, such as Cicero and Thucydides, admonished people not to delay. Until the mid-eighteenth century, procrastination-hating was a minority view. Many iconic figures have been inveterate procrastinators, from St. Augustine to Leonardo da Vinci to Duke Ellington to Agatha Christie to John Huston to Bill Clinton.”
Ugh. Freakin’ Cicero. As if he knew anything about anything. Da Vinci, however? That’s my home boy right there.
So, my suggestion isn’t to try and eliminate the act of procrastination altogether. Instead opt for a solution in which, if you must procrastinate, then do it productively. Try to work on something that is as important (if not more) than the thing you think you should actually be working on. So, for example, you don’t want to do those dishes that have been waiting in the sink for 2 days. Why not go wash that car that’s so covered in dust it could totally camouflage in the desert?
See? You procrastinate AND you produce! (I can’t tell you how much I want to use the Charlie Sheen ‘Winning!’ punchline right now.)
And, in celebration of this novel idea, here are a few tips from your local expert to help get you started on the productive procrastination:
- Instead of actually working at your job or getting an assignment done (SNOOZEFEST!), why don’t you buy a couple of monkeys, teach them how to ride a dog, and laugh your way to the bank? KA-CHING!
- Instead of trying to re-organize your huge closet, filled with all the old garbage you know you’re never going to wear, why not spend four years trying to get a degree in English Literature? (This is tried and tested)
- Instead of building that huge, unwieldy bookshelf you got from IKEA, ask someone if they’d like to help you build it. Hey, you make a new friend AND you get the job done faster and easier!
- Instead of running errands and getting the groceries, why not spend a few hours thinking of ways to criticize and break down that awful, awful patriarchy? (Again, tried and tested).
- Three words: BREAKFAST FOR DINNER.
All my love! (And clearly those tips are ‘joke tips’ and not to be taken seriously, so please don’t follow them and expect productive results.)