Friday, November 4, 2011


PROCRASTINATE It is a big word representing a concept that most of us know intimately.  One dictionary defines it in this way:

   [proh-kras-tuh-neyt, pruh-] Show IPA verb, -nat·ed, -nat·ing.

verb (used without object)
 1. to defer action; delay: to procrastinate until an opportunity is lost.

verb (used with object)
2. to put off till another day or time; defer; delay.

Many of us have embraced procrastination so deeply that we have even developed favorite ways to procrastinate.  These are not in any order, but they are effective.

1) Make a list of things I have to do … tomorrow and beyond
There’s nothing wrong with planning and organizing, but a whole lot of us spend a whole lot of time preparing to do things later instead of tackling the most important task at hand.

2) Go shopping at Ollie’s
This is a regional retailer that claims to have “good stuff cheap” and they do. They especially have aisles upon aisles of books at bargain prices.  I barely have the time to read the books piled next to my desk, so I really don’t need a new book.  Browzing Ollie’s treasures (I even go into the hardware aisles) is a wonderful way of putting off today what really needs to be done today.

3) Watching the ESPN “bottom line” for the game scores
It is slow and tedious, and I often let my mind drift and thereby miss the score I have been watching for. Besides, there are web sites that actually share the game in slightly delayed real time … pitch-by-pitch.  But you can consume of lot of time when you are trying to avoid something on the priority list that you find unpleasant or burdensome.

4) Retelling a life experience detail by detail to anyone who gives me a reason
This is my version of the popular TV show 24.  I can make the most trivial thing sound complicated and earth-shattering.  Generally this retelling is not a form of education or problem-solving but in “analyzing life” you think you’ve done something significant.  What you have done is delayed the inevitable or the essential to an even less opportune time.
5) Start reorganizing my office
This starts with sorting the papers piled on my desk, then repacking the boxes in which I store things, and then putting the things I don’t have a clue what to do with into a box that I have spent time emptying so I can put the new stuff into a box.  What do with I do with the stuff I just took out of the box? Waste more time figuring out what to do with it.

Others that I know have their own unique ways of procrastinate – some imaginative, some sort of dull; but all quite effective at putting off onerous obligations,  Here’s just a few:

1) Tweet every belch, observation, emotion, and brainless thought that comes into their mind
Unless, of course, it’s reading someone else’s tweets about the same topics.  You know there’s also a Facebook version of this procrastination technique.

2) Sleep
Need I say more?

3) Putter in their garden
Even if there’s nothing growing or it has already received a level of attention worthy of the Manhattan project
4) Emailing to all our friends every political comment ever made
With the upcoming primary  season no useful activity may get completed on time until after the November 2012 Election

(C) 2011 by Stephen Dunn

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