Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thinking About Thinking About Procrastination

I’m thinking about doing something about this procrastination issue of mine. It’s been a life-long thing, and probably has inspired some of my best work. Under the gun, I can produce. If I have any bit of leisure time, I come to a screeching halt. Don’t know why…that’s just the way it is and has always been.

As long as I can remember, procrastination has been an issue, and I wonder if I’m hard-wired for it. In fourth grade, I lost sleep because of an overdue library book. There was no reason it wasn’t returned on time, yet it wasn’t. I worried about it until the day I finally scooped the book up and returned it before my parents received a notice. It was the first albatross around my neck, a mere chickling compared to the more complex difficulties I’d face later in life as a result of putting things off.

The same feeling descends today as I get notices about tax preparation forms, or when a bill is due, when it’s time to schedule a mammogram (ouch), or when I haven’t communicated with a friend or relative. It’s some strange reaction to accountability that heightens the distress signals. Thinking about doing something is so much more stressful than actually doing it. So what do I do? I magnify the problem, leaving the responsibility behind, to write something other than what I’m supposed to write. I bake (a lot), or knit, or read something just to read it, not anything I need to read. I do something else that completely removes the burden from my mind for a little while, always aware of the neglected responsibility. In my subconscious, I work on it, almost unaware and a bit at a time, so that when I actually put the pedal to the metal, I can work, and work well enough. But gosh, it’s exhausting.

The silver lining to this real problem is that some of my very best work has arisen from the intense pressure resulting from procrastination. It’s an interesting phenomenon. I’m going to think about this some more. Tomorrow.

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