‘Is the practice of carrying out less urgent tasks in preference to more urgent ones, or doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, and thus putting off impending tasks to a later time.’
Procrastination is good. I could leave it that and everybody would agree but let’s go into the heart of the matter. It’s only when we have procrastinated enough, when we are truly fed up with delaying our life/the essential any longer that we do what really matters.
Only, it’s more complicated than that. Before we can start something new we need to go to the end of whatever came before. That holds true for relationships, for unsatisfying jobs or waiting for the bus until we notice the stop is no longer in use.
Procrastination is the great leveller. It might turn out that, having procrastinated long enough, the urgent thing we’ve been avoiding just doesn’t exist anymore, i.e. the flowers we should have watered died, the all-clearing conversation has become pointless now that the relationship is over, or by the time we are actually ready for a walk it’s raining.
Another bonus of procrastination is that the important thing we’ve been delaying has simply lost its importance. Which totally frees us of guilt, because time did that. It wasn’t us.
So don’t be afraid to go to the very end of your hedging. Try stretching it ad infinitum and you’ll sloth your life away. However, it’s more likely you will get bothered with it eventually. It might take an hour or ten years but there will probably come a time when procrastination just won’t do anymore.
It’s not that your flat couldn’t do with another cleaning, or what about that film you’ve only watched nine times and still offers dialogue subtleties you missed previously, or keeping up with the latest FB updates. You are not really postponing, you just don’t want to miss out on life-changing events.
In my case, whatever it is I don’t want to do the most, or perceive as hardest moves furthest down the list. So if I have something I really don’t fancy doing but deep down know that my life including myself would really benefit from, I find something I feel even less like doing.
Suddenly the thing I didn’t want to do doesn’t look so unattractive anymore simply because it moved upwards on the list of things I’m trying to avoid.
So my trick is just finding that one worse thing. Let’s stick with the homely and homemade. I’m still mending clothes and sometimes customise them. Even though this is satisfying work, also in a good-for-our-planet-screw-you-cheap-clothes-slave-labour-kind-of-way, I will avoid it for as long as possible.
In comes the notion that I should be writing my next blog. And yes, I start mending things that are perfectly alright and customise clothes for no reason other than spending an hour not doing that other thing. Now all I need to find is something less pleasurable than sitting down and piecing my brain cells together for writing.
I obviously found it.