Friday, December 4, 2009

The Procrastinator's Wish List: Can I Get a Deadline, Please?

I should be doing something else, but I'm not. I'm putting it off--and off and off--for no good reason. Only because the task is large enough that it will soon consume all of my childless hours for a good several days, and I just can't bring myself to commit--yet.

I've even put off looking up my deadline, the finish date that will ensure my work arrives in time for gift-giving. This could be good or bad. As a serial procrastinator, I work best under pressure with a clear deadline that mandates time be allotted to the task at hand. If the date is coming soon, I will find the impetus to begin. If the date, however, is weeks away, well, I may find myself doing more of everything else in the meantime.

Just like I managed to while away an hour and a half of nap time today creating a centerpiece for my living room table, doing dishes, flipping through catalogues, checking e-mail, looking up dates for the Winter Wonderlights event at our local Wildlife Experience, and otherwise piddling away my opportunity for serious productivity. Focused, uninterrupted time in my life comes in small spurts midday, and if I do not seize that time within the first few minutes, I end up with an afternoon like today's, where I have little to show for my time--and certainly nothing gift-worthy.

For some reason, it is hard for me to work at something a little at a time. I just can't make good use of a half-hour here or an hour there. I am far more successful with several hours on end to immerse myself in a project. This trait is incompatible with motherhood, however, and the reason that several boxes of my grandmother's beautiful, hard-bound books remain in our storage room instead of on our bookshelves where they should be properly displayed. But this task requires finding a new home for the gazillions of paperbacks currently gracing the shelves, which no doubt entails cleaning out some of the books on a different shelf, merging the two sets, organizing them first by category and then by author's name alphabetically, and now you can see why this will take some time.

And such is life. Other projects in the back of my mind include organizing all of our recipes into a binder, creating baby albums for the kids, creating photo albums of life post-baby stage, hanging family portraits on the walls, creating a centralized location for all of our critical documents/paperwork/account information, and sprucing up our bedroom. There are others, I'm sure, but I gave up making lists of things on the "later" timeline years ago.

I may go away for a weekend in the spring with a friend to work on those photo albums. I'll pack up the computer, my comfiest jeans and sweaters, and some good coffee to help me take advantage of the wee hours of the morning. Forty-eight uninterrupted hours ought to be enough, right? It has to be enough, so it will be. A deadline, even self-imposed, works wonders.

But while this little procrastination issue of mine leaves many tasks untended, I like to think that, once I start, I complete my projects faster than if I'd devoted tidbits of time here or there for months on end. In fact, if it were up to me, I'd define it this way:

Procrastination: the wise woman's method of maximizing efficiency.

At least that's what I'll tell myself.

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