Cleaning Up Procrastination


Procrastination is a funny thing. It has many moods and often hidden reasons. Sometimes, when I delay working on something, the problem gets solved or someone else takes it on. And sometimes, my subconscious is chewing on it. I need more information and more thinking time. Then, the answer somehow miraculously appears. I tell Mr. Guilt that I haven’t really been lazy. I’ve been working on it the whole time.
This week, I took on a big project, one of those that was ever present, almost annoying every time I walked by it. But, almost too big to start. At least that was my feeble reasoning.
There are a number of those in my life; sometimes I take those on and sometimes I don’t.
I’d have that twinge of guilt: the ignored project. That twinge would pass and I’d find something else to do. Yet, I’d walk by this again and there it was–undone, still on my to do list.
But, yesterday was the day. At least I’ll start, I said to myself. One step at a time. I can do one or two things, and at least do something. I could even feel good about it. Starting, that is. Actually getting it done, oh that’s another matter, something for another day.
It really needed to get done on a nice sunny day. And the day was one of those wondrous perfect September days.
One or two actions became three and then four, and soon, I was halfway finished. Another half hour and then a break for lunch, and I’d be able to finish it in a day.
A few more hours of sweat, and I was done! It looked so nice. All cleaned up, things put away, even some long needed maintenance work done.
Fall is like that. There comes that day of rain, warning me that winter and the rainy season is coming, that summer is waning and it is time to get some projects done. Leaves are turning colors and dropping to the ground. Then, some more amazing late summer days, tempting me to believe again that summer is never ending, and I can just enjoy the day and put off doing what really needs to get done.
“Time,” Nature is saying, “is moving on. I won’t wait for you.”
“Maybe I was just figuring out how to get this done,” I told myself, trying to rationalize the long time I’ve spent in not doing the project.
Or maybe I really was procrastinating, hoping that this project would somehow miraculously get finished by itself and summer wasn’t going to end soon.

–Neal Lemery 9/25/2016

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