On the Pitfalls of Procrastination


Today, for the second time in less than a week, I found myself uncharacteristically . . . grouchy. Due to four years of repeated injunctions from various practices advocating awareness of one form or another, I spontaneously entered self-diagnostic mode and discovered the following:

  1. Both instances I got grouchy were instances where my plans for the day were suddenly canceled.
  2. The cancelations themselves were not the cause of the irritation—rather they produced initial states of euphoria (along the lines of: “Yey!!! I have time to attend to other things!”).
  3. The elation quickly subsided as soon as I reviewed the list of other things which I had to attend: all items that I’d put off doing time and again under the justification of prioritizing “more important and more urgent” tasks. In reality, I’d postponed doing them out of sheer laziness or distaste.
  4. Seeing the jumbled mass of undesirable and long-delayed tasks quickly led to feelings of being overwhelmed, followed shortly by feelings of lethargy, resignation, resentment, and, ta-dah!, irritation.

With the epistemological puzzle addressed, all I was left with was the ethical question of what to do. The following options presented themselves:

  1. Invent new important and urgent things to do to fill the unexpected vacuum of the day. (I rate myself an “undisputed master” in this skill).
  2. Use the unexpected break to undertake the arduous task of “doing nothing.” (I rate myself a “rank and pathetic beginner” in this skill.)
  3. Do the unthinkable—which is to actually start tackling the Hydran mass of unwanted actions. (I rate myself a “struggling practitioner” in this skill.)

In the end, with much sighing, sulking, dragging of feet and twiddling of thumbs, I did the unthinkable and got around to checking off things that had been fixtures on my to-do list for weeks.

The funny thing is: I actually feel much better now. (And yes, I can now self-promote my ranking in this area.)

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