Published in The Long Island Advance, December 7, 2006 Edition
I am a procrastinator and feel as if I should be standing in front of a support group announcing this fact. I vacillate between being either totally driven and focused, or completely unfocused and lackadaisical. This sort of behavior causes me a huge amount of stress and I often ask myself why I do it.
This very minute, as I write this piece, I am procrastinating the writing of two papers that are due in four days. Four days sounds like a long time to write two papers, and in fact would be more than sufficient if I didn’t have to have a day job. Having a day job significantly interferes with the writing that I would much rather be doing.
My mission when I awoke this morning was to get started. I’ve done all the reading which for me was the easy part, and the writing isn’t hard either and yet, I wait, and I wait, and I wait. Mulling over getting started and finding every conceivable excuse not to.
So, after waking up this morning I needed to spend minimally two hours sitting on my bed with my laptop, reading ever bit of news I could find. Then there were a few essential phone calls to make prior to actually getting moving. After breakfast I decided to sort laundry. My plan was to go to my parent’s house, laundry in tow, with my laptop and books, and start paper writing in between trips down to the washing machine. Since my parents are away I figured their house would have fewer distractions for me, allowing me to concentrate better. Well, I’ve made it over here, there’s laundry sloshing around in the washer and I’m writing about procrastination as a means to continue doing it.
Prior to actually sitting down at this table and opening up a blank Word Document I had to stop at 7-11 for coffee. Once I finally arrived here, I had to leave again so that I could bring a container of beef stew my mother wanted passed along to brother and sister-in-law, over to their house. I then had to stop back where I’m living….again, in order to find the first paper I had written for this particular class, on which I had jotted the notes about the second paper when last meeting with my professor. While running up and down the stairs, fetching these items, this little bit of writing hit me. What could I do? I had no other choice but to sit down and write it.
I often wonder how I can be a Virgo. Not one who really believes in the whole “horoscope thing,” I do recognize that I have many of those, over-planning, over-thinking, over-organizing traits that Virgo’s are known for, and yet they don’t carry over into all areas of my life. And this is certainly one area where I need those traits to kick in, or more like kick me in the butt to get me moving.
I’ve been procrastinating long enough to recognize my patterns and I’ve come to learn over the course of attending “nontraditional college,” that I need structure. I am not one who the professor can hand the course outline to and say, “See you at the end of 15 weeks with the work done.” That has happened and believe me; I almost did not survive doing 15 weeks of work, in the space of two. That lesson I learned well.
Now that I have procrastinated yet another half hour away there are no more excuses left to put off writing about Jane Austin, so….I guess I should get started. Well, maybe I should check on my laundry first.