Long before dinosaurs roamed the earth, before ice ages and asteroids, and certainly as fuck before Sarah Palin ever saw her name on bumper stickers in conjunction with the year 2012, I was destined to be a procrastinator. When the day comes, I’ll put off dying because I have a deadline. I’m a master at finding shit to do when there’s other shit needing to be done and the shit usually getting done isn’t among the most pressing shit on my To Do list.
I’m 38. I likely won’t admit that I’m 39 until I inadvertently lie to someone when they ask my age and I eke out “38” followed by a surprised stare, heart palpitations and the subsequent, “Fuck – I’m 39.”
Given certain events that have graced (?) my life in the past ten months or so (and some in the past few days), it’s a wonder to me that I still find ways to procrastinate given:
- Life is short (and in many cases, shorter than need be)
- We’re lucky enough to actually have shit to do (y’know, beyond simple survival)
- We find ways in all of that shit to ignore the things that are the most important in favor of little shit.
It’s a Bitch Slap of colossal proportions – and I’m the first taker.
Procrastination makes things worse.
If it sucks now, it’s not going to suck any less when we get our asses in gear and get it done. It will probably suck more because you’re now time-crunched and faced with having to delay things you actually want to be doing in favor of getting things done that should have been done long ago. Definitely a winning strategy.
Procrastination doesn’t fix anything.
Yup – that thing you didn’t want to do? It’s still there. Look at it. Beady eyes, drooling jawline worse than an overexerted golden retriever. It’d be prudent to cowboy the fuck up and just get some shit done, dontcha think? Procrastination ruins things: your quality of work, your quality of life, quality of relationships with other people (and those you love). It’s not worthy of classification as a tool and sure as hell doesn’t belong in your tool box. Getting things done is a killer adrenaline rush – procrastination, while a producer of the same adrenaline rush, feels incomparably shitty and leaves us worried, anxious and unable to make decisions that will actually benefit us. It’s the line at the post office on April 15, the parking lot nightmare at malls worldwide on December 24 and the reason we can’t find a fucking turkey over 3 pounds the night before 17 people are due at our home for Thanksgiving dinner.
Procrastination doesn’t foster growth.
Because we keep doing it. It keeps Grudge Drawers full of memorabilia from relationships past, crappy clients hanging on, bills unpaid, taxes lingering and the people we want in our lives most at bay. It’s a rabid Keebler elf, gnawing its way through the meaning of your life (and he doesn’t even leave any Toll House goodness in his wake, the fucker). We can’t move forward if we’re too busy holding a grudge about what’s happened, why it happened and what we need to do in order for it to keep happening again. The United States is a nation adept at procrastination – we foster it through our legislative and political process. We live in four-year cycles of blame instead of taking ownership of the fact that it took hundreds of years to fuck this country up and it’s going to take more than four to get it straight (when it was never straight in everyone’s eyes to begin with).
So whaddaya gonna do?
How about some shit that needs to get done? I have no idea what’s on your list, but kicking procrastination’s ass is both a physical and emotional task. The fact that it took me 2 days to write this blog post is a testament to the power and pull of procrastination. Shit that needs to be done is at odds with shit I want to do. And then there’s the shit I don’t want to do but somehow, it finds itself being done in advance of the needs AND wants, and that’s pretty much bullshit.
Are you afraid of getting the bullshit out of the way so you can actually start living?
Are we terrified of the prospect of getting “caught up” and making room for some downtime?
Do we shudder at the prospect of not chasing the rabid Keebler elf around the office because we’re so used to the routine?
Just think of the people in your life who would love to be able to kick you in the <insert anatomical expletive> because you’re squandering your chance to do something because they can’t do something – because they’re dead. There are people all over this world who spend every resource they have on surviving and we persist with these first world problems (like procrastination) like they’re the DaVinci Code. It’s time that we (me included) started:
- Getting things done
- Letting go of things that do us no good
- Serving those who pay us for our attention
- and making ourselves emotionally available to the one thing that can make this life a roller coaster worth riding: other people.
None of that involved procrastination. It involves sacking up and owning our own shit. And I acknowledge that this post has had more instances of shits, fucks and whatnots than in general days passed, but it’s hard to call bullshit anything but bullshit and maybe if we stopped calling bullshit “issues” or “challenges,” we’d find a way to deal with those things instead of letting them fester in a bubble-wrapped existence.
So yeah – procrastination can suck it and this is a Bitch Slap. It’s time to stop putting off the things that mean the most in favor of the things we know we need to do, are being paid to do and always knew had to be done. YouTube can wait. The kitchen can stay a mess for another half hour.
Go bang something out and give yourself a high five. Throw away that box of things that brings you nothing but misery every time you open it. Stay up another hour and work. Tomorrrow? A damn fine day awaits and you can start making it happen today. The elf? He can go fuck himself.