BETTERLATETHANNEVER, N.Y. – “I’m writing it now,” I say. “Practically done,” I claim. “Yeah, right,” say my VM colleagues.
My shameful secret, is, I know, not such a secret. I‘m a champion procrastinator. I mean, among the top 10 procrastinators of all time. If there were an Olympics…well, you get the point; but most likely, I wouldn’t get around to the tryouts on time.
Putting things off for another day, another few hours, hey, I have perfected this over many, many years. They say (procrastinators say) that putting things off can be a sign of trying to do too many things at once, or a sign or being a perfectionist, and, yep, I’ve used that excuse. Sometimes that’s true. At other times, well…excuses don’t always cut it. And, let’s face it – behind every ‘successful’ procrastinator is a team of, well, very, very patient, capable people.
I do appreciate the irony in the fact that I’m someone who can be late most of the time and my professional world is full of nothing but deadlines. How’d the heck did that happen?
But things have now gotten to the point where I almost count on the “last-minute” pressure to get things done. For all the years I’ve been at Vision Monday, I’ve written my Editor’s Note late in the cycle. In recent years, it’s in the last hours of the last day of production. OR, take this Today’s Read, for instance. A few of us had the brilliant idea of doing this column three weeks ago. It’s 4:15pm on a Friday the day before this VMail Weekend is sent out, and I’m just putting it together – simultaneously as I put off another VMail item for Monday, also due at 4:30pm.
Truthfully, procrastinating has built up for me over the years; I didn’t do it as much in high school as I did in college when had to study for a test or turn in a report. And I started doing it more frequently as I got older. Once, a friend told me about the existence of a Procrastinator’s Club. Seriously. I called the phone number (no internet then) and the voice on the recording welcomed me, and said they’d try to get back to me ‘ real soon’. I left my phone number and work address and four months later I got a bonafide certificate, though they forgot to put the date on it.
Then, another friend gave me a Procrastinator Clock, photo here. It’s on my desk; have been meaning to get a battery.
Anyone out there share this affliction..? If so, let me know, firstname.lastname@example.org. Try to send me a note before the end of the year, okay?
Here are some interesting points of view about procrastinating; read these links or save them for when you’re trying to put off doing something else ;-)
Tim Urban: Inside the mind of a master procrastinator
Mar 15, 2016
Tim Urban knows that procrastination doesn't make sense, but he's never been able to shake his habit of ...
Procrastination | Define Procrastination at Dictionary.com
Procrastination definition, the act or habit of procrastinating, or putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention: She was smart, but her ...
Why I Taught Myself to Procrastinate - The New York TimesWe think of procrastination as a curse. Over 80 percent of college students are plagued by procrastination, requiring epic all-nighters to finish
Why Writers Are the Worst Procrastinators - The Atlantic
Feb 12, 2014 - “Well,” he said, “first, I put it off for two or three weeks. ... a theory about why writers are such procrastinators: We were too good in English class.