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The Subtle Art of Procrastination

The Subtle Art of Procrastination

| Sande Caplin |

With the holiday season breathing down our necks, it’s easy to put off things until the last minute. Schedules are hectic, visitors are coming and going making this whole end-of-the-year Holiday season feel like the end-of-the-world to people like myself, who have elevated the habit of procrastination into an absolute art form.

I’m not big on rigid schedules to begin with. As a matter of fact, I’m not particularly fond of restraints of any kind on my time. I prefer to stay fluid, it just suits me better. Every time I tell a client about a delivery or install date, it is invariably followed by an “ish” as to leave myself that little bit of wiggle room in case I decide to go kayaking that day. I perceive this as a well-earned perk of being self-employed my whole life that I am finally able to enjoy now that the kids are all grown. I have gotten quite good at it, I must say. This time of year, however, I have to plan my time a tad bit better. Work is finally picking up after the long slow summer season, add to that all the holiday shenanigans and I reluctantly divide up my time and work out a weekly and daily schedule. This never works. Ever. Inevitably if I schedule something, it changes at the last second and I find myself shuffling days and tasks around, and it always causes a few things to fall through the cracks unnoticed. Today was one of those days.

Rose Lipke, The Subtle Art of ProcrastinationThe day started like any other. Coffee, feed the dog, followed by more coffee and playing with the dog. All the while I am trying to figure out what absolutely HAS to be accomplished today and what I can kick into tomorrow. In a nutshell, that is the blueprint of my organizational process. Today was supposed to be a no brainier, a rather unusual quality for a Monday. I had a job at the boatyard about 10, so I had the whole morning to work on painting some chairs for a client to be delivered tomorrow night. Then I’d have a window in the afternoon to plan my festival meeting at six. I am the chairman of that committee after all, I really do try to act like one. I was feeling pretty good about the day ahead of me over my first cup of coffee until the phone rang at 7:15. The boys didn’t get the gel coat finished on the boat over the weekend, so that job would have to be rescheduled for tomorrow. Plan B kicked in, I would just get the table and chairs finished today instead. Then I got an Airbnb reservation for a Friday check in. THIS Friday.

As in the day after Thanksgiving. I had a house full of family over two weekends ago and I had yet clean up one thing from their visit. I decided to get a head start on this, so I was now off and running in that direction, stripping all three beds and getting the laundry going…all while I worked on the table. This new turn of events kind of pushed the brief texting conversation I had this morning out of my mind, at least temporarily. You know, the one politely asking me if I had a story this week. I am not sure when my deadline really is, mostly because I seldom meet it. Turns out my deadline is Sunday. I didn’t even really have a story in mind, although I always keep a few ideas lying around in the basement of my brain. I put in a call to interview a local restaurant owner but got his voicemail. At that point my article went into the “Pending” folder in my head and I was off to trying to accomplish 100 other little things. This seemed perfectly logical to me, the same woman who traditionally does a vast majority of Christmas shopping at 3 in the afternoon on Christmas Eve. Next thing I know my “half-hour heads up” alarm for the meeting is barking at me from my phone. At least I have managed to cobble together a vague outline for the meeting before my alarm, which I scribbled down in my coffee-stained spiral notebook while driving there. When the meeting adjourned at 7 pm, my attention turned back to my story long enough for me to schedule its completion first thing in the morning, my hope being that I could wrap it up before I received another inquiry in the morning.

With so much left on my plate for this week, I am fairly certain that I will be making pies only hours before dinner on Thursday, having finally made it to Walmart at 1 am the night before for all the fixin’s. I don’t really stress about the consequences of my procrastination, after all I am grateful that my life is so full that I actually have things to procrastinate about to begin with. So here I am at 8 am on Tuesday with the finish line in my sights for this task, ready to whittle down today’s “To-Do” list with a hefty dose of “that can wait” and a smidge of “I can do that the day after tomorrow” with a smile on my face knowing somehow, some way…it will all get done. Eventually.

photos from Deposit Photos




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