I Was Going to Write a Post About Procrastination, but I’ll Do It Another Time

I used to think that I was a procrastinator and amongst the greatest of them. At university I had the ability to leave things to the last minute to the point of absurdity, willingly letting deadlines rush up upon me, their towering body casting a shadow over me as I rushed to complete the tasks given to me. If I even came close to being organised and get something done before the deadline, it felt wrong, and that I had some how cheated. This was never a problem, though – even when working and pulling over night shifts in the company of other students I never thought that I should be doing something else, or doing it another way… you could say I never learned the lesson. In the end, it didn’t even matter I suppose.

The thing is that I don’t do it any more. My procrastination died the moment I left university. The only reason I allowed it to happen was that I had no motivation to it otherwise. I mean… it never impeded my social life, nor did it impede my professional development. The reason I don’t do it anymore is that I don’t take work home with me anymore. Work ends the moment I leave work, and I can happily leave anything that happens in that time in that void between 8am and 5pm.

Some people let the procrastination enter their real life. The “leave it” attitude comes to the fore front when coupled with something that someone doesn’t want to do. Examples are tidying up, or going out of your way for someone, or maybe even doing something that you have to but don’t want to. A good example of this has been pointed out to me in cleaning my flat at the weekend.

It took over an hour to really clean the bathroom. Now, my flat mate doesn’t know this, because I didn’t tell him – I don’t do it for the recognition, but I do it because it needed to be done and otherwise it wouldn’t be done. Not my fault, and certainly not his – it’s just the way it is. However, it clearly indicates out that if we cleaned it weekly, and in smaller doses, the overall job would actually end up being smaller. Sounds silly, but it’s true! Doing things this way makes sense!

Another domestic example is the dishwasher. “I’ll do it later” meant having to do more than one load of the Dishwasher because the piling up of things meant that the final task was harder.

I suppose these examples are partly trivial, but some people can let this happen in their personal life – letting problems, tasks or events slowly build up over time, and before long there’s a tipping point, a precipice over which there’s two things that can happen. Either something major has to change, and the whole cumulative problem needs to be fixed, or you just abandon it and hope all that is lost is not too great. Imagine never cleaning the bathroom – it would get to a point where the place would become so dilapidated that I’d be better (and make sense) just to burn it to the ground (especially after what my flat mate can do to the bathroom) than clean it.

As you who know me intimately may have noticed, something in me has changed. I used to put all of these domestic things off till the point is reached where I have to clean, but no longer. I clean in small bouts, and I am willing to change. In fact, on the advice of a friend I picked up a batch of cloths to clean the kitchen with every day rather than a roll of kitchen towel every time it became dirty. My newly found impetuous nature domestically is becoming almost OCD in its manifestation, and it isn’t going to be long before I start applying this to my real life. And murdering people.