Sunday, August 27, 2006
The Art of Procrastination
There's a fine art to procrastination. Unless you strike just the right balance, procrastination can turn rapidly into sloth.
I tend to let papers pile up on my desk -- mail, sticky notes, printouts, etc. I always intend to take a look at them and then put them where they belong. Soon. Or sometime. To my credit, I do place them into nice, neat little piles. Still, I find myself pawing feverishly through my piles when I need something and I know it's in one of those piles. The mail, I need a better system for. I lay it down with the intention of at least opening it and paying the bills and tossing the junk. Sometimes, I miss the mark and totally forget about the bills, getting the payments in just under the deadline. I need a better system.
I've just about run out of space for books, which may explain my procrastination about putting away new ones. When I clear off the table in my den, it looks so neat and shiny. I vow right then and there that I won't let the books pile up on it again. Yet, here I sit, with piles of books so high that I can barely see over them. Again, I need a system. Or else, I need to be taller.
E-mail, I'm terrible about. I'll see a message, decide it needs a reply, and save it. Then I promptly forget about it. Days later, I'll come across it and by then I've completely forgotten what I intended to say. I could use a system.
Why do I procrastinate? It may have something to do with the fact that I hate being told I "have" to do something. That includes me telling myself that I "have to." Plus, this stuff takes time and I have this weird tendency toward spending my time doing stuff I actually like.
Do I procrastinate with my writing? Oh, Lord, yes. And I don't know why. I actually like writing. But there seems to be an immutable rule: If I'm not in the mood, it ain't gonna happen. It may be the heat, it may be the fact that I'm in "waiting mode" with a queried novel, or it may be something else. I guess I'll figure it out. When I feel like it.