Everywhere I look, it seems, people are talking about procrastination. I go to my writer’s forums and at least one and sometimes more threads will be discussing the various forms of it and how to cure us of it. Some of my poetry sites are having the same discussions about the same subject---procrastination.
We all think about it, write about it, and talk about it—to the point of discussions in the grocery store. The other day we were wandering through the meat department and I overheard a couple of ladies talking about not being able to get started on "that new flower bed." The one lady didn’t know what was wrong with her; she always had things settled in the yard long before now.
This type of lament appears to be sweeping the nation. Is it the odd weather that we’ve been having since last December, do you think? Perhaps it’s a new virus that’s infecting the general population.
I wonder if the latter is true in its own way. What if the virus that’s taking over this country is a reflection of the hectic, non-quality lifestyle that many of us lead?
Here’s what I mean. Each of us has a list of things we “need” to get done on a given day. We’ve made that list because: a.) no one else will do those tasks and there’s a time limit on completion, b.) someone else has asked us, told us, or blackmailed us into becoming responsible for said task, c.) we look at those around us who seem to be getting so much more done with their time and we don’t want to appear under-achievers, or lazy, or ill-equipped to handle the load.
Does that about sum it up? I could add a few more reasons for those arm-long lists, but you get the idea.
This is my question. When do we get to do those things that actually make us happy, that give us great pleasure, that help us grow as people? I ask that because until three days ago, when my mind went all scattered because of a family issue, I picked up one of my comfort books.
A comfort book is one of those favorite books of ours that allow us to escape the daily issues, wrap ourselves in selfish pleasure with familiar words and feelings, and give us a chance to bring our minds back to a more balanced state. In my case it was Janet Kagan’s “Hellspark,” which is a great SF book.
I use it as a gyroscope and now know it almost by heart. Taking this time has afforded me a good look at what I’m doing as well.
Yes, I’ve taken on more projects than anyone should ever put on a schedule. Some are very long term, while others take only moments to accomplish. I’m trying to sprinkle them all with things that give me small crumbs of pleasure. I love writing almost as much as breathing. But in working on the writing for gain and publishing, I’d lost sight of why I started doing it in the first place.
I loved to read, and I wasn’t allowing myself time to do that. Now’s my chance to remedy that. I agreed to do a review for a new writer friend of mine. I haven’t done a review lately, especially non-fiction. Monday I get to release that little bit of heavenly pleasure for others to see. I will have taken some of my pleasure back from the work schedule.
I think that’s what most of us need to do more. We should do as many things as give us pleasure as those which are necessary. If we procrastinate because we’re tired of being forced—by ourselves or others—to do only those things required, are we living, growing, and stretching as people? Or, do we merely exist?
Think it over and decide for yourself. If you’d like, share your conclusions with those who drop by here from time to time. Until later,