The Ability To Procrastinate Doesn’t Happen Overnight, You Know…

Everyone who knows me well can vouch for the fact that one of my greatest skills is the ability to procrastinate. (Case in point: I wanted to write this post about six months ago.) I’m terrible at time management when it comes to projects.

That said, don’t believe for a second that I miss deadlines, because I don’t. I might finish what’s due at the very last possible moment before my deadline is up, but I do finish on time. In spite of my chronic procrastination tendencies (I prefer to say that “I work well under pressure”), I am, surprisingly, more organized than the average person. Okay, part of it is illusion, but the other part is true organization. I make lists with abandon. I enjoy the idea of time management as it relates to making Excel charts with increments of time (or dates) next to tasks I need to complete. I like to check or cross things off, occasionally even writing “brush teeth” on a to-do list, not because I won’t remember to do it (twice) without writing it down, but because I enjoy the idea of completing it and scratching it off my list (twice).

I didn’t just start procrastinating yesterday, either. I have extensive experience in the act of putting things off. Back in high school, I put off reading assignments until I had to practically pull all-nighters to get them done before a test, on which I usually earned an A. I vividly remember typing college term papers (on a TYPEWRITER, kids: no computers for the average person back then!) on the morning they were due, having started the research only a couple of days before, and then driving like a madwoman to get to campus and turn them in within minutes of the deadline. My grades on those? Mostly A’s. (That, when you think about it, isn’t the best kind of outcome for someone who procrastinates, because it promotes doing things the same way.)

Unfortunately, one of my offspring takes after his mother when it comes to this issue. D is, I think, even worse than I am. It might just feel that way, though, because I have to stand by and watch, knowing that there is absolutely nothing I can do or say to light a fire under his butt. In fact, years ago when I noticed how well “he worked under pressure”, I actually told Jim that it was going to be up to him to conduct one-on-one conversations with D about not waiting to do things until the last minute, because I knew what a hypocrite I’d be if I participated. Those conversations have happened over the years, but nothing has changed. I didn’t think it would: I’m pretty sure that the procrastination trait is somehow part of a person’s genetic makeup, and as long as that person comes through in the end, shining like a diamond (D was on the Dean’s list for his entire freshman year at college!), what would incent him to change his ways?

In the end, my procrastination habit is just one of the things that, when combined with all of our other quirks, makes D and I the adorable people we are. At least, that’s what we tell ourselves.