Procrastinating about Procrastination

Posted: Aug 29, 2014
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Can I get a shout out from my fellow procrastinators? You know who you are. You’re probably surviving on coffee and Mountain Dew since you’re staying up all night every night this week to finish those conference proceedings or book chapters or inventory lists or case studies or next month’s schedule or that book club book you started yesterday. It’s a disease. And I’ve got it bad.

It’s not even that I have anything GOOD to be doing instead of what I should be doing. I’m embarrassed to tell you what level of Candy Crush I’ve achieved – since that is SO much more important than researching for that next talk I’m giving. Phoebe (my dog) loves it when I have a deadline. She never gets as many trips to the dog park or hikes in the Columbia River Gorge than when I should be spending that Saturday in my office.

It’s not even that I have THAT much to do. I have plenty, I’m not bored by any means, but I’m also not completely overwhelmed. My brain just has a problem getting anything done early. Under the wire, last second, just by the skin of my teeth… that’s what my brain wants. And I’m not alone. Just ask everyone who participates in the DoveLewis Annual Conference. We set their deadlines MONTHS in advance. And every year, without fail, I get a bunch of emails at midnight saying “I’m almost done I promise!” I can’t judge them too harshly since I’m probably up at midnight putting the finishing touches on my own presentations.

It’s not just work. It’s everything. Without fail, the week before my dentist appointment will find me furiously flossing. Trying to convince my hygienist that I do listen to her advice. The night before I’m leaving town, sometimes as little as two hours before I have to leave for the airport, I’m awake steam cleaning the floors and running the dishwasher so my pet-sitter is somehow tricked into thinking the animals are not in charge of my household. Just ask me how much training I did for my first 5k that was more than 4 weeks before the actual run. Hint: not much. I just can’t get motivated to do anything until the deadline is looming and I’m developing an ulcer.

Does this mean I was born to do emergency work? I lasted a grand total of 18 months in general practice and jumped on any sort of emergency that came in. I’m not a very good worker when things are slow on the floor – my mind wanders and my treatments take twice as long. But when it’s busy? I’m more efficient, time flies by, I get everything done and even manage to get charges entered on time. It’s like my brain is telling me that unless I up the ante, he’s on vacation.

As I sit here at my computer I have about 8 different windows open. The nearest deadline is in a week, and I’m mostly working on that project but can’t seem to focus. It sure is a nice day. I’ll bet Phoebe is ready for a walk…