It is already September. How did that happen and where did the summer go to? I had so much I wanted to accomplish this summer and hardly any of those items are crossed off my to-do list. I want to blame the weather, but if I am really going to be honest, it is more of an issue with my ongoing problems with procrastination. In the spirit of full disclosure, I should also say that I really do not have a problem with my procrastination, the people around me have a problem with it.
When I was growing up I was told to find something you are good at, enjoy and become the best at it that you can. For a long time, I thought I just couldn’t find my niche or that one thing I was going to become good at. Then it dawned on me — I am a world class procrastinator and I have spent my entire lifetime perfecting my craft.
This morning was a perfect example. I needed to get this column done. I got into the house at 9 a.m. and started getting ready to write. First, I turned on the TV and found an interesting show that I really had to watch. Then I realized I was getting hungry and I went looking for a snack. The cupboards were bare, but I found some graham crackers. Jennifer had warned me to not eat them because she was saving them for s’mores.
I surmised that we really didn’t need all three packs for s’mores and sat down on the couch and proceeded to kill 30 minutes and a whole package of graham crackers. The real reason the cupboards were bare is that Jennifer has eliminated all snack type food in hopes that I might lose some weight. This is where the genius of my procrastination skills comes into play. Without trying I can put off two different, completely unrelated events at one time. Not only did I not write my column, but I set my diet back by at least a day.
This past weekend, Jennifer asked me to hang a hat rack up in the office. This hat rack was displaced by the desk that I had to relocate when we moved Tatum back to college about a month ago. I was supposed to have moved the desk a long time before that, but I couldn’t because of the clutter on it that I had promised to clean up back in the winter. Many times, I amaze myself with my proficiency when it comes to procrastination.
So back to this weekend, I was sitting on the couch with the book I meant to read on my lap when Jennifer had the audacity to ask me if I had hung the hat rack. Without blinking, I told her I was going to do it tomorrow. She reminded me that I had said that the day before, to which I pointed out that this was today and tomorrow had not gotten here yet.
She grumbled about my procrastination and I told her that it was a fact that people who put things off lived longer, happier lives. She then asked me to prove it and I told her the studies had probably not been published yet. If they had, I hadn’t had time to research them but I would get on it tomorrow right after I hung the hat rack. She may have mentioned then that people who procrastinate often die of traumatic brain injuries from being hit constantly on the back of the head.
That was when I realized just how hard it was to be this good at something. Common people just don’t understand a genius. Jennifer is constantly being an eager beaver and getting things done. This leaves her searching for something to do the next day, while I have the comfort of knowing what I need to do in the coming day or week or month. That is when I decided I would write a self-help book for everyone like my wife, who never really learned the art of procrastination. I will get right on that after I hang the hat rack.
Occasionally, we do get things done, just like I am getting this column written. Usually those flurries of productivity are accompanied with a deadline. Other times things get done because of threats like, “if you don’t hang up the hat rack, you won’t get supper.”
I once reached out to friends of mine who also practice procrastination to start a procrastinator’s club. We all agreed to check our calendars and get back to each other with a suitable date. We’re still checking, and that is OK. We’ve got time, because I am sure that people who procrastinate live longer. Our stress levels are much lower knowing that we have time to get all those projects done at some point in the future. It’s kind of like job security. It will get done, tomorrow.
Glenn Brunkow is a fifth-generation farmer in the Northern Flint Hills of Pottawatomie County in Kansas. He was a county Extension agent for 19 years before returning to farm and ranch full time. He can be reached at email@example.com.