image from www.chalkboardmanifesto.com 

 procrastinate: from Latin, of tomorrow

I can be a procrastinator.


I admit it. 

I can put things off until…whenever. I can delay. I can come up with excuses. I can opt to do the easy rather than the hard. I can opt to do nothing at all rather than the something.

I’ve always had times of procrastination in my life, even when I was very young. My mom used to call me lazy. In an accusatory, disappointed tone of voice, I might add. That hurt. And it wasn’t accurate. Being “lazy” is something quite different—at least to my mind, anyway—than being a procrastinator.  To me, being lazy is very much the same thing as not caring, being resistant, being idle.  And that’s not how I’m feeling when I’m procrastinating. When I procrastinate doing a thing, I’m actually thinking about that thing a lot—I care deeply about that thing; I know I will be facing that thing head on; I want to do that thing as well as I possibly can. That is, when I eventually—finally—get to it.

When I’m procrastinating, it may appear to others that I’ve gone AWOL . Sometimes my form of procrastination manifests as napping, daydreaming, shopping, or cleaning. And if the thing I’m supposed to be doing is shopping or cleaning then I might procrastinate by working, walking, exercising, or something else. And if the thing I’m supposed to be doing is working or exercising, then I might be petting the cat, organizing the clothes closet, or something else. You get the idea. So, I wouldn’t say my procrastination is laziness at all. Rather, it’s distraction…it’s an alternate view...it’s a means to getting my focus back. Very often while I’m procrastinating I’m strategizing, planning, thinking, creating, and preparing. For what? For the doing of the thing. For the achieving of the thing. For meeting the challenge of the thing.

Some bouts of procrastination last longer than others; some things that need to be tackled can be fraught with fears or doubts; some can be fraught with tension; some can be fraught with boredom. They will get done. They do get done. Eventually. But  not until I'm ready.

What I’ve come to recognize about procrastination is that it's a part of a process that I need very badly to stay focused, productive, and engaged with my work, my writing, my life, and the world around me. Procrastination is my means of recharging and regrouping, of taking a deep breath, my way to take a time out so my mind can wander around until it comes back to center. 

 (c) emma d dryden, drydenbks LLC