Thursday, September 20, 2012

Procrastination is Bad

Right now I’m trying to teach one of my girls an important life lesson, and the life lesson goes something like this: procrastination is bad.

Really, we might as well call it like it is: it’s bad. It’s bad to think we can “do it later” when right now is all we’ve got.
  • Procrastination is deceptive, making you think you have more time than you have. 

  • Procrastination makes a mess of your priorities.

  • Procrastination keeps you from being a productive citizen. (And good golly, don’t we need more productive citizens these days?)

My daughter keeps trying (and failing) to not procrastinate. She has every good intention of getting her homework done or doing her chores in a timely manner. But for some reason, she struggles still.

I’m trying to help her, to coach her in the fine art of productive citizenship, but I get frustrated with her actions (or lack thereof), not because I don’t understand, but because I understand oh-too-well this habit called procrastination

This bad habit.

Take my day, for instance. Today—today!—I had one priority: grade ten papers. I collected 40 papers from my students yesterday and brought them home from work thinking, ten papers is doable. I can manage to grade ten papers.

Especially since I had not one other thing on my calendar today.

But here’s the thing. I went for a walk this morning with a friend whom I haven’t seen in a while. Much needed—both the exercise and the time with my friend.

After that, I sorted laundry and took a shower. Seriously, both were also needed because have you seen my laundry pile?!
Suddenly, with those priorities out of the way (they really were priorities), I realized that I had to—HAD TO—get to Target. You see, we were completely out of trash bags. Not a trash bag to be had in our house this morning, and you know as well as I do that a household without trash bags is a household in mortal danger of crumbling completely.

So, to Target I ran.

But while I was walking out the front door, I realized that the mums I had purchased last Saturday still needed some attention. You know, black urns would really spruce up my front door. And some pumpkins!

I knew that just down the road from Target was my favorite nursery, so I took just a quick detour. It wouldn’t take long. Just to see how much the black urns would cost.

And the pumpkins.

(Can you believe that one of those urns, which isn’t even cast iron by the way, costs $129?? What a rip off!)

I sauntered over to their huge selection of pumpkins and gourds. Gourds? Why didn’t I think of that? I must take time to peruse their selection of gourds, you know, as long as I’m here.

Have you ever seen an apple gourd? They are so cool! Green, large, and looks like an apple. I considered for a few minutes whether I needed one of those next to my black urn.

I still hadn’t taken a gander at the pumpkins, but finally, a gorgeous display of “fairy tale” pumpkins caught my eye. These are the really cute, interesting-looking pumpkins that, apparently, look like Cinderella’s carriage. And cost as much, too!

Seriously? My favorite nursery just became my worst enemy. Might as well call them Shylock’s for the usury they’re charging.

I hightailed it out of there without buying a thing. But had a very pleasant half hour looking around.

Target was my destination today. Trash bags, remember?

Just get the bags and get home. You have papers to grade, Missy!

But the pumpkins had caught my imagination.

I knew that Trader Joe’s had sold them in the past, and for much less than the nursery, so I decided to head there just as soon as I finished at Target. Those pumpkins would sell out quickly, so I really, really needed to check today to see if they had them.

Priorities, remember?

I trekked to Trader Joe’s in the next town over, only to find that their fairy tale pumpkins had not come in yet. But, of course, I picked up a couple things I needed while I was in there.

After a morning of running around, I finally came home. First I unloaded my Target purchases—those groceries wouldn’t unload themselves, you know!

Next, I threw in another load of laundry.

Finally, I looked at my kitchen floor and decided that today—today!—was the day it needed to be cleaned. Which would involve, of course, moving all of the chairs and stools and rugs in order to sweep, then mop, the floors.

An hour later, my floors were shining like they did on the day they were put in!

It was 2:30 by this time, and the papers had not been touched.

Nor had I eaten any lunch yet. Lunch is important, right? Priorities. I couldn’t grade papers without a little sustenance.

I returned a phone call.

Julia called and needed a ride home from school.

And still, those papers sat, ungraded.

My day has now been wasted frittered away very productive. I have clean, shiny floors, and my daughter is safely home from school, working on her homework, trying hard not to procrastinate, because we all know that procrastination is bad.

Best of all, I now have trash bags.



  1. Oh how I can relate to this post at every level!!!

  2. Well said, Shelly. I must admit, I love a day where I see a need and can get it done based on my inclination at the time. colette

  3. Perfect balance! Now on to those papers.....Mum

  4. You have captured me perfectly! Why is it that when I have something I MUST get done, my eyes are suddenly opened to all the things that need to be done, that were probably the victims of prior days procrastination?! Thank you for the reminders about the very real issues surrounding this habit!

  5. My brain at! But my "procrastination productivity" is not nearly as fulfilling as yours since I have toddlers under foot. One day I'll procrastinate better! Or not!

  6. Sounds like a fun day to me ... but I don't have papers to grade.:)