I have to admit to you, my loyal readers: I have a little problem with procrastination. You could even say I have a little problem with perendination. I thought I could outrun it by racing through my wardrobe as quickly as I could at the beginning of the summer, but then I went and bought such beautiful pieces as… Autumn Tendrils!
Let’s take a moment to admire the tiny belt loops…
the neckline that refuses to be a neckline…
the pattern that I think was used to represent hair on some Seventies LP cover…
and that burnt umber—or is it burnt sienna?—lining.
The tiny belt loops, in particular, won my heart. I had to buy a tiny belt to slip through them, and of course Another Man’s Treasure had just the thing—could you doubt that for even a second?
(Yes, Autumn Tendrils was part of the haul from that Best Shopping Day Ever back in August that I’m still working my way through.)
But even Autumn Tendrils couldn’t fight the demon Procrastination (so much more insidious than the demon Alcohol). Why is it that, even though I love Dressopotamia, these last few posts are so hard to get out?
Things I procrastinate about:
-buying a new needle for my sewing machine
-making doctor’s appointments (my ailments usually go away on their own, eventually)
-putting away clean clothes
-sewing buttons back on (this takes literally five minutes, why can't I bring myself to do it?)
-reading the New Yorker
-making and returning phone calls
-doing the dishes
-dusting (as Quentin Crisp once pointed out, “After three years, the dust doesn’t get any worse.”)
-writing cards and letters
-buying new boots (I like to wait until my boots are literally falling off my feet)
-getting the flu shot (I will say this: last year was the first year I got the flu shot, and also the first time in 15 years that I came down with the flu)
-watching intellectual/subtitled/depressing DVDs I get from Netflix
-RSVPing “no” to parties
Things I don’t procrastinate about:
-actual work at my actual job (phew, right?)
-saving for retirement
-watching dumb movies I get from Netflix
-RSVPing “yes” to parties
And... that might be it. One friend said, "You don't procrastinate about visiting people in the hospital!" but that's not really the same thing, is it? If you don't go right away, they might get discharged early, and then you're the person who didn't bother to visit them in the hospital at all. It's not the same thing as dusting.
I actually read a self-help book to learn to stop procrastinating; it was interesting, but maybe not entirely applicable to my life. The author suggested carving the different areas of your life into different sections, setting goals for each section, and then scheduling your time so that every hour of the day is geared toward helping you achieve those goals.
So, why do I procrastinate? One friend said it's because I am a perfectionist, and I can't bear the thought of the finished product not being as nice as my original idea. I think she may have actually been talking about herself.
I think it's much simpler than that: I imagine things to be much more onerous or time-consuming than they actually turn out to be, and I prefer to do things that are easy (mainlining shows on Netflix Streaming) than things that are hard (getting my driver's license). In fact, I avoid even thinking about things that are hard.
The solution, I have found, is simple but also dull: make a to-do list, assign each task a time, and set an alarm. When the alarm goes off, set a timer for 25 minutes and work nonstop on whatever you've got slotted. No Internet until the alarm goes off again.
Et voilà, you are now a responsible, highly functioning individual! I don't know how this will make you watch that Iranian movie about rock bands instead of that Bradley Cooper movie about a drug that makes you a supergenius, but at least you're making progress on your queue, right?
Now I just have to sit down and make that schedule already...
All photos by Claire Loeb!