procrastinationI’m a big procrastinator. Don’t believe me? This post was supposed to be done hours ago and I’m only getting to it now. I’m also lazy. So lazy that on more than one occasion I’ve sprayed myself with Febreze instead of taking a shower or at least change into a fresh T-shirt (I’m not proud of it).

Most people don’t recognize the difference between procrastination and laziness. One can procrastinate without being lazy (doing everything else instead of the really important work you’re blowing off) and you can be lazy while never procrastinating (you always make your deadline, the scant few that you have). I’m cursed with both and the two seem to work well together. I’d totally get to work on this project which I’ve been putting off for a couple weeks, but I’d rather just lay on my couch and watch that episode of House I’ve already seen a couple times (It’s Lupus, you fools!).

To be fair, it’s not like I just freeze up and never get anything down. There’s usually a manic filled all-nighter to get something in on time, and I always swear that it’s the last time. It’s one of the most horrible feelings—to be up against a deadline that you wanted to make and very easily could have, but it just never happened. You feel hollowed out by self-hate. The only thing that is holding me from accomplishing my goals is…me. God, the number of times that I’ve wished for a time machine to go back in and scream at myself to get off my lazy ass. And maybe watch the Roswell UFO crash, cause if you have a time machine you might as well do something cool—but I’m getting off topic.

I’ve tried numerous times to conquer my dueling faults over the years. Date books and personal organizers with just the first few pages filled up, constantly updated to-do lists that end up with “redo to-do list” at the top (before I chuck them), and I own more than a couple self-help books on organizing and self-motivation. It actually takes a lot of effort to be this lazy and procrastinate this much. I wonder how I ever got anything done at all.

Where does it come from? This urge to shirk our responsibilities to a later date. Procrastination seems to be a fairly modern condition. The notion that our ancestors suffered from it is doubtful. If cavemen kept putting off finding shelter or hunting and gathering for food then they would have died off and we wouldn’t exist. It’s also hard to imagine early pioneers and settlers deciding the chores around the homestead could wait till tomorrow. It could be because they had nothing better to do, no constant diversions. It’s not like there was anything equivalent to cable TV or in the caves. There’s so much instant entertainment out there, it’s all too tempting. Or maybe it’s because we as a society have crossed the point of no return for comfort. There are no more dire consequences in everyday contemporary America—so what if the term paper doesn’t get turned in on time, it’s not like you’ll starve. Meanwhile back on the prairie, if Pa Ingalls didn’t get that well finished than his family wouldn’t have any fresh water to drink (that’s a Little House on the Prairie reference, in case you didn’t catch it).

Or maybe it’s just that I spend all my time making excuses. That it doesn’t matter if there’s too many distractions or not severe enough consequences. What matters is just biting the bullet and getting your shit done. Maybe that’s what separates people who accomplish their goals and people who don’t, the willingness to do what needs to be done in a timely manner. Yeah, maybe that’s it. I’ll think about it…tomorrow.