I admit it, I’m a procrastinator. A major, died in the wool, card-carrying, put-it-off-as-long-as-possible procrastinator. My motto appears to be “never do anything today that can be put off until tomorrow.” I’ve had this affliction all my life. I come from a long line of procrastinators. My daddy, rest his soul, was a procrastinator, as was his dad before him. I’m not quite sure why I took after daddy rather than momma, who was a get it done now type lady. The only excuse I can offer is that her “get it done now,” usually involved me doing something. I sometimes think my abhorrence of housework is rooted in that period of my life, of course, that could just be a convenient excuse for not doing housework that can patently be put off until later.

Over the years I’ve learned to deal with my affliction. Notice I’m careful not to say conquer, cure or get over it. No one ever gets over being a procrastinator. I am thoroughly convinced the affliction is genetic. We are not in control of the make up of our genetic disposition, so it is left for us to find ways to cope with the little foibles we inherit.

I’m a teacher. This requires massive amounts of work to be completed and recorded on time. It is not an easy feat for a true procrastinator. I learned to survive by making lists and following routines. I live by them.

My desks, both at school and home, are a study in organized chaos. No one can find anything there, but I know exactly which stack to look in for what I need. DO NOT touch my desk. Don’t try to organize me. Leave my clutter alone. Once my students cleaned my desk in a good natured attempt to be helpful, it was the beginning of the next school year before I found some of my paperwork!

Now I find myself with a dilemma. I have another request for a complete manuscript. I’ve written just over three chapters. I want to finish this manuscript quickly, yet I find my procrastination demons ruling when I need to lock them securely in the closet. Even now, I know they are running the show, because I’m writing this blog instead of working on my manuscript.

I’ve decided to try once again to turn over a new leaf and over-come the procrastinator gene! Baby steps, little by little. Tonight this blog, tomorrow chapter four.

What about you? Are you a procrastinator? If you are, how have you over come it? If you are one of those lucky over achiever gene people, please share with us how you motivate yourself to keep working.

19 comments

  1. Mary Marvella // August 27, 2009 at 12:05 AM  

    OMIGOD! I laughed at this. I'd delay breathing if I could get by with it. The last minute is my fave time to do anything.

    Scarlet, Pam and Linda have seen my house. They know about my dust bunny farm. My cobs party happily in their cobwebs. And no one messes with my dust mites.

    There is one flat surface in my house that doesn't hold piles of stuff. Alright 4, my fave chair and 2 toilets. Hmmm, there's one I never use, I could leave the top down and use it to .....

  2. Jianne Carlo // August 27, 2009 at 6:39 AM  

    I think no matter how organized and effiient we think someone else is, they procrastinate about something!

    For me, it's returning personal phone calls. I'm on conference calls at least twice a day and I'm not talking about short, one-hour jobs. No, these go on for hours.

    So when I'm finished work the last thing I want to do is call anyone, even my family.

    I'm working on correcting that.

    Jianne

  3. Judy // August 27, 2009 at 9:13 AM  

    Oh, boy! Am I going to sound annoying! I'm one of the A-type, plan my day, get up and get going kind of people. I do my best work in the morning and am a dud at writing at night. I have, however, taken to getting up later in the morning - a treat to myself and my characters because I can lay in bed and think how I'm going to handle the next few pages. But when you have a four-legged Dachshund alarm clock, you can't dawdle too long. Do you hate me? I hope not!!

  4. Pamela Varnado // August 27, 2009 at 1:46 PM  

    Scarlett, I didn't know you were so funny. Like you, I'm a procrastinator, though I hate it sooooo much. To overcome this major headache, I've started working from a To Do List. It helps me to get through the day.

    But lately, I'm been wondering if maybe I suffer from ADD instead of procrastinating. The symptoms are the same for both disorders. And best of all, I can take a pill to fix the ADD!!!!!!

  5. Mona Risk // August 27, 2009 at 2:41 PM  

    Scarlet, I am glad I have company in the procrastinting world, but I have valid excuses. Really. Now my desk looks messy only because my DH's desk right accross from mine is too neat. I told him it only proves that he's not half as busy as I am if he manages to keep his desk so organized and makes mine look messier. No fair.

  6. Mary Marvella // August 27, 2009 at 3:34 PM  

    I once saw a sign that said a neat desk is the sign of a Sick mind.

    Judy, I don't hate you for being organized. We need a few of you folks around.

  7. Scarlet Pumpernickel // August 27, 2009 at 4:31 PM  

    Hey Mary, it takes on to know one!

  8. Scarlet Pumpernickel // August 27, 2009 at 4:33 PM  

    Jianne, it makes me feel better to know there might be some things that others procrastinate about, even when they look super organized.

  9. Scarlet Pumpernickel // August 27, 2009 at 5:04 PM  

    Judy, I actually admire you and seek to emulate you organized state. There are even a few deluded souls who think I'm organized. Of course, they've never seen my desk!

  10. Scarlet Pumpernickel // August 27, 2009 at 5:05 PM  

    Pam, glad you liked the blog! I can be funny sometimes, when I let myself go and my inner vixen comes out!

  11. Scarlet Pumpernickel // August 27, 2009 at 5:09 PM  

    Mona, come on in, push that stack of files out of the chair into the floor with the rest of the crap beside my chair and make yourself comfortable! Birds of a feather and all that! You should just pile your junk mail on your hubby's desk since he obviously isn't using it or it would be messy like ours! Hehehe!

  12. Scarlet Pumpernickel // August 27, 2009 at 5:11 PM  

    Hey, everybody I'm working on a 10 step program to over come my affliction. Here's step one.

    1. Buy chocolate

    (Don't know how that's going to help the affliction, but it seem logical to me!)

  13. Lynne Roberts // August 27, 2009 at 5:43 PM  

    Congratulations on your requested manuscript!

    This post made me laugh. You are speaking my language. : ) Oh my, motivation is tough one for me. You see, I'm reading your blog instead of working on my chapter 5. ; )

    I have a daily planner. And now I use it. You see, I balance my procrastination with my easily guilted conscious and, so far, it seems to be working.

    Now I just have to not procrastinate about writing in the planner.

  14. Barbara Monajem // August 27, 2009 at 8:37 PM  

    I only procrastinate about things I'm uncomfortable doing, for whatever reason. (Like phone calls... I don't like phone calls much.) Some things should be put off until they're necessary, such as housework. I don't consider that procrastination -- it's just waiting until things are enough of a mess that I'll get a feeling of accomplishment from cleaning up. :)

    As far as writing is concerned, the more I do it, the more I enjoy it, and the less I procrastinate. However, what really helped me to write regularly was participating in one of the GRW writing challenges. Once I'd made a pledge, I felt obliged to keep it -- and that showed me how much I could get done if I made writing top priority.

    Write, Scarlett!!! You have a request for a full. Think of all the readers you'll be depriving if you don't send in that full and get it published!!

  15. Scarlet Pumpernickel // August 27, 2009 at 8:47 PM  

    Lynne, I have a planner that I use for school, last year I lost it in Feb. and was totally lost about what meetings I'd held and which hadn't! I found it crumpled in the bottom of my computer case at the end of school just in time to recreate my report of meetings held! This year when I lose it and I'm sure I will, the first place I'll look is the computer case. But of course it will be on the bottom of the last stack of papers I look through instead. I think I'll add my personal goals, i.e. writing to it as well. Great idea. Now where did I put that planner?

  16. Scarlet Pumpernickel // August 27, 2009 at 8:49 PM  

    Barbara I'm with you on the house work. Still working on the writing motivation. The writing challenge is a great idea. That's how I got the three chapters written. We did a challenge on the GRW forum. Maybe we should start one here!

  17. Scarlet Pumpernickel // August 27, 2009 at 8:49 PM  

    Step 2. Eat chocolate

  18. Mary Ricksen // August 27, 2009 at 9:43 PM  

    Are we related?

  19. Scarlet Pumpernickel // August 27, 2009 at 9:49 PM  

    Mary R. you know it!