Thursday, July 3, 2008

She Who Procrastinates...

I'm sure there are a lot of ways one could finish that sentence. For now, let's just say I'm living to rue my own procrastination habit. Or reaping what I've sown. Or something like that. I'll look it up later...

You see, I am one of those people who chronically, habitually, dogmatically, religiously, emphatically puts things off. Just about anything qualifies for this treatment, but especially anything I don't particularly relish doing. From putting dishes into the sink (instead of directly into the dishwasher), to postponing putting away clean laundry (I mean, really - I'm going to wear it again this week; do I really need to take it all the way upstairs??), to washing my car (last wash and wax was in September...of 2006...).

One of my favorite sayings is that little gem that goes "I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by!"

My wonderful mother has spent entire years of her life on this earth trying to teach me the wisdom of not putting things off. When I had a school project due in six weeks, she'd start the day I brought it home. Telling me I needed to break it into bite size pieces, do fifteen or twenty minutes a day, that kind of wonderful, organized, sensible method of project management. However, my typical response to any deadline is exemplified by an overview of our 7th grade Geography project.

Bear in mind, this particular project was assigned over a span of months. I'm not kidding you. The deal was we had to collect at least 75 newspaper or magazine articles from different cities worldwide (I would live to hate that very number). I.e., the geographical location (can't remember what this is properly called in a news article byline) had to be different for each piece. There was a quota assigned for each continent, maybe say sixteen articles had to come from the African continent or something like that. And you could only have a couple from the same country, etc. In other words, there were rules.

Now, this was back in the dark, scary stone ages good old days before the internet. Before a timely email, with a bunch of news article links from friends around the world, could save your little 7th grade hiney from certain doom. And really, my family didn't subscribe to a bunch of newspapers. So my mom had to buy a subscription to our local paper, the Washington Post and the NY Times. Or at least, I'm pretty sure that's what she would have done, if I had told her about this little project at any point prior to the weekend before it was due. She's a great mom that way.

But since I did not, in fact, actually inform her about this project, she didn't know until Friday night (it was due on a Monday; that much I remember clearly). When she found out, I remember she actually wished me luck. And laughed, and said "Honey, I don't know exactly what miracle you think I can pull off in 48 hours here, but I suggest you call your father" (as it happened, Dad did subscribe to a bunch of different periodicals and papers).

And the rest of that weekend is pretty much a blur. Finding the articles themselves was only half the problem (if, indeed, that much). The larger issue was that we were to write a summary of several facts about the country, city or state of origin. No duplicates allowed. We had to include a certain number of facts which could be anything from population, weather patterns, primary exports, etc. etc. etc. And I'm sure that the idea was very sound. In fact, some of you homeschoolers are probably wearing evil grins right about now. And I'm sure that other children, whose parents knew and thus forced them to stay on track with this project, probably learned a lot. For me, however, that weekend pretty much stands out as one big blur in my mind. A blur of frantic scanning through stacks of papers and magazines (can't remember where we got these at that point), slashing of scissors or just plain tearing things out of pages, hateful newsprint everywhere, scotch tape on every surface and me pulling my first TWO consecutive all-nighters. Ever. And I wish I could say that's the last time I ever pulled 48 hours straight. But I can't...

Anyway, what stands out in my mind is an incredible amount of very hasty research and sloppy handwritten summaries (75 of them, remember) of random facts and figures from all over the place. Annual coffee exports from Colombia, popular sports in Iceland, the topography of Ethiopia, the birth and death rates in China, and lots of other random tidbits that now escape me completely (as you can see, I really must have learned a LOT!) One might have thought I would have learned a valuable lesson from this experience. Alas, not so!

So all of this is to say that I do not exactly excel in the areas of personal/home organization and accomplishment. Now I do want to add a caveat: At work, I am incredibly organized and efficient. That's not my problem. I am GREAT and diligent about managing my outside-the-home tasks. It's when I get home that tasks get away from me. They run away for a while and hide, and then they suddenly jump out and all attack me at once.

Which brings me back to the present. At present, I am writing this instead of doing any of the 804 things that would actually relieve some of my self-induced stress going into this weekend. I could be doing something productive, but instead I'm writing to all of you. Which I adore doing, but doesn't exactly help get my house ready for company. LOL!

Anyway, I have a word of advice for all y'all Others Who Procrastinate. DON'T put it off. Whatever it is, just DON'T. Because here's what comes to She Who Procrastinates:

(1) She will, without fail, promptly get sick before She is about to have company and go on a week-long staycation.

(2) She will, in fact, do this spectacularly and actually get sick well in advance of the last few days at work, where she would normally accomplish a task list of lovely year-end items.

(3) When She gets sick, She will begin to do so over the prior weekend, effectively removing it as a tool for getting anything (including visit home with family for happy event) done.

(4) The loss of that time window will pile on more stress for the upcoming week, so that She gets sicker, struggling through hateful Year End Monday and just hoping to survive rest of week.

(5) By Wednesday afternoon, She Who Procrastinates can be found curled up in bed with fever at 1 PM, sleeping deeply till 4:15. At this point, plans for even upcoming weekend look iffy.

(6) Thankfully, She will be feeling at least more functional by day before holiday, just in time to get even more slammed at work. Of course, because rest of world has ALSO procrastinated, wave of work does not arrive until 3 pm in current time zone. Generators of last-minute work wave, cheerfully living in land of earlier time zone, do not really understand the logistical problem created thereby.

(7) She will at this point begin to wonder if it might, just possibly, be a good idea to start just a few things early. (But it's difficult to imagine how this might work, without any real life experience to go on.)

(8) So now we find our heroine, in a last ditch effort to get something done before guests arrive...yep, you guessed it...

(9) BLOGGING about it. Because you know what? She Who Procrastinates NEVER procrastinates Blogging!!! She does, after all, have priorities firmly in place!

And now, I should really go make a grocery list for this weekend. (Or maybe I'll do it later...)

Love, Dahrlin'


Missy said...

oh my goodness, i had completely forgotten about that project, but it all came flooding back! too funny...

Michelle said...

Angela, I am so with you on the procrastinating. I actually figured out that it's BECAUSE I'm so organized and efficient that I procrastinate. If I weren't, I couldn't pull off the procrastination.

But I hate it when people don't put dishes in the dishwasher. Sink BAD. Apparently we really are two different people ;)

I think I did hear you tell me that sending out emails (including to the East Coast from Chicago) at 3pm with a request to respond by Monday am wasn't the nicest thing for me to do? Oops. Really, it couldn't be helped.

And I DO hope you're feeling better soon... btw, quesadillas are cooking as I type! Can't wait for dinner!

Angela said...

LOL Michelle! You're right - I never thought of it that way! I'm organized so that I CAN procrastinate! Love it! :-)

And thanks for the get well wishes! I'm feeling lots better today and only regretting that I can't kick off my vacation with a cocktail. For some reason alcohol depresses my immune system, so I'm going to give it another day.

Have a GREAT Fourth! And let me know how the quesos turn out!

Angie said...

Ok, since we already know that we are 2 halves of the same brain, I don't need to reiterate that this post had me writen all over it. At the moment, I'm procrastinating going to bed, even though I'm exhausted and bleary eyed. Nothing keeps a good blogger down! Enjoy your company this weekend and I know you'll get all your stuff done. Because you're wonder woman. :-) Luv ya!

Angela said...

Angie -
Get thee to sleep! I know you've got to be more exhausted than I am and that's hard to do today. I'm still not full steam. I'm off to bed myself. Hugs and prayers for the whole Chloe situation.

Connordog said...

I feel your pain! Having just been sick and trying to get a lot of stuff done, it just doesn't WORK! ARGH!

Angela said...

Steph, I hope you are feeling much better! The fourth pictures of Reilly are adorable. Hope you got to enjoy the weekend.

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