In Defense of Procrastination

If there were twenty-eight hours in the day, what would you do with the extra four?  Would you spend it on work, family, or yourself?  Would you get more done, or maybe just—sleep?  I think most of us imagine we’d devote it to that project we want to take on but never seem to have time for—the one we’ve been procrastinating.

I disagree.  No matter how many hours are in a day, we’ll probably never get to that project unless we make it a priority.  Its not about procrastination, but prioritization.  In my case at least, the latter begets the former.  Let me explain.

I fully admit, one-hundred percent: I am a procrastinator.  That’s alright though, because I believe procrastination is the product of an intensely creative mind.  Procrastination has a terrible reputation, and it all starts with the definition per dictionary.com:

the act or habit of procrastinating, or putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention

This pretty much describes my life five days a week. I work at three in the afternoon, and typically get out of bed around nine in the morning.  To make it to work on time via public transportation I need to leave my house by two (two-fifteen if I’m feeling lucky).  Although I’m a writer, not a mathematician, even I can do this simple math.  That leaves me five hours in the morning to accomplish whatever it is I need to get done.

And yet, every single day I find myself diving into the shower at one-forty.  I frantically scrub down, shampoo and condition my hair, and then rush around the house in a towel, dripping all the way as I gather what I need for work.  I generally manage to clothe myself by one-fifty-seven, throw some food in my backpack, check three times that I’ve got everything I need, and dash out the door at two on the dot.  Usually this is when I realize I forgot to clean the kitchen, or take the trash out with me.  I remember I didn’t make the bed or fill the bird feeder.  I groan, because how could I be so stupid, but there isn’t time, so I run down the street to the bus stop just in time to catch the two-o-five bus.

Its stressful!  So. . . why?  What could I possibly be doing for five hours that I don’t make proper time to do such basic things as clean up around my house or bathe?!

Everything.

I’m doing everything else!  And I’m loving it!  Look, I’m an intense individual with an insatiable curiosity—a slave to the interest-du-jour.  In the past couple years I’ve gotten deeply involved in baking bread, making cheese, fermenting vegetables and alcohol, farming, iOS development, graphic design and photography, and probably a few other things I’m forgetting at the moment.  Add to this my enduring passions of writing (duh) and music, and my plate starts to look pretty full, right?  As gravy, add on time playing with my two cats, cooking, hiking, and relaxing with my husband, and all of a sudden maybe you understand why taking time to shower is such an imposition!

Alright, alright.  I think I know what you’re thinking.  Most of that is fun stuff, right?  A normal, balanced human being will get all the must-dos out of the way before even touching all this extra.  I should really give myself an hour everyday to get ready for work, clean up the house, and make sure I’m prepared for the day.  I should, and don’t get me wrong, I try to. . . 

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Revenge is better with a side of bacon. . . 

But what would I be missing out on if I always attended to the tasks requiring immediate attention?  There are some things I could live without.  Maybe I’d never have made that wheel of cheddar.  Perhaps I’d never have learned to tilt-shift in Photoshop.  But there are other things. . . What if I hadn’t had time to finish that novel I’m going to publish in a few months?  What if I didn’t have the time to dedicate to writing and growing this blog?

Prioritization, right?  The effect of prioritizing all my creative endeavors leaves me procrastinating all the little mundane things that are, unfortunately, a part of being a well-adjusted human being.

And lets be honest, if I never cleaned the kitchen, or took out the trash, or cleaned myself. . . that would be unforgivably selfish.  Everyone around me (my husband especially) would have to deal with what a royal mess I am.  Luckily, my husband chose a long time ago to love me intentionally, and every day I try to battle my procrastination so he’s not left dealing with all my shirked responsibilities.  I’m not perfect, and it really is a struggle, but I try.  Generally I get things done, just not. . . gracefully.

So what’s the moral?  The point?  Although my procrastinations lead to pressure and stress, the things I prioritize provide me with more than enough happiness to make up for it.  I guess, ultimately, I don’t need twenty-eight hours in a day, because it wouldn’t change anything; I’d still be rushing out the door at two, hoping I didn’t miss the bus.

Ultimately, while I don’t recommend taking it to my extreme, we’ve got time if we make time.  Do you really want to do that project?  Then do it!  Squeeze the must-dos in somewhere else.  You might feel rushed.  You could end up stressed.  But if you’re happier in the end, because you’re prioritizing what you want to do over what you have to do, then its absolutely worth it.

So what do you think?  Agree?  Disagree?  What is one thing you always put off until the last minute?  Let me know in the comments below.  Also, I’ll love you forever if you subscribe to this blog, or opt-in to my monthly mailing list (also below)

Thanks for reading!

Gregory

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Stef - April 4, 2017

I can relate. I’ve been doing yoga every morning before work since october. I love it….but I literally start getting ready for work 20 minutes before I have to leave! Those 20 minutes are stessful, but the benefits of doing yoga daily outweigh the stress.

Reply
    Gregory Josephs - April 4, 2017

    Wow Stef, I had no idea you were doing yoga every day. That’s awesome! Keep it up. Also, yes—the stress getting out the door is totally worth it if you can squeeze out the time to do something that betters yourself and makes you happy. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    Reply
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ruddjr - August 15, 2017

What I love about this is you write about the things that make you happy. It’s not about how much time we have but how one chooses to spend it.

Reply
    Gregory Josephs - August 15, 2017

    Aw, thanks. Yeah, I try to skew positive. Lovely to hear from you again. 😊

    Reply
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