Procrastination and The Power of Tomorrow


Procrastination has always been an issue for me.  I tend to start a lot of projects and then not finish.  I actually started writing this particular blog months ago and then forgot about it, and I’m only going back to it now because I’m putting off something more pressing.  Years ago I purchased the Idiot’s Guide to Overcoming Procrastination and I never got around to reading it. In the first few pages it mentions the Procrastination Society of America and gives you a number you can call to join.  To my surprise some guy answered on what sounded like a home phone:
“Hello.”
“Hi, is this the Procrastination Society of America?”
“Yes, speaking.”
“So, how do I join?”
“You want to join?  You’re in.  Just need your address and we’ll put the membership info in the mail.”
“Okay …(address)…”
“Perfect, you’ll be hearing from us.”
“Great, thanks.”
“It may take a while…”
Fast forward to now and I never received anything.  I don’t know who that guy was, but he’s awesome.

The strangest part about procrastination, is that my brain continues to trick me into believing that I’ll actually be productive tomorrow.  It’s always tomorrow, and never today. Everything important in life is getting done tomorrow: finances, productivity, fitness, diet, taxes, social-consciousness, you name it, miscellaneous, etc.

I have something important to do and my brain goes, “Hey, you know what?  Tomorrow would be a perfect day to get cracking on those Turbo Tax forms,” and I say, “Yeah, good point brain,” and we high-five, and then I eat carrot cake.   In my experience carrot cake is the direct result of high-fiving your brain.

So then tomorrow comes, and now it’s today, and that’s a problem, because today is now, and now is always an issue.   At this very moment, I’m writing a blog, and right after that I need to eat lunch.  I mean, you have to eat lunch.  I can’t be running on the treadmill or doing my taxes while I’m eating lunch.  Tomorrow however, I have the entire day.  Tomorrow I have a sixteen hour window to TCB (yeah, take care of business).  I can do one hour at the gym, two hours on taxes, and two hours getting started on that novel.   That still leaves eleven more hours to get everything else done.  But today I have a seven hour drive back to New York, and let’s face it, you can’t get anything done while you’re driving – you have to listen to podcasts and stop at Chipotle.

What’s truly bizarre, is that my brain plays the same trick over and over, and I continue to fall for it.   You’d think I’d wise up and go, “Not this time brain! You said tomorrow yesterday, and today it’s the same thing as the day before yesterday!  Fool me once, shame on you, fool me every time forever, shame on me.

I’m also guilty of thinking that everything will be easier when I’m older.  There’s this illusion that when you’re older you’ll have more money, a nice house, plenty of free time to knock out that bucket list and start that charitable organization.   But the reality is when I’m actually old I’m gonna be like, “Ooooh, my bones hurt!” I’ll be in a nursing home reminiscing on the times when I had the energy to stay awake for more than forty-five minutes.

Procrastination probably follows you to your deathbed.
“Do you have any last words?
“Ooh, I sure hope there’s an afterlife so I can finally get started on this bucket list…”
“What was that Mr. Zimmerman?”
“My bones hurt… (incomprehensible mutters)…pigeon-crust…(death rattle)”
(checks pulse)
“He’s gone.”
“Make a note, his last words were ‘pigeon-crust’.”
“What does that mean?”
“Let’s come back to it tomorrow, right now I need a drink.”

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