Procrastination is a wonderful thing. I can sit in one place yet travel to unknown worlds before coming down to earth and my to do list. It provides time for being completely slack, yet also time for thought, meditation. I often find myself working on useful tasks I stumble upon that are not on the day’s schedule.
For instance, I’m supposed to be writing an essay for a critique group tomorrow night. I love attending this group. The women are fun and smart and we share a common interest, writing. I’d love to show up with some funny yet thought-provoking piece bulging with the wonders and perks of life and aging. I wonder if I would age more gracefully in outer space. Captain Kirk and his crew never aged so perhaps the lack of sunlight and gravity is the youthful secret. Well there I go, letting my mind wander into space when I should be productive.
Now here’s where the procrastination comes in. I’ve been at this desk for several hours and just started writing. I have, however, spent those hours in other enjoyable activities. I have discovered some fabulous treasures in long lost files. My husband massaged my shoulders, and later, I gazed out my window watching him string-trim along the brown picket fence in the back yard. There’s nothing better than watching other people be productive and reaping the benefits of that productivity. But back to the subject of procrastination.
The large picture window in my office is meant to calm and inspire me to write, since that is what I enjoy doing. Or so I say. I tend to get sidetracked without even realizing it is happening. The view of each colorful Charlotte season calms me so much, that I forget to write. I watch the madcap squirrels swirl round and round the mulberry trees. Not bush, ours are massive trees full of berries that fall on our old wooden deck, paved circle driveway, and lush, clover-tinged grass so our feet and shoes are purple-stained. My taller-than-tall, teenaged boys in their waffle-soled track shoes take the shoe title seriously tracking those yummy little fruits all through the house. Ah, the joys of cleaning house. But I digress; back to the subject of procrastination.
Beneath my bought-for-writing desk, I stubbed my toe on my stylish World Market file basket and curiosity led me to peek through the files. Oh my-lanta! It was a goldmine of files labeled “miscellaneous keepables” saved to inspire my writing obsession. There were jokes, essays, newspaper clippings, and workshop materials from my former counselor, seminar facilitator days. Too good to shove further from my feet, I spent at least two of my designated writing-hours reading and dreaming of ways to use the precious materials. Procrastinating or creating? I’ll call it research.
My southern, hometown newspaper is juicier than the latest bestseller. Lucky for me, I saved some hilarious articles for future use. I also found funny and inspirational posters and enough handouts and icebreaker quizzes to start as early as next week, holding fun-filled, thought-provoking workshops on parenting, teaching, or aging. All I needed was a group of people ready to be facilitated. There were files of speech topics galore and oodles of slides to enlarge on an overhead projector if anybody still owned such an antiquated piece of technology. We had one, of course, since salvaging history is a family trait.
What a divine twist of fate that I vacuumed under my desk and pushed that long-ignored basket into my foot’s personal space. In that snazzy wicker basket beside my flip flop clad feet, my choice of new careers wait patiently to meet the world. Who knows what other undiscovered adventure awaits.
The right side of the monitor screen shows only thirty minutes remaining of the three, set-aside, time-to write hours. I put aside procrastination and made a decision. I decided to write an essay on the only thing that made sense. This! The power of proper and productive procrastination. I realize I haven’t completed the one thing I planned to accomplish today before watching my kids’ four-hour track and field meet. Hurdles, High Jump and Triple jump, here I come.
I raised my endorphins by reading priceless miscellaneous keepables and stimulated sleeping brain cells with new ideas for even better essays. I can hardly wait to read my future masterpieces. Productive procrastination may be my new goal. To go boldly into preserved treasure that looks like clutter to everyone but me. I repeat, to boldly go where no man has gone before. To forge ahead into the dozens of forgotten files and piles lounging in cabinets throughout the galaxy I call my office. Unexplored planets of paper await. Beam me up Scotty.
Writers Log, March 22, 2012:
Another plus about all this procrastination, the laundry I started hours ago, is still resting in the washer and dryer and the world did not end. I do hope there are no track uniforms in the washer. If so, the kids will have to hop, drip and jump.
Writer’s Log May 30, 2014
Notice I’m finally doing something with this essay after more than two years. Our kids are no longer in track but are still tracking in mulberries as are the dogs. And I am still procrastinating.
By Lisa Batten Kunkleman