Sounds Like A Plan

Oct 02

The Art of Procrastination

You gotta have a plan, or you’ll never be able to procrastinate in peace.

Say you really don’t want to see that exhibit at the museum, the one everyone says you absolutely must see.  Here’s what you do: write it down in your date book with as much sincerity as you can muster. When you get to that day  — make it far enough in advance so that lots of things can crop up — you almost certainly will be busy with other, more urgent things. But you can say with a straight face that you were planning to go and had to miss it.

As Stuart Smiley would say, you “should” all over yourself about lots of things: movies you should see, hikes you should take, goodies you should bake.

If you don’t have a plan, these “shoulds” can nag you incessantly, and your unconscious guilt could bubble up to the surface. You might even find yourself blurting out something like, Why don’t we hit that show (or climb that mountain, or make those brownies) this weekend? But that’s okay if you say it it early in the week, like Monday. Anything after Wednesday is dicey. However, if pushed, promising to go the following weekend usually works. Indefinitely.

Are you getting the idea? As long as you have a plan, you can procrastinate forever.


But getting out of going to an exhibit is easy. Let’s look at something trickier: A Trip to Antarctica.

You might have read about this in that fancy travel magazine you get for “free” after paying some obscene amount for an American Express platinum card, which has now been eclipsed by a tonier black card, but who can keep track of these things.


Anyway, it seems that all the cool people, so to speak, are going to Antarctica . . .

You even met a woman at a party who specializes in tours there. Now, you like to travel as much as anyone, but Antarctica? It’s cold down there. Really cold. Okay, the penguins are cute, but come on. What happened to the year when everyone was going to Spain? Barcelona is sooo nice. You could plan a trip there and actually go. In fact, you should.

Meanwhile there’s thoughts of Antarctica, which, if left unchecked, could cost you your peace of mind. . .

Let’s face it, some part of you wants to take this trip to Penguinville. Why, besides the penguins? Because if you did, it really would be cool. Way cool. You might not be the very first kid on your block to trek to the pole (depends on your block), but it would put you way ahead of the curve. So if that’s important to you, and who doesn’t want to be in on the latest things, you must make a plan. Then you’re good to go, at least figuratively.

Don’t Do Anything Rash Anytime Soon

First, go online and find out when it’s the best time to travel there. If you’re lucky, it’s right now, because you can’t possibly go right now (one has to plan these things!) so you’d have a whole year to check on travel arrangements, wardrobe requirements, places to stay. Are there igloos there or what? Ski lodges? Do penguins ski? The thing is that you could procrastinate about this without guilt for a good long time, possibly until hell freezes over, and then you wouldn’t have to do a thing. No passports required to cross the River Styx.

Closer to home, suppose you have a project you know you should do, like fix up the den. If you just don’t do it, you’re doomed. The den is there, every day, with the cracking paint, and all those unread books and unplayed CDs staring you in the face, making you painfully aware of your sloth and indecision. This could lead to digression, depression, or worse. But if you have a plan, you’re home free. Hey, renovations cost money! Plans don’t.

Make a list of what needs to be done. Lists are good. Ask questions. What do other people do with their old music and paperbacks. Can you even donate this stuff? Instead of reading InStyle at the cheapie nail place, look at magazines that actually have style. They must have one somewhere in that pile of People and Us! Study the pictures of nice rooms and let that soak in. Then get some paint swatches from Benjamin Moore. Such classy colors they have.

Oh! Make a file. That really helps. If you cut out things and shove them into the file, you can easily put off this project for years, decades even, with just the slightest tinge of guilt.

And now, I have to stop procrastinating about the den, not to mention Antarctica, and begin writing my next blog. Well, not actually writing it. I have time. Really. I’ll just jot down a few notes, come up with a title, think about a photo . . .

Sounds like a plan.


And you? Have any tips for procrastinating in peace????

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