Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Accomplishment by procrastination

This is not an original idea, actually. I heard the term "Accomplishment by procrastination" a long time ago, and I've totally forgotten where. But the idea stuck with me, and still tickles me with its truth and wisdom.
I am a procrastinator, and Mom, if you are reading this, please stop laughing and sit down, you're going to fall over. So anyway, as I was saying, I procrastinate. I put off. I find excuses. I just am NOT in the mood today. In high school, it was entirely normal for me to do a term paper in the last two days, and if I got a B I was good with that. Well, I was pretty good at faking things, and not a bad writer. So when I heard  a humorist on a morning show, talk about Accomplishment by Procrastination, I though "I have to hear about this...it could change my life!"
The idea is that you can get a LOT done by avoiding the really big, ugly chore you just don't want to face, especially without fortification (chocolate, folks! What did you think?) This is a concept I could seriously relate to. I mean, I didn't know that this was what I was doing, but it made sense. I absolutely abhor washing windows, so I will start out by cleaning the counter because I need to do that first so I can find the cleaning supplies and have a place to put everything. Then I have to make my bed, because you do that anyway, right? And recycle papers, and maybe even get some laundry done, because I'm going down to the basement to find some good clean rags to wash windows with, and that laundry won't walk itself down the stairs (though my daughter enjoys that I often throw sheets and pillowcases down the stairs to be washed...)
So you see my method.
Mopping the kitchen? Can't really do that until you vacuum the floor, and you really have to dust first, and then you have to pick up all the magazines and papers, and in the meantime there's a basket of crocheting that I've neglected and it seems like a really nice evening (because by the time I've accomplished all the other things in order to avoid mopping, it is evening) to sit and crochet.
Another form of the technique is Relay-Cleaning Avoidance. This is a fine art. When you start straightening up the living room, you find a book you have been reading, so you hold that so you can take it back into the bedroom. Meanwhile, you find extra pens and pencils from doing crosswords (no, I don't do crosswords with a pen) and some stuff on the dining table that goes back to the kitchen. So, loaded down with these things, I relay them into their appropriate rooms, ending up in the bedroom. There I find a stack of paper from the printer, including recipes I've found, craft ideas I could use either here or art ideas I could teach at school, a pair of my daughter's shoes, a coffee cup from yesterday, and so on. Laden with all these items, I trundle back across the house, to land lastly in Lindsay's room. There I simply shut my eyes and sigh.
But there is a little pile of dirty clothes neatly mounded in the middle of the floor. Okay, this once I'll pick them up and put them in the laundry. After all, I'm doing the laundry, aren't I? Oh, wait, no, I'm cleaning the living room....oh whatever. It seems to get done eventually.
Except the mopping.


  1. I have to have a basket to dump all the "this doesn't belong in this room" stuff in as I clean or I never get anything done. I'm with ya!

  2. lol. I think this is my favorite post of yours.