Thursday, December 01, 2005

Procrastination Street

I have recently had some additional responsibilities fall into my lap. The brief and tactful summary of this situation is as follows: I am currently vice-president of a non-profit volunteer group that promotes Welsh language in North America. I'm also helping organize its annual conference for 2006, which will take place in Stockton, CA. The current president called me last night to tell me that his father had a stroke and he will, understandably, be unable to make the group a priority for the time being. The situation is, of course, more complicated than that, but that's the gist. Hence the additional responsibilities.

Apparently what I do when faced with additional responsibilities is a) create a very organized and prioritized to-do list, and b) procrastinate. So I hereby present A. Fortis's Top Ten Ways to Procrastinate (in no particular order):

10. Blogging. Like this. (In fact, this seems awfully familiar. Have I done this top ten list before? No, really--I can't remember, and Blogger's search function is totally unhelpful.)
9. E-mailing. I always have several unanswered e-mails to attend to, as I'm sure some of you are fully aware.
8. Reading. Since I'm a writer, I'm good at convincing myself it's research. Plus, the cat likes to sit on my lap, and then I'm too warm and cozy to move her.
7. Burning CD Mixes. Yeah, I know, that's a totally high-school way to procrastinate. But it works. I might use that one tonight.
6. Making To-Do Lists. It's like I'm being productive. Kind of.
5. Cooking/Baking. Again, I feel like I'm doing something useful and so the guilt just melts away.
4. Doing Crossword Puzzles. I don't always take advantage of this one. But I spent like an entire week earlier this month doing a Sudoku puzzle from the Sunday Datebook. (And I finished the damn thing, damn it!)
3. Exercising a Poor Attitude. This category includes all the various species of stressing out, moping, having anxiety attacks, complaining, being fatalistic, and so forth.
2. Watching Television. I watch way more TV than is justified by the sheer amount of stuff I have to get done.
1. Running Errands. Granted, this is a different form of work, but it keeps me from getting other types of work done, the type that requires me to sit for long periods of time and think or type or paint.

You may notice that there are several potential procrastination activities missing from this list. They are not there because I am most likely not spending enough time doing them to merit them being rated procrastination activities. Now they've just become back-burner occasional items, like studying Welsh, or required-but-not-worth-mentioning items, like housecleaning. On that note, I was watching a documentary earlier this week about J.K. Rowling (see #2 above) and she revealed the secret of how she managed to write a book as a single mother raising a small child: she lived in squalor. This made me feel a whole lot better about, say, failing to fold the clean laundry until I actually need the baskets again for the dirty laundry. Next time anybody hassles me about keeping house I'm going to tell them that. And, with a great sigh, I shall hereby interrupt my procrastination with some actual productivity.

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