Joburg Expat: I Procrastinate. And I'm GOOD at it!

November 6, 2014

I Procrastinate. And I'm GOOD at it!

I'll come right out and admit it. I'm a procrastinator.

This frequently gets me into hot water with Noisette, who is rather the opposite. He likes to get started so early on things that we often have to climb over mountains of clothes in our bedroom that he has piled in neat stacks two weeks prior to an upcoming travel date.

I'm not kidding. Two weeks!

Don't get me wrong. I don't like being behind on things. You get that terrible pit in your stomach when you're running late or an impossible deadline is looming, and  you curse yourself for waiting so long. You wow, by all that you hold dear, to never ever do it again to yourself. Yet the next deadline approaches, and you find yourself on the same exact track once again.

Why do we do it?

Because procrastination is a model of efficiency, that's why.

Also, there is another reason waiting till the last minute works: Some items just take care of themselves, because you waited too long. If there's one thing I have learned in my life, it is that the world will continue to turn, with or without you. Most things we fret over aren't life threatening and the Earth will not spin off its axle when we fail to accomplish them in time.

Procrastinate, people! It works!

Moving is a perfectly fine example. Back in December of 2012, when we were moving from South Africa back to the United States, I'd had the date the packers were going to arrive on my calendar for months. And for months I was busy doing things that were most decidedly not on my moving checklist.

Writing this blog.
Going to goodbye parties.
Squeezing in last-minute exotic trips.
Riding in a cycle race.
Climbing the world's highest free-standing mountain.

But finally, when there was no escaping the fact that the following week some guys would invade our house and put everything in boxes whether I wanted to or not, I sprang into high gear.

I sorted through school clothes to be sold or donated.
I sorted through 220V appliances and placed for-sale ads for them.
I wrote an advertisement for our domestic helper who'd soon be looking for a job.
I cleaned out three years worth of "stuff" from the girls' room, some of it to be donated, some of it to be thrown away, all in the dead of night lest they caught me at it and threw a fit.
I started collecting items for our suitcases (including the suitcases) in a separate room, one that I could lock so that the packers would leave it alone.
I put together all our bottles of alcohol to be given away (or get senselessly drunk on, I wasn't sure yet).
I selected and ordered rental furniture.
I researched and booked a carpet cleaning company.
I went to Amatuli to buy all the drums and spears and buffalo heads and all the other African crafts we wanted to take home with us.
I went by all the doctor's offices to collect our records.
I ordered several cases of Chardonnay from Franschhoek.

I did a lot more, but I'll end on the one with the Chardonnay. Priorities. Also, you get the point. The point is, I kicked into high gear when I really needed to, and I got a bazillion things checked off in a minimal amount of time, things I would have needed 3 years to do had I done them at regular speed.

Desperation makes you work super hard. You know, like when that lion is approaching and you can suddenly jump 4 meters high into the next tree. That's how I roll when I run out of time. I develop superhuman efficiency.

The reason we procrastinators procrastinate is because it works.

Now excuse me while I nag my daugher to clean up her room. And please don't tell her anything I just said about procrastination.

If you're not a procrastinator, learn how to become one from my kids. They're experts!