Step 1 to ending procrastination: Admit there’s a problem. ... I’ll do that later

September 26, 2012 

I wrote this column at the last minute.

(And I’ll save you the the trouble: “Oh, you mean you don’t do that every time?”)

I’m ashamed to admit it, but I must be honest. I’m a procrastinator.

I’ve been in the game for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I just always thought that everything else was more fun than doing my schoolwork, so that’s what I did. The stakes rose in high school, but so did the hormones. When there was studying to be done, I just slept instead, or if I couldn’t, I was moody. Once I got to college there was Facebook, and all bets were off.

Most of the time, I got away with it, which only encouraged me to push my limits further. Parents, teachers and roommates lamented my poor study habits, which I acknowledged but ultimately ignored. And I made it through school, the only direct evidence of my problem being one or two papers turned in that didn’t quite end.

The thing is, though, somewhere along the line, “poor study habits” become ingrained as “legitimate character flaws.” And the longer you do regular business with procrastination, the harder it is to escape its lieutenant the Internet and crony Snooze Button.

Take, for instance, the many ways I put off writing this column, originally intended to discuss the Monday Night Football game in which the team I (minority) own had a victory stolen by replacement officials:

• Apoplectic about the football game, I resolve to write a column about it. Understanding I won’t be in a rational mind-set to do so, I spend the rest of the night reading about the game, further roiling my temper.

• Still upset after a night of sleep, I go for a run.

• I realize that nobody wants to read an angry sports rant. I do some cooking, all the while brainstorming subconsciously.

• I remember “Looper” comes out this week, a movie about time travel and meeting past/future versions of myself. It would be fun to talk to my past self and shouldn’t take too long to write. So instead of getting it out of the way, I listen to the new Mumford & Sons album.

• Snack break.

• I remember I already wrote a column where I go back into the past to talk with myself. I also remember that it’s my friend’s birthday, so I spend a half hour looking at pictures of the two of us on Facebook from the past seven years.

• Snack break.

• Out of ideas, a nap is in order. At 2 a.m.

• Snooze. Snooze. Snooze. Times 40.

• A quick trip to the Wikipedia page for the 1994 live-action adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” for the name of actor who played Mowgli reminds me that no, I don’t know anything about British imperialism in India and yes, it would be irresponsible not to take advantage of the wealth of information at my fingertips.

• I realize what I’ve just done and know I need to start writing. And about what other than one of my favorite demons? So there you have it, and here we are. Looks like I’ll get it in in time, too, which will only encourage

Editor’s note: Andy’s column was submitted without ending. What a shock.

Andy is well aware what procrastination is a lot like, as well as what, in the end, he’s doing to himself.

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