1.18.2011

In Real Life, I Am Not a Procrastinator

Here's my most recent article from Northside Woman ...

I am not a procrastinator. Really, I’m not. I relish finishing projects early and crossing them off my list with the swipe of a medium-point pen. I’m a planner, a scheduler, a regular Type-A, (some call it control freak) get-it-done type of girl.

But every winter, a strange sickness sweeps in with the bitter northern winds. The symptoms: a foul concoction of malaise, lack of motivation, and general dawdling. It’s the Procrastination Flu, and it’s been the bane of New Year’s Resolutions since the beginning of time.

Just while writing this article, I walked my dog (which he loathes), went shopping (which I loathe), checked Facebook (the Shangri-La for all who stall) and dashed off a few non-priority emails – all to avoid the inevitable deadline.

Like the seasonal flu, the Procrastination Flu follows a predictable pattern. A general hum-drum attitude settles in like a slacker relative. Then comes “I’ll do that tomorrow” fever, crushing fatigue relieved only with a heavy dose of reality television, and generalized weakness in all areas requiring discipline. Exercise? Nope. Errands? Not today. Effort of any sort? Eh, no thanks. Before you know it, your list of excuses to avoid your to-do list is as long the return line on Dec. 26.

I blame the craziness of the holiday season for weakening our defenses against Procrastination Flu. Let’s face it, many of us overexert in December: between shopping, baking, parties and travel, by the end of the year it’s a wonder more of us aren’t in a crumpled heap pulling bits of tinsel from our tangled hair while maniacally humming “Jingle Bell Rock.” By the time the New Year rolls around, we’re just too exhausted to do anything more than snuggle under a blanket and watch the new season of Glee.

Alas, few of us have the option of living a life of luxury where no action is required. Is there a cure for procrastination? Respite from the fever, the chills and the guilt from failing to make an appointment because you were catching up on “Jersey Shore?”

I know when I procrastinate, there’s an underlying cause for the illness – a virus of indecision, if you will. Maybe I don’t have everything I need to get started, I might need a bigger block of time to get something done, or perhaps the task is something I don’t like spending time on … but it’s something I must do.

A little scrutiny is like a Z-Pak for the procrastinator, and just getting started tends to be my miracle cure. Very often, the sense of accomplishment creates enough energy to push through that task list until I am officially a procrastinator no more.

So if you are waiting on someone (like me) to return a phone call, write a blog post, make an appointment or send an email, please be patient. We’re under the weather. But there’s some good news: progress is being made, and it looks like recovery is just around the corner. We’ll be back to our timely, Type-A selves before you know it.

And with that, I can cross this article off my list.

Amy M. Dawson is a writer, blogger and public relations strategist living in Atlanta. She doesn’t actually watch “Jersey Shore”, but knows people who do.

©2011 Amy McCormick Dawson

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