Do you have unpacked moving boxes from a move a year ago and every time you see them they scream “Unpack us now!” Do you beat yourself up for procrastinating? If you do, you’ll feel way better about your procrastination when you read what Judith Robinson, a longtime SHE (Sidetracked Home Executive) had to say.
She began her email to me with this:
Our New Year has begun with enough challenges to remind us we are alive. Once those challenges end, I suppose we will not be. I hope your entry into the New Year has been an easy slide.
Procrastination: A Fascinating Aptitude
By Judith Robinson
I’d no sooner shuffled my youngest child off to pre-school than I was sniffing around for a way to avoid unpacking the moving crates stacked floor to ceiling in our breakfast room. Being a creative procrastinator, I decided to go to college.
There are those of us inclined to procrastinate to the max. We find those Big Bold Life Changing Decisions a convenient means to an end. That end being putting off doing what needs to be done right now. Returning to college is, for most, the result of a well thought-out plan. The same as for, oh, let’s say…. Marriage.
Talk about sidetracked, that’s how I’d procrastinated my first round with college. Instead of finishing that Bachelor’s degree, I married this tall, handsome guy who said I had great legs. Whatever happened to those legs, anyway? (Note to self: look for legs). (Still have the guy.)
The Fire Hose Principle
Early on I’d adopted the fire hose principle as a way of life, rushing from blaze to blaze, putting out the fires that occur when life is laced with disorganization. It was one drama after another: Out of groceries? Quick, run to the store. Hungry? Time to cook. No clean clothes? A spritz of hairspray. (You read that right.)
I was to discover college admissions people take a somewhat different approach. They are real sticklers for things like plans, schedules, dates and accuracy. The ones I ran into had not one iota of humor about peanut butter and jelly residue on papers of record.
They insisted checks be signed in ink. And the Registrar, God bless her, received a transcript from my former college indicating “Judith Robinson” had graduated cum laude no less! Ahem: that smarty pants Judith Robinson and I did share a name (after I’d married). A simple mistake: I’d failed to request my records by the name under which I had been enrolled…my maiden name.
Cowered by the college admissions process, I slunk back to my unpacked boxes for a pout. (Pouting: another excellent procrastination tactic.) My comfort zone rested with the PTA crowd. I was copy queen of the ditto machine. (Ask your mothers.) Put me in a Sears and Roebuck (again, Mom will know) with a plastic charge card in my pocketbook (yes, that’s what we called them) and I was a hot-shot family purchasing agent. But, a college campus?
Once again, I’d jumped too soon, and into water over my head, with no preparation. But….I find we SHE’s a determined bunch. And proud. And creative. We may have to fake it, but we’ll find a way to make it. And that is exactly what I did.
At the bottom of a clean sheet of paper pulled from a ragged spiral notebook, (Note: the spiral had been packed and transported to a new city instead of tossed.) I printed “SCHOOL – ME.”(note: I did not write “finish school”). Yellow crayon tends to be difficult to read, so back to the cigar box I went. Fishing through unsharpened pencils, chewed erasers, toddler scissors, a set of keys for our old house, I found a broken blue – good enough. A list of random tasks in random order threatened to take over the whole page before I’d run out of items.
My “plan” was to strike through each item as I did it. Not a bad start for a woman who flew both blind and by the seat of her pants. I wish I’d had the SHE methodology back then. Each of those random items would have found a home on its own 3x5 card. Each card would bear a “start by” and “due by” date. That stack of cards would have been shuffled into order and tossed once completed. (Unlikely tossed.)
The valid transcript finally appeared, and I was admitted to our local community college. If you recall my earlier reference to putting out fires, you know I needed a manageable course load: three classes that semester. And if you remember the degree to which I was totally intimidated by this whole process, you will not be in the least surprised to learn that all three classes were broadcast on our educational television channel.
I could watch them in my jammies.
Hey! A bite of the proverbial elephant is a bite.
©2016 Judith A. Robinson
If you'd like to change your procrastinating ways, this blog will give you some tips:
What are you going to put off today?