I woke up this morning to a beautiful day and, immediately, my heart began to pound furiously. The list of things I (thought) I had to do swarmed my brain, clouding out the sun, the warm brick and the deep blue August sky. It’s Sunday for god’s sake!
I tried to get a hold on my thoughts. I attempted deep yogic breathing. Nothing. I visualized all the cares and worries evaporating up into the clouds. Nope. I thought of myself as a calm figure in the midst of my swirling thoughts, not trying to grab them, just letting them pass by. Still no success.
My husband was still asleep, his breathing deep and restful. Somehow, I rode the waves of his calm and fell asleep again.
Half an hour later, we both woke up and my heart was no longer in panic mode, though the to do list was still top of mind. Still, right there was a lesson about procrastination and time management. Sometimes, it is effective to procrastinate and to do what you want instead of what you feel you should. At least I felt calmer.
I began listing off to my husband all the things I had to do: feed my friend’s cat, buy groceries, clean the house, mend my dress (which has been waiting to be mended for two weeks, another victim of my procrastination!), cover a corkboard and hang it in our son’s room, make granola…the list goes on. He looked at me as if what he was about to say was perfectly obvious: “other than feeding the cat, none of those other things need to be done. At least not today.”
Much like the dress, most of it I have put off for many days already. Some of my anxiety may come from the fact that the to do list is getting longer instead of shorter and I’m sure that I would feel a little better if I could cross some of those things off my list. On the other hand, my husband is right and if I do less than I feel I have to, I may just sink into the blissful kind of day that yesterday was.
It’s a cruel game time plays: I have lots to do and feel that the day will be too short to get it all done but if I do very little, the day will stretch out, long and luxurious. And so I sit here writing, breakfast dishes and ingredients for granola scattered about the kitchen. I will get to them eventually.
So, maybe procrastination isn’t all bad all the time. Maybe in some cases, it is not to be overcome, avoided or beaten, as almost every result of a Google search suggests. Maybe it is actually healthy and part of overcoming, avoiding and beating stress and anxiety. Those of us who try to do too much each day could learn a thing or two from procrastinating. Why do today what I can put off until tomorrow? I am going to try this approach to put my to do list into perspective.
And, really, who isn’t looking for a great reason to procrastinate?