of the fine art of productive procrastination

Martha Stewart has it down to an art form. On random Tuesdays in February she can find nothing else to do, apparently, than sharpen and oil her garden tools in anticipation of Spring. (I know this because I still love her monthly calendar.) Yet what if I told you that when she sits down to her sharpener there is a pile of ironing in her laundry room that would sink a canoe?

That may not be true, actually. Knowing our Martha, it probably isn’t. When she sits down (cardigan dangling, hair perfectly coiffed) we know it is because there is simply nothing else left to be done. For the rest of us, this situation is impossible.

I’m going to spill one of the best-kept secrets of the type-A personality: Despite all of our to-do lists and organizational handbooks, we procrastinate. I think we procrastinate at least as much, if not more, than our type-B neighbors. The key for us is to procrastinate productively. We arrived home from the States on Friday afternoon after about 24 hours of travel. There were tired and hungry children, there was a musty-smelling flat, there was an empty fridge, there was luggage. What Needed to Be Done was evident. And, hypocritically disregarding everything I have written about unpacking immediately, I couldn’t bring myself to empty the suitcases. That would mean the trip was over. Procrastination cast its languid guilty spell over me. I should also have bathed the kids, walked to town for groceries, and watered the garden. This didn’t appeal to me either. But I did kind of feel like reorganizing the kitchen shelves and the girls’ bureau drawers. See the beauty of it? When the spell lifts and the avoided tasks loom before us, we at least have the comfort of having accomplished Something Else That Would Have to Be Done Eventually.

Like blog posting or deadheading the petunias when I ought to be washing the lunch dishes. (Off to the petunias now–have a lovely and productive day.)

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9 Responses to of the fine art of productive procrastination

  1. I love Martha’s enigmatic calendar, too. And love your approach. As long as we keep at Something, there’s hope : )

  2. Kendra says:

    Haha! I do this! 🙂 You put words to something that I immediately, upon reading your words, knew that I do, yet had never really acknowledged before! Hehe.

  3. Ashlea says:

    I do both types of procrastination, but I couldn’t help but chuckle thinking of all the times I have had parties to prepare for (clean house, cook, etc) with a list too long of things to do. Then, and only then, I decide to organize tubs in my basement where no visitor will go or know. Why do I do this? Now I know.

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