“Procrastination is the thief of time” … or is it?

Posted by Amanda Furness


Have you ever had the uncanny experience of reading a problem page, thinking “that sounds like me” and then realising that the name of the person with the problem is actually the same as your own?  It happened to me the other day and left me unsettled, wondering if instead of sleep walking I had developed the ability to get up in the early hours, express my innermost worries in an email before sending them off to appear in a magazine column with no recollection of what I’d been up to the next morning.

As an aside, I’m not aware that sleep walking’s a problem I’ve ever suffered from but I apparently used to have the ability to engage in conversation in my sleep.  The only reason I know this is that a friend’s mother used to use it against my friend when we were teenagers.  Apparently whenever her mum had come in from a late night out and I was staying for a sleepover, I would sit up in bed when she came to check we were ok and ask all about her evening which she thought was charming and such a change from the lack of interest she received from her own teenage daughter.  My problem the next morning was then twofold.  Firstly, I had to try not to give away the fact that I didn’t have a clue what her mum was talking about when she referred to our conversation from the night before.  And secondly, to placate my friend that I hadn’t being a ‘sook’ and was on the younger generation’s side when the inevitable comparison between our conversational approaches was aired by her mother!

Anyway, back to Amanda’s problem which was a worrying one regarding her ability to procrastinate over specific important tasks, not just personal but work-related too.  The agony aunt explained that ‘procrastination’ is something which we all do and which, on the positive side, can stop us making rash decisions.  Unfortunately, it’s when it’s taken to excess and a deadline is looming without the task being started that instigates feelings of stress and anxiety.  That age old favourite of mine of carrying out every practical task on the housework horizon (including my least favourite chore of doing the entire house’s ironing), ahead of the task I’m putting off even received special mention.

The best bit though was that after all the soul searching and possible reasons as to why she was putting off the task had been discussed, Amanda realised that when she finally got down to the dreaded cause of her procrastination, it became clear she hadn’t actually been procrastinating as much as she thought.  Once she finally got around to putting pencil to paper, or perhaps more accurately fingers to keyboard, the realisation hit her that she’d been formulating ideas in her head whilst doing all those seemingly less urgent practical tasks and was actually mentally prepared to attack her written assignment when she finally got around to it a few days before her deadline.

And so for anyone who’s still with me, like the other Amanda, I got there in the end and would like to thank that lovely Amanda for her timely problem.  Not only did it strike a chord but it provided the inspiration for a task I procrastinate every couple of months … you’ve just read it and I hope it’s been worthy of my toil!