Those of you who know me well, and now those of you who don’t, are well aware of my penchant for procrastination. The good folks over at Slate have dedicated a special issue on the topic. This delights me. Though, of course, I haven’t exactly gotten around to actually reading much of this issue.

One of the more interesting (read: one I actually looked at) stories is not a story so much as it is a bunch of snippets. The editors asked people from a wide variety of occupations about their procrastination habits and published some choice comments. Snarkily enough, office workers and students are lumped together and dismissed as users of Facebook, email and online magazines. What of the others? Let’s take a quick sample:

Tonja – Bank Teller

“One thing some tellers do is take time and reface all the money to make sure it’s all facing one direction. They also put the new bills at the bottom of the stack, so they give the client the old bills. They just like to have the new bills.”

Um, because at the end of the day each teller gets to take home the contents of the drawer??

Nick – Firefighter

“On a fire scene, the fun part is putting out the fire—ooh, squirting water, pulling out the hose lines, all that. … After the fire is the nonfun part. We’ve got to pick up the hose, clean all the equipment, and put it back on the truck. You can’t leave the scene till that’s done. But some of the guys will wander over to the service unit, lollygag over there, drinking water and Gatorade, while the other guys are putting the stuff away.”

Phew! At least they don’t slack off getting the fire put out.

Michele – Psychic

“If I have to forecast, or do a reading, that’s not usually something I procrastinate on, because people need those things. Somebody else’s need will usually push through any kind of procrastination. So if someone’s in trouble, or if they’re having a health crisis, their energy motivates me. … I have a community of people I feel responsible for. There are always people writing me e-mails, or they want more meditations, so I try to follow their energy. I do what gives me energy first, and once I’m in a centered space, it’s easier to tackle some of the things that seem more challenging—like expenses.”

I’m sorry Michele, the answer we were looking for is “by becoming a psychic,” thanks for playing and call us when you get a real job. Hippie.

Patrick – Gardener

“I’m distracted by brightly colored things flitting around, like small bugs and birds. Recently I saw a small winter flock of cedar waxwings that hadn’t broken up yet. They were eating berries from the holly tree on the property, then going to the creek to get a drink. It was a wonderful cascade of color.”

Well, Phish stopped touring several years back, I guess those mushrooms have to be useful for something.

I could go on, but you get the point. The most interesting thing to me was how different people interpreted the question. Some described in various detail what activities they used as a means of procrastination. Others described what the subject of the procrastination was. I found the former to be far more interesting – I don’t really care what part of the job you most enjoy avoiding.

And me, you ask? Well, look at the time stamp of this here post and infer that I have just put off some essential librarian task or another by writing a blog post. Usually, though, I like to think of my procrastination as productive. It gets me out of the rut and allows me to think about things in different ways before returning to the task at hand. But it is procrastination nonetheless, and if I’m right many of you reading this have just spent a few minutes of your life that you’ll never get back avoiding important tasks of one type or another reading my procrastinative ruminations on procrastination. Throw your stones, if you must, in the comments.

One Response to “Procrastamundo”

  1. Katie Says:

    hey, sandy!
    yes, your blog has become a form of procrastination for me. although i’m not sure it counts as procrastination when i’m no longer in school and dont have a job. i think it’s just called “summer” at that point…
    anyway, here’s another form of procrastination your blog has provided me: looking at hundreds of youtube videos of people ghost riding. some of those are really scary! like the guy who was actually run over by his car while doing it! i did want to make my own video until i saw that one, and then i realized that if i did one it would be of me running AWAY from my car.
    also, i would just like to say that i also enjoy kristin’s blog, but procrastination that doesn’t involve learning about breastfeeding is also a lot of fun.
    see you soon! keep up the writing!

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