June 1, 2010

Productive Procrastination


I'm a list person. I like to organize and categorize things.  I even make lists of lists. And today, I made five different lists:

  • Things to bring to Italy
  • Things to bring back from Italy
  • Things to do before I leave
  • Things to do while in Italy
  • Things to do as soon as I get back

See, tomorrow I'm going to my beach house in Italy to help my dad organize some of the stuff we had to move out of my grandmother's house in Rome when we sold it in April. Which means that I have to think about what to bring, what to do before I leave, and a bunch of other boring things I really don't want to think about right now, especially after it was 34 degrees C (94 degrees F) and humid all day here in Madrid - a climate combination that makes me want to do exactly zero of the various things I've spread between my five lists.

But seeing as some of those things I can't indefinitely put off - such as doing the laundry I plan on bringing (since I need it to finish air drying before tomorrow evening at seven) - I've been productively procrastinating all afternoon.

Productive procrastination? You ask. That sounds a little oxymoronic. Well, it is and it isn't. I am putting off things I could be doing now, so I am procrastinating. But I'm also not being completely useless. I've been very slowly, yet consistently, doing semi-important stuff all afternoon, and managing to cross a few things off my lists. I've been sorting and folding and hanging up clean clothes, leaving out those I plan on packing tomorrow. I've taken care of some grad school business (finally declining my place in a grad program that accepted me months ago, something I've been indefinitely putting off). And I've even gotten to work on a birthday present for a friend.

You might think that it doesn't sound like a lot of stuff to be doing in on afternoon, and you're right, it's not. And that's because I've also been procrastinating, with the help of small but steady appetite - which prefers frequent tiny snacks to big mealtime repasts - and the first season of The West Wing - which I am already quite familiar with, but which still provides endless (and educational!) entertainment.

If I'd done everything I did this afternoon focusing just on those tasks, I probably would have been done in an hour. But that would just be pure productivity. And if I had just sat around all afternoon watching back episodes of The West Wing, I would have just been procrastinating. But I artfully managed to do both - entertain myself in a way that felt like I was doing no work, while actually getting something done! Thank you Aaron Sorkin, I don't think I could have done it without you!

What task or chore do you constantly put off?

For me it's putting away clean laundry. I hate ironing and folding and hanging.
Especially when it's 34 degrees outside!

p.s. Don't forget to enter my 200th Post Giveaway for the chance to win one of three lovely hand made accessories! Giveaway ends midnight, Saturday, June 5th, EST.


Hope Chella said...

I always put off laundry. It's ridiculous!!!!

By the way, you are a lucky duck having a place to stay in Italy :)

leigh ashley said...

folding laundry... i'll wash it and then pile it up. haha. :)

Julia said...

Gaaaaaa, I thought I was the only one. I postpone folding my laundry every single time. I have huge piles of clean laundry.

Becca said...

Oh man, such a procrastinator of clean laundry and vacuuming. And such a list-maker!
Ha ha ha I thought I was the only one...glad I'm not alone in this!

Jen said...

I'm a productive procrastinator too! I find I'm much more efficient at cleaning the house when I do it during commercial breaks of my fav recorded TV shows! I'm with you on putting away clean laundry... sometimes I just don't feel like folding.

Venassa said...

I sometimes make lists of lists too! I am also a list lover. I'm making one in my head as I type.

I put off everything, but at the same time I manage to do a few little productive things, so it's not a complete fail.

Sadako said...

Heh. Love the owl pic.

I never put off laundry. I put off PUTTING AWAY laundry!