It was either Confucius or John Mulaney who said, “It’s so much easier not to do things than to do them, that you would do anything is totally remarkable.” I heard this as I sat in bed this morning desperately staving off getting ready for work. I actually worked really hard; I thought up so many things to do instead of getting out of bed. And so many reasons why these things were more important than getting out of bed. The only reason I did end up getting out of bed was because my wife spilled a cup of coffee onto the floor and I wanted to help her clean it up. But there was a split second where I thought, “she’s a liberated independent woman, she doesn’t need me to help her. I should probably just stay in bed.”
There have been hundreds, probably thousands, of things written on the causes of procrastination. Even the title I was considering for this post “Procrastination: A Love Story” already has an entire page of Google search results devoted to it. So, for an in-depth analysis of why people procrastinate, you can go read something by, y’know, an actual medical professional. Suffice it to say that the reason I procrastinate is that I figure that the thing that I’m avoiding doing, I probably won’t do very well. I leave it to a Future Kevin to accomplish this task, because Future Kevin will be much wiser, much more capable than this current Kevin. I have a lot of faith in Future Kevin, so procrastination is my way of hail-Mary-passing my important tasks to him. You got this, future big guy.
In fact, the reason that this post isn’t a continuation of me writing about my trip to Ireland is that I figured Future Kevin would have more time to think of something more clever and insightful to write about on that subject.
So instead, let me provide to you some of my favorite methods of procrastination. That way, if you recognize any of them and think “but wait, that’s an incredibly valuable way I use my time,” you may discover that you’ve been procrastinating and without even realizing it.
- Reading news articles on my phone. This one is THE BEST. Because I can convince myself that I’m actually just keeping myself informed; I’m ensuring that I remain an intelligent person who’s equipped to discuss and act upon the issues of the day. The procrastination part of this is the timing of thinking that I need to read about the impeachment of the South Korean prime minister at the exact moment and only at the exact moment that I should probably be emptying the litter box instead.
- Staying in bed and being awake. This one’s awesome because it works at night or in the morning. At night, I can justify lying in bed and reading or checking my phone because I’m winding down, can’t I have just a few moments (read: 50 minutes) of peace and diversion before I go to bed?” Instead of just going to bed and actually getting some rest. Or in the morning–I can’t just jump out of bed! I didn’t sleep well last night, so I just need five minutes (read: 45 minutes) of becoming one with the day before I get pummeled with an ocean of responsibilities and obligations!
- [Insert menial task here]-ing. This one’s beautiful because I can use it to dodge a more important task by doing a less important one. No, Jen, I can’t talk to you about when we plan on having kids because I need to pay our credit card bills! Do you want us to go into credit card debt? I didn’t think so. This one is also nice because you can chain it with reading news articles on your phone so that you can start off paying the credit card bills, but end up reading about the Keystone Pipeline. You want me to pay the credit card bill, Jen? You don’t care about the environment and don’t want us to be informed about the ways our government is avoiding meaningfully exploring alternative energy sources? Wow. I thought I knew you, but, just, wow.
Hopefully none of these sounded familiar, but if they did, you probably stopped reading already and switched over to reading an article about how a popular TV show perpetuates cultural stereotypes. Godspeed.