“After Pesach” – the words are haunting me now. For weeks as we prepared for the holiday of Passover, everything else got relegated to the “later” pile: after Pesach. Camp forms – after Pesach. Figure out why the bank is charging my daughter a $7 fee each month – after Pesach. Deal with the swamp in the backyard each time it rains (which is daily) – after Pesach.
I’m not actually a procrastinator – I’m a deliberate and effective capitalizer on the last minute. I believe in the last minute. I believe in its power. I purposely cook the day before a holiday; cook for Shabbat on Friday; pack the night before a trip, or the morning of. I think it’s way more efficient than worrying about things for weeks in advance.
Tim Urban, MOT, blogger extraordinaire, and master procrastinator, says this: there is no comparing the procrastination that happens when there is a deadline (you eventually freak out at the last minute and get it done), to the procrastination that happens when there is no deadline. He actually gave a very funny TED talk about procrastinating which was pretty much about how he procrastinated preparing his TED talk about procrastination. But he was good, so he got it done, because there was a deadline.
For me there are deadlines everywhere. Because Shabbat comes every week and Passover every year and school starts every fall and it is also High Holiday season and the beginning of our Sunday school and if you are paying attention those are multiple concurrent deadlines which are scary and also completely obligating.
Which is why I don’t call what I do procrastinating. I call it deliberate maximizing of the deadline.
When I was a kid in high school, I would engage in a usage of time dubbed (by me) “productive procrastination.” If I had to study for a test, I’d organize my closet. If I had to organize my closet, I’d move my furniture around. If I had to write an essay, I’d write a poem about the futility of writing the essay. I thought this was rather brilliant, and fully admit to participating in this sport today.
Instead of exercising, I’ll Marie Kondo my bookshelf. Instead of cooking, though, I may exercise. And finally, instead of doing boring paperwork like paying my medical bills, I’ll do laundry. Any activity can be delayed by finding an ever-so-slightly less offensive activity. The result is a feeling of virtue and efficiency, while still indulging in the guilty pleasure of pushing non-essential activities off.
So now it’s After Pesach. Which means it is time to deal with the forms and the bank and the yard. So I think I’ll bake some challah instead. Also, I have way too many vases. Time to purge. And why do we still have cassette tapes? That’s a worthy project right there. It also just dawned on me that I haven’t yet made our family’s Snapfish album for 2018. So that is definitely more important, right now.
Because you know – After Pesach has a start point, but it definitely does not have a deadline. Happy procrastinating!