Monday, 23 July 2018

Seize the time

I'm not a procrastinator. I don't put things off until next week or next month or some time in the distant future. If I have something to do, I like to do it right now and get it out of the way.

I get very frustrated when I can't act immediately. Because I have to wait on someone else for permission or guidance or paperwork. Because it's the weekend and offices and shops are closed. Because the person I want is off sick or on leave. Or a dozen other things that stop me in my tracks.

Unlike procrastinators, I don't like things hanging over me. I like things to be disposed of as quickly as possible so I can feel relaxed and unburdened.

I suppose it's partly an irrational fear that if I get into the habit of delaying things, in no time I'll have a list of outstanding tasks as long as my arm and I'll be hopelessly overwhelmed.

Also I don't see the point of procrastinating. The job has to be done eventually, so why not right now? I guess a lot of procrastinators hope that if they wait long enough the job won't need to be done any more, or someone else will have done it.

It's equally frustrating when others are procrastinating. I've been waiting seven weeks for a partial refund of my mum's care home fees, but the company concerned is in no hurry to settle things. They would rather keep me dangling until such time as they feel like sending me the money.

There must be others like me who like to do things promptly. But oddly, there seems to be no word for us. Promptinator? Promptarian? Promptian? We're the tendency without a name, the missing word in the dictionary.

21 comments:

kylie said...

nah there is a name for the non-procrastinator: impatient

the anti procrastinator is often distracted by the most pressing obvious thing and forgets the important. That's why my mums ironing was always done but we never went to the beach...or the park....or the movies

Bijoux said...

I don't like things hanging over my head, either. If it's tasks that can be accomplished in a short time frame, such as paying bills or ironing, I get them done so that I can then enjoy my free time. However, huge projects, such as organizing and purging closets or photos, I tend to procrastinate because it's not pressing and will take a lot of willpower to accomplish.

nick said...

Kylie: Oh, I don't think I'm forgetting the important things. They get done as well, usually just as swiftly. And yes, I guess impatience is often the driving force.

Bijoux: I do sometimes procrastinate over the sort of big things you mention. Mainly because they'll take a lot of time and I want to wait until I have a totally free afternoon or day or whatever. I don't like to be interrupted in the middle!

helen devries said...

I find that if it depends on someone else it will be put on the back burner...which can become crowded and annoy me even more.

Z said...

I pay bills immediately. Everything else gets done when it needs to be.

nick said...

Helen: I think it depends whether the other person is reliable or not.

Z: Bills I tend to procrastinate on because usually payment's not due for a few weeks and our bank account looks fatter in the meantime....

tammy j said...

I waited over SIX months for my tax refund. when I called I was given every excuse in the book. that is when I finally got through to them!
if they had waited that long for my money owed to THEM... they would have charged me penalties and interest!
same in getting my deposit refund from my last apartment rent. they were thrilled with the way I left it. and they signed the papers approving the refund.
the "home office' was always blamed for the delay. it took months (again) to get the money owed to me. why is that? again... had I not paid their advance deposits immediately I would have not been allowed to rent the apartment!
AAAGGGH!

nick said...

Tammy: I once waited nine months for settlement of a claim on my car insurance. When they did finally pay up, they overpaid me by several hundred pounds, which was a nice bonus!

I gather it can be quite a battle getting flat deposits returned in the UK. Landlords sometimes claim they're keeping the money to pay for damage or some other trumped-up liability.

Danielle L Zecher said...

I'm not a procrastinator either. I just feel very anxious if I have too many things hanging over me, and it seems like so many jobs just get harder if you put them off. Example, I hate cleaning the bathtub, but if I skip a week it's even harder to clean, so why would I make a task I already hate even harder by procrastinating? I think the name for us is "the people who get things done".

nick said...

Danielle: Exactly, that anxiety when there are too many things outstanding. I can't say either of us clean the bath regularly, but then we hardly ever use it, we prefer showers.

John Gray said...

I think we all procrastinate
But we tend to keep the boring / unpleasant jobs till last
Human nature

CheerfulMonk said...

I often get things done right away so they won't be hanging over my head. But I do procrastinate about reorganizing our apartment because it's something I have to immerse myself in and it's a big project. I'm in the midst of doing that now and I feel good about how it's going, but I still have a lot to do. The main thing is I'm enjoying doing it, thanks to waiting until I felt inspired.

Joared said...

I have been known to procrastinate years ago when my list of things to do and unpredictable needs to care for another erupted to alter my planned schedule. I had occasions of being overwhelmed, could no longer work into the wee morning hours to arise only a few hours later at daybreak. Just had to put off things to keep my health and sanity and learn how to not fret over doing so.

Now I can no longer expect to be able to tackle a big job and whip through it for however long it might take as I once did. I’m learning I need to find ways to break down some tasks to small jobs, strung out over a long period of time, as I need to downsize house interior contents. Some other matters have lessened, but still things coming up I can’t make go away any faster than they’re going.

My husband was a perfectionistic individual who had taken a college time study course and took the lessons to heart for himself. He did not badger others to follow his lead, but his behavior and attitude. impacted the rest of us. His expectations of himself seem to impair his ability to experience pleasure or even fun in some tasks that could have given him more pleasure — all in the attitude. Instead he could become impatient and, of course, did not welcome interruptions which couldn’t always be avoided. He seldom seemed to derive pleasure with work at home. Even meticulous planning for vacation had a sense of rigidity about it, so that if something went awry on the trip it could be more serious than need be to him — I had to encorage viewing what happened as an adventure on those rare occasions.
and we could make them into a fun experience. Not surprisingly he developed heart problems, retired early, but not well for several years before that, died in his sleep at age 77.

Rummuser said...

Anticrastinator? I just invented it.

I am like you. I like to see the back of all chores at the earliest.

nick said...

John: No, I want to get the boring and unpleasant jobs out of the way as well!

Jean: By reorganising your apartment do you mean de-cluttering and disposing of things you don't need or want?

nick said...

Joared: I also find I need to break big tasks down into a series of little ones. Ploughing through something to the bitter end can be too much these days. A shame about your husband being such a perfectionist he never seemed to really enjoy what he was doing. My father was a little like that, everything had to be just so.

nick said...

Ramana: Anticrastinator is a good word, I might adopt that. Actually according to the Urban Dictionary and Wikipedia, precrastinator is the word for doing things promptly. So take your pick!

Jenny Woolf said...

I'm more of a procrastinator than I used to be. I realised I was spending so much time doing every single task and perhaps it didn't mater if some of them went undone. Whether that is a good idea or not I don't know. I suspect I'll change back.

nick said...

Jenny: I also ask myself sometimes whether I really need to do a particular task, or whether it's just a pointless habit. Like picking dead leaves from flowerbeds.

Secret Agent Woman said...

For me it really depends on how I feel about the particular task. I can procrastinate like nobody's business if it involves a phone call. But for the most part, I like to get things done in a timely way. I tend to be very punctual, too.

nick said...

Agent: I'm quite good on phone calls but I can postpone housework very easily. Well, another two days' dust won't make much difference, will it?

I'm a punctual person too. I just think it's rude to keep people waiting.