Parable* of a Procrastinator

April Fool's Day has come and gone, and did I fool anyone? No. No big deal, right? Wrong. April Fool's Day is a sacred, holy day in which I come up with terrible schemes to torture the people I love, and I missed it. This is huge, people. Huge. One year during my pre-pubescent days, I both scalded my mother with hot water in the shower (gotta love the ol' toilet flush gag) and simultaneously convinced her that I had started my period early. Toilet humor at it's finest, my friends. Other times I did silly things, like make people think it was the wrong day; or that we had a test; or that I broke up with a boyfriend. But one fateful year, I did the unthinkable: I came up with a gag that I actually felt bad about doing. I had a friend call my then-boyfriend to tell him that I'd been in a car crash, and was in the hospital. Now, that's a very mean thing to do, and I realized that, so I gave my friend specific instructions that this was to be a short joke - as soon as he believed her she was to tell him it wasn't true. I didn't want him to have a heart attack, I just wanted him to be shocked for a second. Well, she let him believe I was critically injured in the hosipital for over a half hour, and managed to convince his entire family of the same thing - I'm pretty sure he was almost in tears before she told him the truth. Needless to say, my interest in the day took a steady drop after that, and although I've continued playing April Fool's Day pranks, my heart just isn't in them. Will I ever play a prank again? Signs point to yes. I was just lazy this year. But you can expect an onslaught next year, so be prepared.

In any case, that's not what I wanted to talk about.

I wanted to share with you all a secret. A secret of epic proportions. A secret that could change your lives forever. What is it, you might wonder? It's the secret to my very being: How to be a Professional Procrastinator.

"But wait!" you might be asking, "Why are you giving away your secret so soon?" Well, my friends, I know that it takes years to master what I'm about to tell you. And by that time, I'll have retired, the aliens will have taken over, and I'll be free to eat eggless food products all day long... if I get to it.

First of all, to be a professional such as myself, you need to be completely aware of what's going on at all times. Forgetting to do something is just forgetting, not procrastination. Procrastination is when you know you have something to do, know exactly how to go about doing it, and don't until absolutely necessary. This is a hard concept to grasp, and some of you might not be able to do it. It's okay; I won't judge you. I could, but I just don't feel like it.

Step 1: Evaluate the situation. How long should this particular project take to complete? Be reasonable. Let's say you have an assignment that involves answering a certain number of questions. How much time will each question take to answer completely? Include time for writing up the results. This is critical to the process, so be as accurate as possible.

Step 2: Decide when to start the project. This is where the estimate comes in. If the project will take more than two days to complete, start it the night before. Anything less than that should be started the day of, no questions asked. If the project is due before 10am, then it should always be started the night before, unless you're experienced enough to handle waking up at odd hours and sleeping little or not at all until the project is completed. Another thing to take into consideration is printing - many papers and assignments must be printed out. Be prepared for every printer problem imaginable, and always have a friend in mind that would let you use their printer at the last minute.

Step 3: No project can be completed early. Any project completed more than an hour before its deadline has not been calculated properly, and is not considered procrastinated. In fact, I would discourage you from thinking too much about the project before you start it, because that ruins the fun.

Step 4: Don't brag. Sure, you just completed a project in 5 hours that other people spent the whole week on, but don't tell them about it. Let them think you spent all that time on it too, and definitely don't mention what happened in that show they missed last night while doing the project. Remember, they think you weren't watching TV. But if you do slip up, remember: it was a short study break and nothing more. Normal people take those, so they'll understand.

Step 5: Keep practicing! Pretty soon, you'll be able to complete projects quickly and accurately, and earn the admiration and respect of your peers. In time, you may be able to inspire them to do the same. Meanwhile, enjoy the rush of pride and satisfaction you feel when a project is completed minutes before the deadline. It's fabulous.

And now, I will leave you with two random thoughts:

1. If a restaurant has the word "roadhouse" in its name, does that inherently mean you can throw peanut shells on the floor?

2. I wonder what it was like to be the first dentist to realize that "dental" and "gentle" rhyme, and I wonder if he/she realized what implications that discovery had on the naming of dental offices everywhere. In fact, I kinda want to punch them in the face, because "gentle dental" is a freaking oxymoron. Moron.

*Not actually a parable. It just sounded cooler.

2 Responses to "Parable* of a Procrastinator"

Eebs responded on 4/07/2006 9:52 AM #

Implied procrastinating tip: When procrastinating, spend plenty of time updating your blog! Bonus points for blogging about procrastinating WHILE procrastinating-- how meta!

Nice entry. ;)

Erica responded on 4/07/2006 1:24 PM #

Thanks, and that's an excellent tip - I see that you are in the profession as well - congratulations!