Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Now Wait Just a Minute!

Let’s not be hasty here. When is it good to Act? When is it good to Delay?

Delay is an interesting word choice here: to delay is an active verb implying that one has control over their movement, as compared to Drag-your-heels-screaming-bloody-murder! Which is a little bit closer to how procrastination can feel when it is in its nastier stages.

Which makes me wonder, is procrastination a virus? Is action an anti-biotic? It certainly seems so given how much better one feels after they simply just go ahead and do whatever it was they were avoiding.

If it is similar to the flu, couldn’t we just get a note from Mummy excusing us from having to fill out all those tax forms? Why isn’t there a pretty lifestyle pill advertized on TV for it? ACTV8: possible side effects include superior smugness over those who don’t take it, irritated spouses who have been nagged into action, sudden life changes and an inability to find the new place where the keys belong.
But it does feel good to act doesn’t it?

But it also feels good to procrastinate. Think about the pleasure one gets in the moment when one opts for the hot fudge sundae over 300 sit-ups. Then there is that sleepy feeling one gets just before you open that textbook. Surely a nap has never been so fully satisfying. And the guilt that follows? Why, nothing like a few more potato chips or a half-hour of TV to help you forget it.

So Act? Wait? Which one? Both have consequences, both have pleasure and hardship attached. Sometimes procrastination seems like divine intervention. Other times it is just so dumb.

Funny how easy it is to remember the pleasures of procrastination in comparison to the memory of how really awesome it feels to have done those sit-ups or read that amazing chapter on genetics. Of course, not all the things we have to do are fun. Taxes being in the front of my mind. But what a relief it will be to get them off my mind.

Mind- maybe if we didn’t have one we wouldn’t procrastinate, we’d be like ants or bees? Does that mean that procrastinators are geniuses without focus?

If our inner procrastinator is a genius wouldn’t it be a good idea to listen? Of course, I know a few schizophrenics who are quite brilliant but I don’t think I would follow all of their advice…

So Act or Delay.

Here’s my answer:  In the 1950’s there was a movie called The Brain from the Planet Arous. It is an evil brain that takes over a scientist, tries to make whoopee with his girl, wants to take over the world and has a wicked laugh. The Good Brain comes to Earth and takes up residence in the scientist’s dog. Happily the Evil brain has to leave the scientist every 24 hours to get a breath of fresh air. On one of these breaks, the hero leaps into action and kills the Evil Brain by sticking an axe into the Fissure of Roland thus killing it. No one ever says what happens to the dog, but presumably the Good brain returns home to the Planet Arous.

Here’s my question: Who is in charge of your brain?

I hope for the sake of the Planet that it is the dog.

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