AutoTopic: List Your Favorite Ways To Procrastinate

Naturally this AutoTopic I saved has sat in my draft folder for a few months now – truth. How fitting that I’d procrastinate writing a blog about procrastination. Delicious, isn’t it? Anyway, I had to hit this one because everyone does it, even Army dudes. Granted, we procrastinate in a highly organized and camouflaged way, but we do it nonetheless. That said, I’ll narrow my focus onto homefront tasks, chores, and nags requests for help to enhance the snarkiness and laughability.

Silent Denial. This happens when there’s something completely obvious needing done that is concurrently quite distasteful. Cleaning toilets comes to mind. I’m not afraid of germs or work, but who in their right mind out there perks up and says, “Toilets? Ooooh, I’m all about that!” when divvying up household cleaning chores? Me either. So I am an expert at letting days of bladder-evacuation flush by as I observe the pink ring of iron and calcium build up at the waterline and deny it’s even happening. It won’t keep World Peace from breaking out and shit, right?

Active Denial. This is simple negotiation, plain and simple. It is conducted between the asker and the do-er. The asker wants something done, the do-er uses all required forms of negotiation, whining, distraction, and Jedi Mind Tricks to avoid doing the task in question. This is probably best illustrated by the following exchange:

  • ASKER: “Babe, will you fix the dripping pipe in the basement?”
  • DO-ER: “Sweetheart, you’re killing me. You know I’ve got a whole long list of other stuff you want me to do, right?”
  • ASKER: “It’s dripping. My winter clothes are in the basement.”
  • DO-ER: “Look, I’ve checked it out and at the rate it’s dripping, I calculate it will take 57 years to fill the basement if all the drains spontaneously clog.”
  • ASKER: [Gritting teeth] “Dripping. Pipe.”
  • DO-ER: [waving hand mysteriously] “There is no dripping pipe. You are an excellent spouse.”
  • ASKER: “Grrrrr…”
  • DO-ER: “Oooh! Honey, look! An ad for shoes on sale!”

Turning the Tyrrany of the Urgent Into a Tool. This technique is highly specialized and used almost exclusively in conjunction with To Do Lists. I actually write them on a whiteboard, and cross them off when complete. Inevitably someone I’m married to who lives here, who will remain nameless, will locate the marker and edit the list. Here is where TtTotUIaT comes in handy. By carefully picking highly-urgent stuff “that just came up,” you can move list items up to the #1 position by virtue of their inherent criticality.  Do this skillfully and enough, and you can keep “Dust and Clean Curio Cabinet” well near the bottom for over a year like another person who lives in our house did. Ahem.

Outright Rebellion. As a veteran of my first marriage, I am impervious to nagging. Well close. At any rate, this advanced form of procrastination is as simple as saying, “I’m not doing that shit.” There are consequences, of course. Out of interest in harmony, this is a technique best used sparingly, primarily to reinforce the ‘Can’t-Nag-This’ notion, which leads to further harmony. Sort of. Rebellion requires a keen eye for things you know are far from critical and have no emotional dependencies attached by anyone else.

There’s probably some more to this list but I’ll have to get around to that later.

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39 Responses to “AutoTopic: List Your Favorite Ways To Procrastinate”

  1. Turning the Tyrrany of the Urgent Into a Tool.

    and I call it the “do it later list” (~_~)

  2. So here’s a run down of what happens at my house.

    ENTER EX-HUSBAND: “Why is the basement flooded?”

    ME: “I tried to fix a leaky pipe but I couldn’t really reach it so I held onto another part for balance and broke it altogether.”

    EX: “Well why didn’t you just have me do it?”

    ME: “WHAT ARE YOU SAYING? THAT JUST BECAUSE I’M A WOMAN I CAN’T FIX A PIPE? LIKE I NEED SOME MAN TO COME ALONG AND DO IT FOR ME? IS THAT WHAT YOU’RE SAYING?”

    EX: (calmly) “No, I’m saying you needed a plumber. Or someone taller than an Oompa Loompa.”

    ME: “I’m calling a plumber now so hand me the phone and then go fuck yourself, Sasquatch.”

    • Good thing I wasn’t drinking anything or it would be running out of my nostrils right now. So where did you put the body after you bludgeoned him to death with the plumber’s wrench?

      • I live next door to a cemetery so I do have options. In this case I was forced to let it go since as much as I hated to admit it, he was right. My worst character flaw is that I always need to prove that I can take care of/do everything myself. Most of the time I can, or at least I find a way to teach myself how to do what needs to be done. Then there are the times when I get in over my head. Literally.

  3. And this is why men are disposable- because I end up having to do it myself while their busy drinking beer. 🙂

  4. Hahaha! I never procrastinate . . . I just re-assign onerous chores to others by putting them on someone else’s To Be Done list. 😀

  5. Ranter…what have you done? Besides the previous post you shut down the comments because of the whole OTHEr nameless debacle, this one is turning into a men vs. women bloodbath. Methinks you need to cease writing for a bit until things cool off. 😀

  6. John Erickson Says:

    It helps if you can find stuff that the other one hates to do. Then you trade. I abhor kitchen clean-up, and the wife hates anything to do with the yardwork. So I do the mowing/trimming/what-not, and she takes care of the kitchen. We trade off on the bathroom, since neither one of us can tolerate the thought of having to do it regularly.
    Then, of course, there’s always the “but it’s too (hot, cold, wet, dry, sunny, cloudy) out to repaint the window frames”. It also helps that they’re on the second floor, and our ladder craps out at 10 feet…..

  7. mkultra76 Says:

    Oooh, this is funny. I am a master of procrastination, married to a fellow master of procrastination. It’s a miracle anything gets done around here. But things do eventually get done, and amazingly, my house is in good working order. It helps that I don’t nag about the tower of clean clothes on his dresser that could topple at any moment, crushing a small dog. He gets to it once every quarter, and in return, will clean the top of the stove–a task I detest worse than cleaning the toilet, ’cause at least the gunk in the toilet isn’t baked on.

  8. My Ex just put me on Ignore if I asked him to do something, so I learned to do it myself. Only when I went to put him on Ignore (and out the door), did he start to pay attention. Oops, too little, too late.
    I like your rants.

  9. Fantastic work! I’d say more, but I can’t be bothered…

  10. esl conversation class Says:

    funny post….looks like trying to think of something to say on your post is spiralled me into more procrastination!! damn…you’re CLEVER!!

  11. Glad your burrito rage got FP’d and led me to your blog. Right I must get back to my procrastinating.

  12. Whilst not working on the work I should have been doing, I discovered that there are people in this world who dedicate their time to researching procrastination; the study of not studying. How distractingly ironic…

    http://scifeed.wordpress.com/2011/10/20/will-we-ever-stop-procrastinating/

  13. Ah, hints from a true master.
    May “dust and clean the curio cabinet” always remain low on the list.

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