Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Happy National Procrastination Week--Eventually

 I have been so busy lately, I've hardly had time to procrastinate!  I even let National Procrastination Week slide off my horizon.

As I traipsed through hyperspace this evening, looking for inspiration on the subject, I discovered something curious.  There seems to be some confusion about which week is set aside for recognition of my favorite vice.  Sources are divided on whether this Holiday for Delay is to be celebrated the first or second week in March.  And NPR's Morning Edition, in 2006, confessed confusion about the purpose of the holiday.  
It is National Procrastination Week and we're not sure if that means it's a good time to put things off, or a reminder to get moving.
Dr. Timothy Pychyl's 2010 Don't Delay post for National Procrastination Week expressed the disaffection of the academic procrastination researcher for the observance.  He remarked that, in keeping with its spirit, we might as well also celebrate  
National Over-Eating Week, National Compulsive-Shopping Week, National Addicted-Gamblers Week, and we could even add a week for problem drinkers as well.
Sources are vague on the origin of the practice, though most attribute it, like Jennifer Becker Landsberger, to the 
"Procrastination Club of America", which is apparently putting off getting a real website.
Given the latitude afforded by this relatively unstructured event, I suggest that those of us in the procrastination business deal with all this ambiguity and ambivalence by taking matters into our own hands.  Us postponers should decide which week to designate, and whether to mark it by giving free reign to our procrastinating selves, or by reining in our troublesome impulses.  And retaining the ultimate prerogative of the foot-dragger, whichever week we light on for remembering dalliance, we should reserve the right to do it later.

For myself, I have decided to opt for next week.  My National Procrastination Week will be held the second week of March, from the 7th through the 13th.  Part of the reason for choosing next week is that I'm already late for this week.  Given the prominence of the experience of procrastination in my life thus far, I really need a full week to give it its due.

As to whether "to procrastinate or not to procrastinate," to paraphrase a Danish prince, I am coming down on neither pole.  Rather, I will "celebrate" by reflecting on what I've learned about procrastination, in general as well as specific to my experience, over this past year of writing about it.

And I will try not to put it off.

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