Learning to procrastinate takes time

By Helena Rodriguez: Freedom Newspapers

I’m writing about procrastination this week because I haven’t gotten around to researching other topics. I didn’t use to be a procrastinator, but lately, I’ve been thinking about becoming one. I just haven’t decided yet.

I was going to write about the new Taco Bell commercial, the one with the two lions who roll their rrrrs as they pronounce words such as ca–rrrrrrrrr-ne asada. Now that’s the way it should be said. But, of course, I didn’t get around to this.

I was also going to write this week about having friends in low places, which can be very convenient at times, but again, I didn’t get around to that one either. I still need to do research. Rest assured, though, this research will not include a trip to the local cantina.

Although I may be on the verge of becoming my biggest fear, a bona fide procrastinator. I’ve known some wonderful procrastinators in my life whom I aspire to emulate should I ever become among that class. I think they’re an interesting species that warrant serious study if our government ever gets around to it. Besides, this is not the column about that. That will come next week, or the week after that, or whenever I get around to it.

I’m getting the hang of this procrastination thing.

Now, as I started to say, I happen to know some great procrastinators. A shining example in our family is Aunt Patsy. At least she was when I last checked about 10 or 15 years ago. I haven’t bothered to check again, although I did think about it.

Anyway, one time I was with Aunt Patsy and it was like the very day of her daughter Danielle’s birthday when this light bulb goes off in her head and she says, “Let’s have a birthday party for Danielle!” I’m thinking to myself, isn’t it a little late? But Patsy gets on her telephone and calls Debbie and then continues to call family and friends.

At this point, I’m wondering whose going to show up to a birthday party with only a few hours notice. So we drive around town with Patsy and she buys all the stuff for the party, and come that evening, I’m appalled when a house full of people come.

I sometimes spend a whole week or two planning my daughter Laura’s birthday party only to end up calling my family the day of the event to remind them because, by then, they have forgotten or haven’t gotten around to opening the invitation. That’s one good reason to become a procrastinator.

Getting back to Patsy though, she is the master whom I desire to emulate. I have childhood memories of her in the girls’ room at Grandma Emma’s house on Christmas Eve, frantically wrapping Christmas gifts as we prepare to open them.

I know another procrastination specialist, my friend Bernard Polaco. He’ll begin working on a research paper the day or two before it’s due and will hold an all-night marathon session. I don’t operate well under last-minute deadline pressure but I had another college friend who did her best work that way.

Before I become a bona fide procrastinator, I have some valid questions to ask you expert procrastinators who will probably read this column next week. For instance, can all of the time you spend thinking about starting a task count as time it takes to actually perform the task? Does it count more if you worry a lot while thinking about the task that you have to eventually do? And if you don’t worry about it at all beforehand, you just do it at the last minute, can that be considered “true” procrastination?

Also, as in the case of Bernard, is it really procrastination if you decide to delay a task, but just until after “Friends” or “That ’70s Show” airs?

I would appreciate it if some of you procrastinators could get back to me on these very important questions and concerns. Just drop me an e-mail … whenever you get around to it. If it’s more convenient, you can include these helpful procrastination tips in a Christmas card.

Helena Rodriguez is a columnist for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. She can be reached at: