This will never become a book.

2012 July 1 Sunday

Genetics of Procrastination

Filed under: life — kdefg @ 21:59

The first day of July, the start of a new month — and with it comes the promise of a fresh slate, a new chance to get back to the discipline of writing every day.  Or, it’s my chance to rethink this whole exercise.  What better time to quit than at the beginning of a new month, my darker side whispers to me.

I’ve had all day to consider my options.  I’ve had all day to think of — and reject — several possible writing topics.  In the other room, my daughter is working on an essay for school.  She has had all day to work on it; in fact, she has had the past three days to work on it, but has found other ways to be idle until tonight.  I begin to wonder whether this aversion to work runs in our common bloodline.

Could there be a genetic trait which sets some humans down the path of getting work done before play?  Those people must have an inner drive to never leave a task undone.  More than a learned behavior, it must be part of their nature, and surely would be a preferable trait for survival of the individual.  One might even consider it desirable to have at least one member of a family or community with this trait.  However, those kinds of people are probably annoying to have around all the time, unless you yourself are equally task-oriented.  In fact, I imagine those types are not going to be the most romantic.  It’s amazing that they could relax enough to breed at all.

On the other hand, my daughter and I both know that we should do our work first and play later, but we never do.  We both need deadlines to motivate us, and we often underestimate how long a task will take.  The deadlines approach, and we scramble to get the minimum amount done, and put off the rest until it becomes absolutely necessary to complete.  Surely I did not teach her this behavior!  I frequently tell her to start earlier on projects and remind her that things take longer than she imagines, but she does not take my advice.  And yet, somehow, we both survive.  Obviously I have survived to breed, so if this is indeed a hereditary trait, then my genes must be the dominant ones.  Her father is nothing like either of us, and we drive him crazy with our lack of discipline.

So now that I’m getting ready to hit the “Publish” button on this post, I take one last moment to consider the wisdom of this action.  If I show even one post in July, I will feel obligated to fill up the rest of the month with posts.  If I make post number 51 on day 1, I will be compelled to make post number 52 on day 2, and so on.  By hitting this button, I am signing up for another 30 days of forcing myself into creating something from nothing.  (Yes, July has 31 days, but I cannot allow myself a single day off before the end of the month, if I want post number 80 to land on July 30th.  I really do like the round numbers.)

Of course, nothing says I can’t wait until just before midnight to meet the deadlines.





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