I Can’t Seem to Do Anything Until the Absolute Last Minute | Ask the Rev. | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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I Can’t Seem to Do Anything Until the Absolute Last Minute


Published August 18, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.


Dear Reverend,

I am a world-class procrastinator. No matter what the task, work-related or not, I can't seem to do anything until the absolute last minute. Don't get me wrong: I will always meet a deadline, but I sure won't be done one second sooner. Is there any hope for me?

Dillydallier (female, 57)

Dear Dillydallier,

I wonder if we're related, because my superpower is also procrastination. And I'm only partially joking about that. Researchers from the University of Colorado have found that the tendency to procrastinate is roughly 50 percent due to genetics. However, that doesn't mean you can't change if you want to. If you ever get around to it, that is.

As long as you do things by when they need to get done, it's up to you how you get there. If you take time to ponder and percolate before tackling a task, that's cool. If putting things off to the last minute causes stress for you or those around you, that's no good.

I've found that setting a false deadline for myself never works, because I know I'm kidding myself. But there are lots of baby steps you can take toward being timelier. If you always start something the day before it's due, try to get rolling two days before. Make a list or an outline ahead of time. Set reminders on your phone.

Better yet, turn off your phone and get rid of distractions. Have a friend be an accountability buddy to keep you on task. Of course, you may just put off doing any of those things.

Studies have also shown that there is a link between high IQ and procrastination. The list of famous dawdlers is a long one: Leonardo da Vinci, Frank Lloyd Wright, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Margaret Atwood, to name a few. We may be slowpokes, but at least we're in good company.

Good luck and God bless,

The Reverend

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