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I’m Late! I’m Late!

Whether it’s for a very important date, or a writing deadline, Wilton Patch’s columnist examines why she tends to procrastinate and always run late.

I’m trying an experiment.

I am actually writing this column early.

You see I’m typically a procrastinator. I save everything until the last minute. It’s why I usually run late, to meetings, appointments, events, dates with friends. It’s gotten so bad a friend told me she never worries about being the last one to a party or dinner, and she and her husband even say to one another, “Don’t worry, we’ll definitely get there before the Herves.”

I tell myself that I write better when I do it last minute. Sometimes I don’t even have a topic picked until 8 or 9 p.m. the night before my column runs. I’ve always been amazed that some of my “From the Driver’s Seat” columns that get the best feedback were eleventh-hour efforts. Luckily the words seem to flow, and I’ve never missed a deadline, but I’ve had plenty of conversations with myself at 1 or 2 a.m. when I’m still not finished, swearing that I’ll never procrastinate again.

Part of my problem is that I’ve grown more distractible the older I’ve gotten. Oh, I say, it’s time to check emails or Facebook, that’s a fun diversion! Of course, that always winds up taking up a larger chunk of time that I originally intended. Maybe my list of things to do has just gotten longer with the added responsibilities of adulthood and parenthood. I can be sitting at my computer writing one minute, get up to answer a phone call the next, and on the way notice some gear or laundry that needs to get put away. Next thing you know, I’m cleaning the kids’ rooms or going through the bills because I spotted my checkbook on the counter next to the phone. And ooh, I haven’t talked to my sister in a while, let’s give her a call! Writing that column can wait just a little bit more.

Sometimes I’m late because I misjudge how long something will take. It’s sort of inevitable that the time I’ve set aside to run an errand or finish a task is never enough. I’ve tried every trick in the book—setting my clock ahead, ‘lying’ to myself about what time something on my schedule starts, setting the kitchen timer to ring an alarm. I know people who have chronically late spouses will fib on the starting time of something in order to ensure an on-time arrival or start. But it’s pretty much impossible to lie to yourself.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a major consequence happen to ‘teach me a lesson.’ I’ve never missed a plane, I’ve always gotten my articles in on time, I’ve always managed to get the kids on the bus. (OK, I may be fibbing to you on that one, but I can certainly say I can count the number of times on just one hand. Really, I swear!)

I’m writing this column on Thursday, four days before you’ll be reading it when ‘Driver’s Seat’ appears on Wilton Patch. Quite honestly, that’s unheard of in the two-year history of the column. But because I realized that this weekend will be chock full of family activities, as well as Ambler Farm Day, where I run the Vintage Photo booth.  The Sunday evening of Ambler Farm Day usually tends to be a wash because the day is so exhausting when you volunteer, so I know I won’t be able to pull my usual late-nighter to write. So voila, I’m writing this column now.

Actually, truth be told, the real reason I’m writing four days ahead of time is that I’m procrastinating doing the work I need to do to prepare for Ambler Farm Day, and writing this was as good a distraction as any!

Amo Probus October 01, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Nice start to the article HBH. I'll finish reading it later
Heather Borden Herve October 01, 2012 at 01:55 PM
AP you made me laugh this morning, thank you!
Amo Probus October 01, 2012 at 04:42 PM
HBH...glad to help create a couple of smiles today!
topdoc October 02, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Whew! At first the title of this column scared me. "I'm Late, I'm Late" But then I calmed down as I started to read. Whew.

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