Day 29: Procrastination – The Thief Of Time

“Procrastination gives you time to consider divergent ideas, to think in nonlinear ways, to make unexpected leaps.”
– Adam Grant

Recently I saw this meme on Facebook: PROCRASTINATION – THE THIEF OF TIME! It had an illustration of a thief tiptoeing with a flashlight.

It’s true. Procrastination usually implies something unfavorable, being lazy or wasting time. It’s perceived as a thief, a fault, and yes, even a vice. I’ve heard it called “opportunity’s assassin,” a “lazy man’s apology,” “the enemy of success.” Cambridge English Dictionary defines procrastination as delaying something boring or unpleasant that should be done. Yet, those adjectives don’t quite fit for drinking because it isn’t unpleasant or boring for most of us drinkers. Nor is drinking something that “should be done.”

No – I like Oxford Dictionary’s definition the best – procrastination is intentionally delaying something. Period. And it happens to be a sledge hammer in my toolbox.

As with most everything, there is a yang side to procrastination. Here is why we SHOULD procrastinate:
• Something doesn’t feel quite right about doing it right now (too early, too late, bad timing).
• NOT doing something is needed for a good result (an abstaining commitment for the day).
• The best strategy in this situation is to “wait and see” (maybe the urge will pass).

Isn’t that what we’re doing with Dryuary or when we do a 30 day abstention period? Putting off drinking until day 31 or 32? Deliberately delaying that drink over and over, one day at a time. For those of you who have nearly completed Dryuary, you may be looking for some February moderation tools, and here is one you’ve already been practicing all month long!

When we decide to abs for the day, we don’t need to think ahead 24 or 36 or 136 hours, we just need to decide to procrastinate that first drink – 10 minutes, an hour, until tomorrow. Focus on what doesn’t feel right about drinking at that moment, wait and see if the urges may subside. Those drink urges are strong, aren’t they? For me, an urge feels somewhat like hunger, as though I have a need to satisfy. But what I’ve discovered time and again is that, unlike hunger, the urge usually subsides if I don’t feed it right away. Kind of like eating that first potato chip.

I tell myself “I won’t drink just yet, I’ll finish the laundry first, I’ll pour one after Jeopardy or I’ll wait until 8 PM.” The story in my mind is that I’m surely going to indulge the urge, but just not yet. Then I focus on something else. In short time, the urge either dissipates, returns, or I totally forget about it. They seem to occur equally for me, thus I am generally able to abstain at least 2/3 of the time. If I do give in to the urge later, there is less time to drink before the evening is over and a better chance of sticking to one drink. So it’s a win-win-win proposition for me.

Mindfulness is a good practice to pair with the procrastination. It is quite difficult to get carried away with an urge when I am focused on painting a watercolor, writing in my journal or concentrating on nature during a walk outdoors. I practice living in the moment rather than living in the drinking narrative of my mind. I think of it as starving the urge.

So maybe there should be another meme that says, PROCRASTINATION – THE BENEFACTOR OF MODERATION. And it would picture the thief tiptoeing off with your drink while you are involved in reading a good book.

Post Submitted By: Bee Brown, MM Member