For as long as I can remember, I’ve entertained this fantasy that I’m an excellent multitasker, that I constantly amaze myself and others by doing five to ten different things all at once. Not that I can’t do this, mind you. In fact, there have been times when I actually have astounded myself by laying utter and unapologetic waste to a to-do list.
Thinking back, however, I recall that each of those situations demanded action. Finish that project or else. Get out of bed or find a new job. Feed those cats or they will find a way to eat you. And so on.
So while I can juggle projects and have even done so on occasion, it’s not one of my strengths. I wouldn’t even classify it as a fixable weakness. No, it turns out that I put off doing things because I’m lazy. My method is that I do only what absolutely must be done, and everything else is rendered negotiable.
Say a task mysteriously appears on my schedule. My first response is to perform a quick assessment: Is it urgent? If yes, it gets done. If no, to the bottom of the list it sinks, where it languishes with the other chores that failed to make the cut. Incidentally, I’m quite good at setting reminders for those relegated tasks; unfortunately, I’m equally adept at pretending they don’t exist.
So now I’ve said it. I’m LAZY. I should have the word LAZY printed on business cards and letterhead, right above my e-mail and cell number, or buy a vanity license plate. (How do you do? I might say. Nice to meet you–I’m LAZY. ) If I didn’t hate needles, I’d have LAZY tattooed on my arm, maybe in that Celtic script that’s so popular now. Make it look arty.
The good news is I can work around this shortcoming. It’s nothing unusual–just garden-variety procrastination–and I’m not alone, either. But if it’s true that I am what I repeatedly do, what does that make me? Sleep? Eating? A television? Something scooped out of a cat’s litterbox?
Okay, I’m a work in progress.
Still, I’ve often longed for an epiphany. Who doesn’t? Like in stories, I wanted a light to shine down and leave me stunned. I wanted my life to change. I felt like Bill Murray’s character in Scrooged. He wants to change–he’s ready for it. Like him, I wanted to know the secret. Hit me with it, I said. I’m waiting.
But that’s not how it works. If there is an epiphany, it’s that there are no epiphanies. There probably is no secret to life. Realizations come and go. When they arrive, they certainly seem life-changing. Faced with one, I usually feel I’ve reached a fork in the road, as if things can never go back to being quite the same.
This isn’t something I normally do, airing all my dirty laundry like this, but I figure, what the hell? What’s the worst thing that can possibly happen? It might actually help me break out of this funk I’ve found myself in, the one that’s been brewing for the past few decades. Maybe someone I know will read this and say, “Hey, I always thought you were lazy. Now I know it’s true.”
But this procrastination thing. At times, I feel like I can take on the world–not much lately, however–while at others I feel I can barely lift a finger, much less a hand.
Here’s the way things are right now: I’m mentally and physically exhausted, I’m stretched too thin, and rather than doing a few things well, I feel I’m half-assing multiple tasks reasonably so. I reach the end of the day staggered by the number of things I didn’t accomplish.
Here’s the way I want things to be:
I want a simple life.