spending time with an old friend

I find myself spending time with an old friend today, a friend named procrastination. Over the years, I’ve written about time spend with this old friend, here and here if you’re interested. What I find interesting about today’s visit is that they mentioned something I hadn’t realized before.

I often feel bad about procrastinating; I think of it as spending time not doing something needs to be done. But as they mentioned, dropping a line into a conversation about something else, sometimes what we think of as procrastination is actually just the making of a judgement of the order of importance of things.

We all have many things we want to do, and at any particular moment in time, we can do only one of them. This is one of the lessons I’ve worked my way through, which is that there is no such thing as proper multitasking. There is serial focus on individual tasks, with quick switching between the tasks, but I’ve come to realize that at least for me, I can do one thing at a time.

At this moment, writing these words, I feel as through I’m sitting at a table full of projects old and new; each of them is making their case for my time and attention of the moment, and all I can do is to listen to their points made, some more persuasive than others, and act accordingly.

We could push this analogy a bit further. We have all had the experience of that conversation being interrupted by someone coming into the room, letting me know that there is a call. Sometimes, I can say that I’ll call back but sometimes, I have to take the call, however interesting the conversation.

And so we settle into the evening, the conversation continuing and the various projects continuing to make their cases. I enjoy their company, even knowing that as I bring each to its natural end it will leave our table. But so is the way of the world.

~ by Jim Anderson on 7 November 2021.

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