Have you ever put off doing a task simply because you just didn’t feel like doing it or thought to yourself, “I will do it tomorrow”? This seems to be the mantra by which I live. Yes, I am a procrastinator and I am not exactly sure why. When I was younger, I was already gaining some insight. As a 6-year- old my mother’s delaying tactic was to tell me, “I will buy that for you, tomorrow.” To which I replied, “Why doesn’t tomorrow ever come?”
Procrastination, as defined by the Cambridge Dictionary, is to delay or postpone action; put off doing something and if you’re like me, you habitually put off doing that “something,” even if it’s your own timeline.
I find myself less motivated to carry out household chores and other necessary responsibilities, however, I begrudgingly do the “usual” chores of dusting, laundry, vacuuming, etc. What I keep “putting off” is the decluttering of our house, mainly the multiple, neatly stacked, mounds of paper, or clutter as my husband calls them, that I have accumulated and thoughtfully arranged on the dining room table, which, I have claimed as my office space several years ago.
Yes, the dining room table is my office space and secretly, I like it because I am centrally located and not tucked away in a room, hidden out of view. My office space includes my laptop, multiple piles of paper, and a white coffee mug my daughter decorated with stars, planets, and hearts. The mug is a pen-holder with the words “Love you” on the side, perhaps a subconscious reminder that my space is acceptable. All of this is carefully placed on one end of my “desk” which takes up a good portion of our 8-foot-long dining room table.
We no longer enjoy meals on the dining room table, instead, we have resorted to eating our dinner on wooden tray tables, sitting in front of the TV, on the couch. This has become our new dining room table, where we bond and catch up on our shows. Do not feel bad for us, we enjoy this new norm and use the dining room table for special occasions and when we have guests.
I like to think that my piles of papers give the illusion that they are important, although my husband would tell you otherwise. He is not happy with all my piles and routinely refers to them as clutter, which I quickly defend as “important documents and other essential reading” to which he scoffs but reluctantly accepts.
Some of the piles consist of stacked spiral notebooks with notes I have taken from the multiple meetings I attend, while other piles consist of opened mail, coupons, little notes on scraps of paper, and other miscellaneous items. The piles of paper are not the only things I save, for instance, I have over 50,000+ emails and over 10,000 photos on my phone, but that is another story.
I am not an anxious person, but lately, seeing all the piles, creates anxiety in me that makes me want to turn the other way. I would love to look around the house and imagine a beautifully tidy home free of clutter; no paper piles, containers or notebooks filled with notes from past meetings, appointments, and phone calls. The insurmountable task of organizing my desk leaves me feeling anxious and unmotivated. I walk by, dismissing their need for attention, each time, telling myself that I will get to it tomorrow.
While my family has adjusted to my office space, I cannot expect them to eat on tray tables forever. And although I have my husband convinced that my “dining room table” office is essential, I must admit the table could use some decluttering. So, I promised my husband that I would clean up the table … tomorrow.
Andrea Palladino Perez’ column appears on alternate Sundays.