Procrastinate Much? by
(241 Stories)

Prompted By Procrastination

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I was always the girl who was on time, organized, and started assignments well before they were due. No all-nighters or late homework for me. Birthday greetings and gifts — always presented early if not on the exact date. I came by these traits honestly. My father always paid bills the day they arrived and my mother was a firm believer in the Benjamin Franklin adage, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”

I was always the girl who was on time, organized, and started assignments well before they were due.

But, I married a guy who used to be a huge procrastinator. He followed Mark Twain’s version of the Franklin quote, “Never put off till to-morrow what you can do day after to-morrow just as well.” Some attribute this quotation to Oscar Wilde, but whatever — that was the guy I married. When we met in college, he was the one cramming for tests at the last minute. We had one class together before we started dating, Sociology 101. He rarely came because it met early in the morning, borrowed and copied my notes, and read them the night before the final. Granted, I got an A while he got a B, but still he had a lot more time than I for fooling around.

Once he started medical school, he was nervous enough about the workload to yield to my suggestions that he go to bed at a reasonable time and learn the material as he went along. We married after that first year, once he was secure about not flunking out, and he credits me with having a good influence on his study habits. Perhaps I had too great of an influence, as I unleashed his hidden tendency for perfectionism. Not only did he do well in medical school, but he developed an incredible work ethic that bled into our home life. If something broke, he needed to fix it right then. If something needed to be done, he took care of it immediately.

Somehow, after 54 years of marriage, we have switched roles. While not exactly a procrastinator, I am definitely into more of a time management mode these days. More often, I whine, “Do we really have to take care of that right now?” His usual response is, “Why not get it out of the way?” Perhaps I’m tired of being the girl who always took care of business right away. Maybe it’s the pandemic slowdown of life, or retirement, or simply my age. Maybe it’s my more casual attitude toward things being good enough rather than perfect.

If marriage is akin to sitting on a seesaw, to achieve balance, one side may have to go up when the other goes down. That’s where we are these days, with me being the one who tends to procrastinate a bit. Somehow, this works for us as I try to ease my perfectionist husband into retired life.


Profile photo of Laurie Levy Laurie Levy
Boomer. Educator. Advocate. Eclectic topics: grandkids, special needs, values, aging, loss, & whatever. Author: Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real.

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Characterizations: funny, right on!, well written


  1. Thanx as always Laurie for your insightful observations about these crazy things called life – and marriage! And yes I think the pandemic and retirement and our advancing ages have conspired in changing our behaviors and attitudes – but who knows!

    Let’s all just stay as healthy as we can!

  2. Betsy Pfau says:

    Laurie, I grew up like – doing everything ahead of time. It sounds like you really were a good influence on your husband-to-be (which was a good thing, given that he wanted to go to Med School, which is a real grind).

    How interesting that you’ve relaxed now, perhaps due to aging or COVID. I’ve seen the same attitude in my husband, who used to be on time (like me), but now thinks nothing of walking into parties, or other engagements late (I understand that one doesn’t have to arrive at the moment the party is called for, but his attitude does make me nervous). Maybe it is the aging thing, as you say. Or just the way the world works.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      I’m not sure what it is, Betsy, but sometimes I do lose track of time and end up being late. Not for things like doctor’s appointment, but I always think I can do one more thing before leaving for a social engagement. When I check the time, yikes, now I am late.

  3. Marian says:

    Very acute take on the relationship between procrastination and perfectionism, Laurie. It’s terrific that you and your husband have achieved that see-saw balance. I hold to my do-it-now approach but am working on my perfectionism. The downside is that people are so used to my doing everything as well as possible that when I do “good enough” they are disappointed!

  4. Suzy says:

    Laurie, I love how you and your husband have switched places on the “do it immediately” versus “procrastinate” scale. Perhaps marriage really is like a seesaw. That’s a great simile, and I now have to think about how it applies to my own marriage, if at all.

  5. Khati Hendry says:

    Great story, and one that resonates with me. I was raised to be on time, and Sally was a hopeless procrastinator. We haven’t exactly changed roles, but have rubbed off on each other and sometimes it is a happy medium, while other times the worst of both worlds.

  6. This was a very enjoyable story. May I use the seesaw concept in other contexts? For instance, if my marital partner is very conscientious about aspects of our house or plumbing or wiring or tiles that are falling apart, might it be a good thing if the other partner was completely oblivious? I await your answer with ‘bated breath.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      That’s a tough question, Dale. It’s good the one member of the team is conscientious about these tasks, but are you really oblivious? In my case, I do see what needs to be done but try to provide some balance over the need to take care of everything immediately. On the other hand, plumbing, wiring, and tiles do seem important. I guess I’m saying not everything is a 5-alarm fire.

  7. I like the way you have mellowed out from your younger ahead-of-time self; I like the image of you and your husband seesawing into equilibrium (harmonizing?). As for me, I’ve rarely met a task I didn’t try to put off, although sometimes the accumulation of too many things put off precipitates a binge of get-it-doneness, sometimes a desperate binge, but usually it passes before I get too much done.

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