Why I Never Get Anything Done

by thiszine


There are a lot of reasons why I never get anything done and, perhaps oddly, chronic procrastination is not among them. As a kid I procrastinated constantly on every school assignment, from a diorama of the solar system (back in the days when Pluto was still considered a planet) to math homework (I hated math) to adding the finishing touches to my “novel” in the fifth grade. Since those years, it’s become nearly impossible for me to sit still for anything except eight hours of sleep each night, and even that annoys me as I wonder why I’m wasting one-quarter of my day drooling into my pillow.

So if procrastination isn’t the problem, what is?

I blame books. I blame reading.
I may, even, blame the Internet and all its magical portals that lead me to worlds far and wide (also known as the eighteen tabs I have simultaneously opened in Firefox).

I love books and reading both, so it seems unfair to blame them for my problems of never getting anything accomplished. But it’s true. Have you seen my Goodreads list? I’m usually reading several books at time, from novels to non-fiction to short story collections to poetry. No one has ever called me a one-book pony, though I sometimes wonder if I wouldn’t get more reading done by focusing on just one at a time.

With so many books being published, magazine articles to read, and blog posts to keep up with, how can I find time to clean my house? Or cook dinner? I have to squeeze reading time into every available nook and cranny in my life if I actually want to get on with my life. I go to the gym only if I can prop a book or magazine on the treadmill for company as I lumber along. While everyone else bops away on their iPods and watches “The Office” re-runs on television, I read about the rise of Cosmopolitan’s controversial femme, Helen Gurley Brown, or a fictionalized account of the pitiful American health care system. Sometimes, I even read The New Yorker. At the gym. On the treadmill. With a five pound weight in each hand. Am I a nerd? Yes. Am I a fit nerd? Hell, yes.

I live in a metropolitan city with great public transportation system (most of the time) that makes for the perfect reading time. Commuting to and from work, to dinner with friends, or to a movie, I skip the sudoku for a book instead.

Despite all my attempts to twist reading around my life, I still feel as if I’m not reading often enough to keep up. An overwhelming number of books are published each year and in the almost 600 hundred years since movable type revolutionized book printing, a nearly infinite number of ancient texts, classic works, and publisher’s backlist beckon to be read.

So I never get anything done. Although, I suppose there are worse ways to spend one’s time. At least I’m not manufacturing dynamite or playing World of Warcraft. I’ll take reading over most pursuits any day.


7 Comments to “Why I Never Get Anything Done”

  1. It is certainly a lovely post. An information something like this demonstrates just how steeply the concept is actually thought of by creator.

  2. You mean people let you read books in public places?! I have yet to be able to read a book on a plane, at a playground, in a library, etc without being interrupted.

    • I think in DC (where I live) people prefer not to talk to others, so books (and iPods, laptops, etc) are convenient ways to avoid that.

      Or maybe I just look far less friendly and approachable than you. Who knows? 🙂

  3. Reading is always productive! Keep up the good work, I applaud your efforts and I agree, so much to read, so little time. Lately I’ve had a couple of books going and I think you’ve defined it. Not wanting to fall behind on what SHOULD be read but trying to keep up with all the good things that are coming in–it’s exhausting! Thanks for your great, insightful thoughts. Now off to read!

  4. My human says “Thank heavens for folks like you.” His axiom is that, “Open minds, open books.” Keep on reading!

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