Transcript: Mark Kingwell on the Art of Procrastination | May 18, 2003

Mark Kingwell stands on a wooden podium with a sign that reads "Theatre ROM."
He's in his forties, clean-shaven, with short brown hair. He's wearing a brown suit with a matching shirt and tie.

He says WHAT I THOUGHT
I WOULD TALK ABOUT TONIGHT IS A
SUBJECT THAT I BELIEVE IS CLOSE
TO ALL OF OUR HEARTS, NAMELY
PROCRASTINATION, OR THE ART OF
PUTTING THINGS OFF, AND, UM,
YOU'LL SEE AS, AS I GO ALONG, MY
PERSONAL REASONS FOR ADDRESSING
THIS TOPIC, BUT, UH, I HAVE
NEVER THOUGHT OF MYSELF AS A
GREAT PROCRASTINATOR UNTIL
RECENT MONTHS PROVED ME WRONG
AND, UM, AS, AS A WAY OF COPING,
I GUESS, AS MUCH AS ANYTHING
ELSE, I TRIED TO ENGAGE A
PHILOSOPHICAL INVESTIGATION OF
PROCRASTINATION, THIS IS MY WAY
OF, YOU KNOW, DEALING WITH THE
THINGS THAT I THINK ARE GETTING
ME DOWN, UM, AND, UH, WELL,
YOU'LL SEE, UH, SO I BEGIN WITH
A FANTASY.
AND THE FANTASY WAS ALWAYS THE
SAME.
I WOULD BE WATCHING TELEVISION,
USUALLY SPORTS, ON THE SINGLE
BLACK AND WHITE, 10" TELEVISION
THAT I HAD IN MY NEW HAVEN
APARTMENT DURING SOME DARK DAYS
IN THE LATE 1980s IN GRADUATE
SCHOOL AND I WOULD SEE HIM, I
WOULD SEE THE GUY, THE GUY WITH
THE SIMPLE JOB, THE GUY WITH NO
WORRIES.
THE GUY WHO STOOD ON TOP OF THE
GIANT SLALOM RUN AT KITZBUHEL,
WEARING THOSE COOL SUNGLASSES
AND A TOQUE, WHO TOLD THE SKIERS
TO WAIT FOR THE LONGINES
COUNTDOWN TO BEGIN.
OR THE GUY WHOSE ONLY JOB WAS TO
DRILL THE FRONT RIGHT WHEEL LUG
NUTS AS FAST AS POSSIBLE DURING
A PIT STOP.
THIS GUY.
THIS GUY WITH THE SIMPLE JOB AND
I WOULD ENVY THIS GUY, WHOEVER HE WAS.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Mark Kingwell. University of Toronto. The art of procrastination."

Mark continues I LONGED FOR THE UTTER
SIMPLICITY OF HIS TASK IN LIFE.
THIS GUY, I THOUGHT, THIS GUY
HAS GOT IT MADE.
HE'S JUST DOING THIS ONE SIMPLE
THING THAT MAKES UP THE ENTIRETY
OF HIS PROFESSIONAL IDENTITY.
TELLING SKIERS ONE AFTER THE
OTHER, GO, GO, GO.

[Laughter]

Mark continues DRILLING THE
LUG NUTS, NEEH, NEEH.
HE DOESN'T HESITATE, HE DOESN'T
STRESS, THE JOB HAS GOT TO BE
DONE WELL, BUT IN THE AMBIT OF
HUMAN ACHIEVEMENT, IT'S
PERFECTLY BALANCED.
JUST DEMANDING ENOUGH TO KEEP
HIM INTERESTED, WITHOUT CALLING
FOR ANY HIGH PERCENTILE SKILL
SETS THAT MIGHT BELONG TO THE
ACTUAL SKIER OR DRIVER.
I HAD NO IDEA WHAT SORT OF LIFE
PATH OR EDUCATIONAL PROFILE
BROUGHT YOU TO ONE OF THESE
POSITIONS.
COULDN'T AT ALL JUDGE THE
RELATIVE DISTANCE FROM MY OWN
ARC, SITTING THERE ON THE COUCH
IN NEW HAVEN, TO THIS GUY'S
POSITION, IN KITZBUHEL OR
INDIANAPOLIS, BUT I WANTED TO BE
THAT GUY.
I WANTED VERY MUCH TO BE HIM,
INSTEAD OF WHO I WAS AND THAT
WAS MAINLY BECAUSE I WAS,
INDEED, A GUY SITTING ON A
CRUMMY LITTLE COUCH IN A CHILLY
ONE-BEDROOM APARTMENT, WATCHING
SPORTS ON TV INSTEAD OF WRITING
MY DOCTORAL DISSERTATION.
NOW STOP ME IF YOU'VE HEARD THIS
BEFORE, GRADUATE STUDENT IS
PROCRASTINATING, AVOIDING WORK.
HE IS FANTASIZING ABOUT LIFE
ELSEWHERE OR JUST, YOU KNOW,
LIFE, INSTEAD OF WRITING HIS
DISSERTATION.
STOP ME IF YOU'VE HEARD THIS ONE
BEFORE, BECAUSE THEN I WON'T
HAVE TO DO ON AND DESCRIBE TO
YOU WHAT A PIT OF DESPOND I
FOUND MYSELF IN DURING THESE
YEARS.
I DON'T KNOW IF GRADUATE SCHOOL
IN THE HUMANITIES IS AN
ESPECIALLY ACUTE SITE OF
PROCRASTINATION, WHAT WITH ONE
THING AND ANOTHER, I RATHER
THINK IT IS, BUT I DO KNOW THAT
IT HAS TAKEN ME MORE THAN 10
YEARS TO GET TO THESE THOUGHTS
ON PROCRASTINATION, WHICH I'VE
BEEN MEANING TO WRITE SINCE ONE
OF THOSE SATURDAY AFTERNOON
EPIPHANIES ABOUT MY ALTERNATIVE
LIFE AS THE UNCONFLICTED SKI RUN
FUNCTIONARY OR PIT STOP
MECHANIC.
A PHILOSOPHY OF PROCRASTINATION
CRIES OUT TO BE COMPLETED, I
THOUGHT THEN.
AN EXAMINATION OF
PROCRASTINATION'S PECULIAR
PHENOMENOLOGY, ITS INGENIOUSLY
TWISTED LOGIC.
ITS INTRICATE MIXTURE OF SELF-
JUSTIFICATION AND SELF-LOATHING
AND SELF-PITY.
ITS SELF-DEFEATING SPIRALS OF
DEFENSIBLE DEFERRAL.
ITS PARALYSING PLEASURES AND
SUBTLE PAINS AND SO ON AND SO
ON, SPRAWLED THERE ON THE COUCH.
THIS MOMENT WAS ACTUALLY A, A
KEY REVELATION IN
PROCRASTINATION, IN FACT,
BECAUSE ITS ESSENCE LAY NOT
SIMPLY IN AVOIDING WHAT OUGHT TO
BE DONE, NAMELY THE DISSERTATION
I WASN'T WRITING BUT SHOULD HAVE
BEEN, BUT IN THINKING OF OTHER
THINGS THAT COULD BE DONE,
NAMELY WRITING AN ESSENCE ABOUT
PROCRASTINATION, EVEN WHILE NOT
DOING THEM EITHER.
AS ALL OF ITS DEDICATED
PRACTITIONERS KNOW,
PROCRASTINATION IS FAR MORE
CREATIVE THAN MERE LAZINESS.
LAZINESS IS FOR WIMPS.
PROCRASTINATION IS ONLY
DISTANTLY RELATED TO THE PASSIVE
AFFLICTION OF LAZINESS.
PROCRASTINATION IS VERY ACTIVE,
THOUGH NOT IN THE WAY THAT THE
REFORM MINDED SURGEONS OF
PROCRASTINATION WOULD HAVE YOU
BELIEVE.
IN OTHER WORDS, PROCRASTINATORS
DON'T ACTUALLY DO NOTHING, THIS
IS A MISNOMER.
THEY DO ALL KINDS OF THINGS,
THEY SORT MAGAZINES OR MAKE
SHOPPING LISTS OR FAMOUSLY,
SHARPEN PENCILS.
THEY PLAN ESSAYS THAT THEY MIGHT
WRITE IN THE FUTURE.
THIS DISPLACED ACTIVITY IS WHERE
THE REFORMER OF PROCRASTINATION
SEEKS TO IMPOSE THE OTHERWISE
MISPLACED USE VALUES OF THE
NEGLECTED MAIN TASK.
THE THOUGHT HERE IS, INSTEAD OF
SHARPENING PENCILS, OR, INDEED,
WHEN A SUFFICIENCY OF PENCILS
HAS BEEN SHARPENED, MAKE A LIST
OF THE TASKS THAT YOU ACTUALLY
HAVE TO ACCOMPLISH.
FURTHERMORE, BREAK THE
OVERWHELMING TASKS INTO
MANAGEABLE, SMALLER ONES AND
MAKE A START THAT WAY.
LISTS ARE GOOD, LISTS WILL HELP
YOU, LISTS MAKE LIFE MORE
SUBMISSIVE TO SENSE.
A LIST IS A TOOL FOR WORKING
WITH.
YOU HAVE A LIST IN YOUR HAND,
YOU START TICKING OFF THE ITEMS
ON THE LIST, PRETTY SOON YOU'RE
MAKING PROGRESS.
THE THOUSAND-MILE JOURNEY BEGINS
WITH ONE STEP.
ANY TRUE PROCRASTINATOR KNOWS
THAT THIS IS NONSENSE.

[Laughter]

Mark continues AS THE OLD
NEW YORKER
CARTOON MADE
IT CLEAR, THE THOUSAND MILE
JOURNEY ACTUALLY BEGINS WITH THE
THOUGHT THAT A THOUSAND MILES IS
A HELL OF A LONG WAY.
AS FOR LISTS,
IF YOU'RE A DEDICATED
PROCRASTINATOR, THE VERY THOUGHT
OF MAKING THEM IS ANOTHER TASK
WHICH YOU CAN AVOID.
THE WHOLE POINT OF
PROCRASTINATION'S DISPLACEMENT
ACTIVITY, IT SEEMS TO ME, IS NOT
THAT IT'S ACTIVE, BUT THAT IT'S
DISPLACED.
THIS IS THE WHOLE POINT.
PROCRASTINATORS ARE MASTERS OF
INVENTIVE SELF-DECEPTION.
BUT MORE THAN THAT, THEY'RE ALSO
MASTERS AT SEEING THROUGH AND SO
BEING UNCONVINCED BY ANY ATTEMPT
AT CORRECTIVE SELF-DECEPTION.
ONE FORM OF SELF-DECEPTION WORKS
AND IS ACCEPTED, THE OTHER FORM
OF SELF-DECEPTION, TRICKING
YOURSELF INTO WORKING, DOESN'T
WORK.
YOU CAN'T FOOL A PROCRASTINATOR
INTO DOING USEFUL WORK JUST BY
DISPLACING HIS DISPLACEMENT, IN
OTHER WORDS, DRESSING UP HIS
AVOIDANCE AS ACHIEVEMENT.
HE'S SEEN THAT ONE BEFORE.
HE PRACTICALLY INVENTED THAT
ONE.
THERE ARE, OF COURSE, NUMEROUS
ATTEMPTS TO OVERCOME THIS
DEFENCE MECHANISM OF THE
PROCRASTINATOR.
A COLLEAGUE OF MINE IN
PHILOSOPHY, JOHN PERRY, HAS COME
UP WITH WHAT HE CALLS
"STRUCTURED PROCRASTINATION,"
WHICH HE DESCRIBES IN THE
FOLLOWING TERMS.
STRUCTURED PROCRASTINATION, SAYS
PERRY, IS AN AMAZING STRATEGY
THAT CONVERTS PROCRASTINATORS
INTO EFFECTIVE HUMAN BEINGS,
RESPECTED AND ADMIRED FOR ALL
THAT THEY CAN ACCOMPLISH AND THE
GOOD USE THEY MAKE OF TIME.
THIS AMAZING STRATEGY INVOLVED A
FORM OF MENTAL TRICKERY, WHEREBY
YOU DO SOMETHING USEFUL IN THE
TIME YOU SPEND NOT DOING THE BIG
USEFUL THING YOU'RE ACTUALLY
SUPPOSED TO BE DOING, USING A
KIND OF IMPOSED HIERARCHY OF
TASKS, RANK ORDERED FROM THE
MOST TO THE LEAST IMPORTANT.
ALL PROCRASTINATORS, PERRY
CONCEDES, PUT OFF THINGS THEY
HAVE TO DO.
STRUCTURED PROCRASTINATORS
MASTER THE ART OF MAKING THIS
BAD TRAIT WORK FOR THEM.
WHAT YOU DO IS ONCE YOU HAVE THE
RANK-ORDERED LIST OF TASKS, YOU
SIMPLY CHOOSE ITEMS FROM LOWER
DOWN ON YOUR LIST AS A WAY
PRECISELY OF AVOIDING DOING
THINGS THAT LIE HIGHER UP ON
YOUR LIST.
BECAUSE THE ESSENCE OF
DISPLACEMENT IS NOT THE TASK
THAT YOU HAVE TO DO, BUT RATHER
THE TASK'S PLACE IN THE SCHEME.
AS PERRY I THINK INSIGHTFULLY
POINT OUT, IF ALL
PROCRASTINATORS HAD LEFT TO DO
WAS SHARPEN SOME PENCILS, NO
FORCE ON EARTH COULD GET THEM TO
SHARPEN PENCILS.
SO IF YOU IMPOSE STRUCTURE ON
YOUR PROCRASTINATION, INSTEAD OF
PARALYSIS, WE HAVE USEFUL, IF BY
DEFINITION LOW-LEVEL, ACTIVITY.
WITH THIS SORT OF APPROPRIATE
TASK STRUCTURE, PERRY SAYS, THE
PROCRASTINATOR BECOMES A USEFUL
CITIZEN.
THE KEY TO IMPOSING STRUCTURE,
OF COURSE, IS CHOOSING THE
APPROPRIATE ITEMS FOR THE TOP OF
YOUR LIST, SINCE THEY NATURALLY
RUN THE RISK OF NEVER GETTING
DONE.
PERRY ADVISED PUTTING THE TOP OF
YOUR LIST ITEMS THAT HAVE TWO
KEY CHARACTERISTICS, FIRST, THEY
SEEM TO HAVE CLEAR DEADLINES BUT
REALLY DON'T, SECOND THEY SEEM
AWFULLY IMPORTANT BUT REALLY
AREN'T.
AND HAPPILY, THERE IS NO
SHORTAGE OF BOTH OF THESE IN
LIFE.
AND, INDEED, IN UNIVERSITIES, AS
PERRY POINTS OUT WITH SOME
ACCURACY, THE VAST MAJORITY OF
TASKS FALL INTO THESE
CATEGORIES.
AND SURELY THE SAME IS TRUE FOR
MOST OTHER LARGE INSTITUTIONS.
THE RESULTING SELF-IMPOSED
PYRAMID SCHEME IN WHICH ONE IS
OSTENSIBLY COMMITTED TO
IMPORTANT BUT URGENT TASKS,
WHICH ARE UNDERSTOOD, AT ANOTHER
LEVEL, TO BE ACTUALLY
UNIMPORTANT AND SLACK, OFFERS
NEW VISTAS FOR THE INVENTIVE
SELF-DECEIVER TO CONQUER
PROCRASTINATION, USING, IN
EFFECT, ONE CHARACTER FLAW TO
OFFSET THE BAD EFFECTS OF
ANOTHER.
ONCE YOU START EXPLOITING THE
ASSUMED FALSENESS OF MOST SO-
CALLED DEADLINES AND QUESTIONING
THE SO-CALLED IMPORTANCE OF
EVERYTHING, YOU'RE ACTUALLY WELL
ON YOUR WAY TO A SUCCESSFUL
CAREER AS A UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR
OF PHILOSOPHY.

[Laughter]

Mark continues POSSIBLY EVEN
WITH A STERLING REPUTATION FOR
WISDOM AND HARD WORK.
UNFORTUNATELY, THIS ONLY APPLIES
TO A MINORITY OF US AND YOU'LL
STILL NEED A PhD, UNFORTUNATELY,
WHICH BRINGS ME BACK TO MY LIFE
ON THE COUCH IN THAT LITTLE
APARTMENT IN NEW HAVEN, NOT
WRITING THE PhD DISSERTATION I
WAS SUPPOSED TO BE WRITING.
LIKE MOST OF MY COLLEAGUES
STRANDED IN THE DOLDRUMS OF
DISSERTATION WRITING, I EVOLVED
MANY SPECIAL PROCRASTINATORY
TECHNIQUES, HONING TO A FINE
EDGE WHAT HAD BEEN HITHERTO
MERELY A MILD PROCLIVITY.
THIS PROCESS, IN ITS DISPLACED
WAY, RAN EXACTLY PARALLEL TO THE
VERY SAME ENTHUSIASM-KILLING
PROFESSIONALIZATION THAT WAS THE
OFFICIAL STORY OF GRADUATE
EDUCATION.
WHEREBY SOME WARM SOCRATIC
CURIOSITY IS, BY STEPS,
ANAESTHETIZED BY THE CHILLY
RIGOURS OF SCHOLARSHIP AND SO
FINALLY KILLED.
AT WHICH POINT YOU ARE GRANTED
THE DOCTORATE.

[Laughter]

Mark continues THE
SYSTEMIZATION OF MY OWN
PROCRASTINATION WAS ACTUALLY FAR
MORE SUCCESSFUL THAN THIS
PROFESSIONALIZATION OF INTEREST,
BECAUSE IT EMERGED WITH THE
ORIGINAL IMPULSE STRENGTHENED BY
EXPERT TECHNIQUE, NOT STRANGLED
BY IT.
AND NATURALLY I SPENT MANY HAPPY
MINUTES ADMIRING THIS NEAT
SYMMETRY WITHOUT ACTUALLY
WRITING ANY OF IT DOWN.
PROCRASTINATION VISITS ALL
MANNER OF PEOPLE IN ALL KINDS OF
OCCUPATIONS, BUT THERE ARE, AS I
SAID, GOOD REASONS TO SUPPOSE
THAT GRADUATE SCHOOL AND THE
HUMANITIES IS A PRIME LOCATION
FOR IT.
WHY?
WELL, AFTER SEVERAL MID-LEVEL
HURDLES ARE CLEARED, COURSE WORK
AND LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS AND A
LONG PAPER OR TWO, THERE IS A
SINGLE LARGE TASK WITH AN
UNSPECIFIED DEADLINE, WHICH IS
TO SAY, NO DEADLINE AT ALL.
THE WORK IS DIFFICULT AND YET
ENTIRELY DEVOID OF IMPACT ON THE
OUTSIDE WORLD.
THERE ARE FEW LIVELY PROSPECTS
OF A JOB AFTERWARDS, MUCH
ANXIETY ABOUT A SLIDE INTO WHAT
WE LIKE TO CALL "ADJUNCT
APARTHEID" AND YET, A PERSISTENT
DREAM OF COZY ACADEMIC LIFE
BORROWED FROM OXBRIDGE NOVELS OF
THE 1930s SOMEHOW REMAINS VIVID
ENOUGH THAT THE ONLY THING MORE
DIFFICULT THAN FINISHING THE PhD
IS WALKING AWAY FROM IT.
AND THOSE WHO DO WALK AWAY OR,
AS WE USED TO SAY, PLUCK THE
LEACH, TEND TO HAVE A HARD TIME
SHAKING OFF THEIR EXPERIENCE.
THE DISSERTATION WRITER, IN
OTHER WORDS, IS A KIND OF
CONCENTRATED EXPERIMENT IN THE
TEMPTATIONS OF PROCRASTINATION.
HE OR SHE IS ENGAGED IN A TASK
OF SEEMING IMPORTANCE, AT LEAST
WITHIN THE CHOSEN TRIBE, WHICH
FEELS AT ONCE PRESSING AND
POINTLESS.
THE TIMEFRAME FOR THIS TASK IS
JUST LONG ENOUGH TO INDUCE DAILY
ENNUI, WITHOUT BEING GENERAL
ENOUGH TO SUCCUMB TO THE EASE OF
DAILY EFFORT.
CONTRAST THIS, FOR EXAMPLE, WITH
THE TASK OF STAYING FIT, ABOUT
WHICH MANY PEOPLE EXPERIENCE
PROCRASTINATORY MOMENTS.
STAYING FIT HAS NO DEADLINE,
THERE MAY BE A TELEOLOGICAL
NOTION OF GETTING IN SHAPE, BUT
THIS IS ACTUALLY GENERAL ENOUGH
TO ACCEPT ANY EFFORT IS
WORTHWHILE.
YOU TAKE THE STAIRS INSTEAD OF
THE ELEVATOR.
EVEN WHILE BEING SUFFICIENTLY
UNDEFINED AS TO BE, IN A WAY,
UNREALIZABLE.
THIS IS ALL TO THE GOOD, ALL
EFFORT IS REWARDED IN THE TASK
OF STAYING FIT.
FINISHING A PhD, BY CONTRAST, IS
A GOAL BOTH STRICT AND VAGUE, A
FATAL CONJUNCTION.
THUS THE PRESSING NEED TO AVOID.
EVERY AVOIDED TASK HAS ITS
ASSOCIATED RITUALS, BUT IN
SCHOLARSHIP, THESE TEND TO BE
ESPECIALLY MAGICAL IN QUALITY,
GESTURING IN HOPEFUL,
SYMPATHETIC WAYS TOWARD THE
ACTUAL BUT UNPURSUED TASK.
I MEAN THINGS SUCH AS THE
FOLLOWING, ALL OF WHICH WILL BE
WIDELY RECOGNIZED AS PRACTISED
WITHIN THE TRIBE OF ACADEMIC
HUMANITIES SCHOLARSHIP.
ONE, PHOTOCOPYING JOURNAL
ARTICLES AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR
READING THEM.
WITH ITS
ATTENDANT FEELINGS OF DELUSIONAL
ACCOMPLISHMENT, AS ONE EMERGES
HAPPILY FROM THE LIBRARY STACKS,
A SHEAF OF HOT PAPER IN HAND, A
NUMBER OF ARTICLES TO ADD TO THE
BIBLIOGRAPHY.
TWO, ADDING THE CITATIONS OF
THESE PHOTOCOPIED ARTICLES TO
THE MS WORD DOCUMENT ON YOUR
COMPUTER THAT IS LABELLED
"BIBLIOGRAPHY."
THREE, READING A VERY SMALL
SUBSET OF THOSE ARTICLES AND
UNDERLINING WHAT YOU THINK OF AS
APPOSITE PHRASES WITH A YELLOW
HIGHLIGHT MARKER.
FOUR, COPYING OUT THOSE SO-
CALLED APPOSITE PHRASES INTO AN
MS WORD DOCUMENT ON YOUR
COMPUTER LABELLED "CHAPTER ONE."

[Laughter]

Mark continues FIVE, GOING
OUT OF THE ROOM WITH THE FERVENT
HOPE THAT COMPUTER ELVES WILL
ASSEMBLE THE DOCUMENTS INTO A
FINISHED DISSERTATION.

[Laughter]

Mark continues AND, OF
COURSE, SIX, REPEAT.

[Laughter]

Mark continues THE BEAUTY OF
THESE RITUALS IS THAT THEY ARE
ENTIRELY FUNGIBLE AND HAVE NO
THEORETICAL LIMIT.
ANY DECENT DISSERTATION TOPIC
HAS A POTENTIALLY INFINITE
BIBLIOGRAPHY, OF COURSE,
ESPECIALLY GIVEN THAT OTHER
DESPERATE PEOPLE, ALSO
PROCRASTINATING IN THE VERY SAME
FIELD, ARE OUT THERE, SOMEHOW,
YOU THINK, GETTING THEIR
COMPUTER ELVES TO DO THE WORK.
THERE IS ALWAYS ANOTHER BOOK TO
READ, ALWAYS ANOTHER ARTICLE TO
PHOTOCOPY, ALWAYS ANOTHER
REFERENCE TO CHASE DOWN BEFORE
ONE CAN TURN FINALLY TO WHAT WE
LIKE TO CALL THE WRITING-UP
STAGE OF THE DISSERTATION.
THIS POTENTIALLY CONSTANT
DEFERRAL, SO COMFORTING AND
PERVASIVE, IS ACTUALLY A
DELICIOUS FORETASTE OF THE
ENTIRE CONCEPTUAL UNIVERSE OF
HUMANITIES SCHOLARSHIP, WHICH IS
SO OFTEN IN THE GRIP OF WHAT ONE
CRITIC CALLED THE FUTURE
PROCRASTINATE TENSE.
THIS IS A FORM OF DISCOURSE IN
WHICH THEMES ARE INTRODUCED, BUT
NEVER PURSUED, POTENTIAL
CONCLUSIONS ANNOUNCED, BUT NEVER
ACTUALLY ARGUED FOR, OR, IN THE
MOST VIVID INSTANCE, VISITING
SPEAKERS ADVERTISED, BUT NEVER
PRODUCED.
SENTENCES IN FUTURE
PROCRASTINATE MAY APPEAR TO
EXHIBIT DECLARATIVE FORM, BUT
THEY HAVE NO SUCH DECLARATIVE
INTENT.
INSTEAD, A SERIES OF PROMISSORY
NOTES ARE ISSUED, NONE OF THEM
DESTINED FOR REDEMPTION, A TRAIN
OF THOUGHT IS REPEATEDLY
ANNOUNCED, BUT NEVER ARRIVES.
THE WRITER IS FOREVER GOING TO
SHOW SOMETHING, EVER HOPING THAT
SOMETHING ELSE WILL COME CLEAR.
AFTER THE MANNER OF THE GERMAN
PHRASE,
IMMER SCHON,
ALWAYS ALREADY, WHICH PEPPERS
THE WRITING OF FASHIONABLE
CRITICAL THEORISTS, THERE IS A
KIND OF ALWAYS NOT YET WHICH
FUNCTIONS AS THE BASIS OF THIS
WAY OF THINKING.
AND THIS MAY BE ACTUALLY THE
FINAL PROCRASTINATORY GENIUS OF
THE HUMANITIES, THAT EVEN WHEN
ACTUAL WRITING GETS DONE, IT IS
SOMEHOW STILL A WAY OF AVOIDING
A SELF-IMPOSED TASK.
WHICH IS ALL VERY INTERESTING,
BUT NOW IT'S TIME FOR ME TO TELL
YOU SOMETHING ABOUT
PROCRASTINATION.
PROCRASTINATION'S CLOSEST COUSIN
IN MOOD IS BOREDOM, THOUGH IT
REMAINS IMPORTANTLY DISTINCT.
THE PSYCHOANALYST ADAM PHILIPS
HAS DESCRIBED BOREDOM AS, QUOTE,
THAT STATE OF SUSPENDED
ANTICIPATION IN WHICH THINGS ARE
STARTED AND NOTHING BEGINS.
THE MOOD OF DIFFUSE RESTLESSNESS
WHICH CONTAINS THAT MOST ABSURD
AND PARADOXICAL WISH, THE WISH
FOR A DESIRE.
PROCRASTINATION DIFFERS FROM
BOREDOM MORE SUBTLY THAN IT
DIFFERS FROM LAZINESS.
THERE IS WAS MERELY A CASE OF
ACTIVE VERSUS PASSIVE.
IN PROCRASTINATION, UNLIKE IN
BOREDOM, ONE DESIRES ARE
ENGAGED, BUT TWISTED.
PROCRASTINATION IS NOT THE
PARADOXICAL WISH FOR A DESIRE,
BUT RATHER THE PERVERSION OF A
DESIRE THROUGH SELF-DELUDED
DISPLACEMENT.
THE PROCRASTINATOR MAY BE BORED,
BUT IT IS FAR MORE LIKELY THAT
HE STAVES OFF THE BOREDOM HE
WOULD OTHERWISE FEEL PRECISELY
BY SUBSTITUTING ANOTHER ACTION
FOR THE ACTION HE SHOULD BE
DOING.
AND SO THE ATTENDANT DESIRES OF
THE SUBSTITUTED ACTION COME TO
TAKE THE PLACE OF THE DESIRES OF
THE FIRST ACTION, WHICH IS NOT
BEING DONE.
IN FACT, IT'S ACTUALLY EVEN MORE
COMPLICATED THAN SIMPLE
SUBSTITUTION.
ACCOUNTS OF PROCRASTINATION THAT
EMPHASIZE BARE INTENTIONALITY
GET THE MATTER BADLY WRONG, I
THINK.
IN STRUCTURE, PROCRASTINATION'S
CLOSEST RELATIVE IS ACTUALLY
ADDICTION.
THE PHILOSOPHER HARRY FRANKFURT
HAS ARGUED THAT THE BEST WAY TO
UNDERSTAND THE ADDICT IS TO SAY
THAT HE HAS FIRST ORDER DESIRES
WHICH, AT THE SECOND ORDER, HE
DOES NOT DESIRE.
HE WANTS THE DRUG, BUT DOES NOT
WANT TO WANT IT.
THUS USE OF THE DRUG ENTAILS
BOTH PLEASURE, FIRST ORDER
DESIRE IS SATISFIED, AND SHAME,
SECOND ORDER DESIRE IS FLOUTED
AND THIS FURTHER EXPLAINS WHY
THE ADDICT MAY BE CONSIDERED TO
BE, IN A SENSE, AT WAR WITH
HIMSELF.
MOST OF US ARE ALSO FAMILIAR
WITH A DIFFERENT VERSION OF
DESIRE CONFLICT, NAMELY HAVING
SECOND ORDER DESIRES FOR FIRST
ORDER DESIRES WE DON'T HAVE,
THIS IS REALLY JUST THE REVERSE.
THIS IS USUALLY WHAT WE MEAN BY
WEAKNESS OF THE WILL, NICELY
CAPTURED BY A LINE FROM THE
ANIMATED TELEVISION SERIES,
THE SIMPSONS,
WHEN HOMER
SIMPSON IS APPEALED TO BY NED
FLANDERS, HIS CHRISTIAN
NEIGHBOUR AND HE SAYS, I'D
REALLY LIKE TO WANT TO CARE
ABOUT HELPING YOU, NED.

[Laughter]

Mark continues BUT I DON'T.

[Laughter]

Mark continues SO
PROCRASTINATION LOOKS LIKE
SIMPLE WEAKNESS OF THE WILL, BUT
IT ACTUALLY IS MORE LIKE
ADDICTION.
THE PLEASURE OF PUTTING THINGS
OFF IS REAL, IF OFTEN
INDEFENSIBLE.
PROCRASTINATION CAN BE A CLEAR
HEAD RUSH, AT ONCE COMFORTING
AND EXHILARATING, LIKE THE FIRST
SIP OF A COLD MARTINI.
IT CASTS DOUBT AND FAILURE INTO
A COSTLESS FUTURE.
IF THE PUTTING OFF OF
PROCRASTINATION, IN OTHER WORDS,
IS DONE BY, FOR INSTANCE, MAKING
A FEW NOTES OR ENTERTAINING A
FEW THOUGHTS ABOUT THE LARGER
PROJECT WHICH STILL LIES AHEAD,
THERE IS A CLEAR FIRST ORDER
SATISFACTION.
STILL BETTER IS THE SIMPLE,
COMFORTING THOUGHT OF HOW WELL,
HOW MUCH MORE HAPPILY AND
CERTAINLY YOU WILL APPROACH THE
TASK TOMORROW.
THE SENSE OF RENEWED PURPOSE AND
RIGHTNESS YOU WILL ENJOY AS YOU
SIT DOWN TO WRITE OR COMPOSE OR
TELEPHONE... TOMORROW.
TOMORROW EVERYTHING WILL BE MUCH
CLEARER AND THINKING THAT
THOUGHT TODAY IS, INDEED,
COMFORTING.
ALSO, HOWEVER, SHAMING AND THERE
THE SECOND ORDER COMES BACK INTO
PLAY.
BUT WHAT I WANNA SUGGEST TO YOU
IS THAT THE SHAME OF
PROCRASTINATION IS ALMOST WHOLLY
UNNECESSARY WHEN VIEWED FROM THE
PROPER PERSPECTIVE.
THIS IS WHAT YOU CAN TAKE AWAY
TONIGHT FROM THIS LECTURE.
THE SHAME SPIRAL OF
PROCRASTINATION HAS ITS OWN
FASCINATION, BUT THE MORE WE
LOOK, THE MORE WE SEE HOW
UNNECESSARY IT IS.
TAKE A COMMON KIND OF
PROCRASTINATION, FAILING TO
RETURN A PHONE CALL TO A FRIEND.
OVER THE COURSE OF PERHAPS 48
HOURS, DEPENDING ON THE
CLOSENESS OF THE FRIENDSHIP,
THIS IS NO FAILURE AT ALL.
THEN, AT A CERTAIN POINT, THE
PHONE CALL GOES FROM NOT YET
RETURNED STATUS TO OFFICIALLY
UNRETURNED STATUS.
THIS POINT VARIES, BUT WE ALL
HAVE IT, AND AT THIS POINT, THE
ISSUE OF THE CALL'S NON-RETURN
IS SUPERADDED TO WHATEVER ELSE
THE CALL ENTAILED.
NOW YOU HAVE AN EXTENDED AND
GROWING DISINCENTIVE FOR
CALLING.
AS TIME PASSES, IT CAN ONLY GET
LARGER, THE LONGER YOU HAVE NOT
CALLED, IN OTHER WORDS, THE MORE
YOUR NOT CALLING IS THE SUBJECT
OF ANY POSSIBLE FUTURE CALL.

[Laughter]

Mark continues YOU KNOW WHAT
I'M TALKING ABOUT.

[Laughter]

Mark continues THEN, AT
ANOTHER PRECISE, BUT VARYING
POINT, THE ISSUE OF THE CALL IS
TOO BIG TO FACE AND THE
POSSIBILITY OF ACTUALLY MAKING
THE CALL LOWERS TO NIL.
NOW, YOU REASON, IT'S ALMOST
BETTER NOT TO CALL, BECAUSE
CALLING WOULD BE SO FRAUGHT WITH
POTENTIAL BAD FEELING.
YOU HAVE PASSED THE POINT OF NO
RETURN.
THE CALL WAS NEVER A PAINFUL
TASK, IT WAS NEVER AVOIDED
BECAUSE UNPLEASANT, IT JUST
BECAME AN AVOIDED TASK AND THEN
AN INCONCEIVABLE ONE BY THE
PASSAGE OF TIME.
THE SHAME SPIRAL OF
PROCRASTINATION ALWAYS WORKS, OF
COURSE, WITH LETTERS AND E-MAILS
AND OTHER FORMS OF PERSONAL
COMMUNICATION AND THIS IS WHY
SO-CALLED ORGANIZED PEOPLE TRY
TO RETURN THEIR CALLS AND E-
MAILS AS IMMEDIATELY AS
POSSIBLE, USUALLY OUT OF FEAR.

[Laughter]

Mark continues SENSITIVE
SOULS FIND THE SHAME SPIRAL
TERRIFYING, BECAUSE IT HAPPENS
SO OFTEN AND SO INEVITABLY.
IT IS THE PROCRASTINATORY
EQUIVALENT OF THE DEATH SPIN
THAT CLAIMS THE LIVES OF SMALL
CRAFT PILOTS, WHO'VE BECOME
DISORIENTED IN BAD WEATHER OR
DARKNESS AND LIKE JOHN F.
KENNEDY, Jr., NOT TRUSTING THEIR
INSTRUMENTS, ACTUALLY STEER THE
PLANE INTO THE DOWNWARD LOOPS
THAT WILL EVENTUALLY ENCOMPASS
THEIR RUIN.
IT IS ALSO, OF COURSE, RELATED
IN ITS WAY TO THE INFORMATION
ACTION PARALYSIS THAT SOMETIMES
AFFLICTS AIRLINE CHECK-IN
PERSONNEL.
IN THIS FORM OF WORK, THERE IS A
NAIVE, BECAUSE OFTEN COUNTER-
DEMONSTRATED, ASSUMPTION THAT
THE FLOW OF TASKS, CUSTOMERS,
WILL MORE OR LESS SELF-REGULATE.
DURING CALM OR ONLY SLIGHTLY
BUSY TIMES, THIS MAY BE SO.
BUT THEN THERE IS A SUDDEN SPIKE
IN VOLUME AND THE ASSUMPTION IS
OVERTURNED WITH DISASTROUS
RESULTS.
WITHOUT A RELIABLE PRINCIPLE OF
TRIAGE, IN OTHER WORDS, EACH
EQUALLY IMPORTANT AND DEMANDING
CUSTOMER PILES IN RIGHT BEHIND
THE OTHER.
THE AIRLINE CHECK-IN PERSON
TRIES TO SELF-REGULATE, RANKING
THE INCOMING TASKS TO DEAL WITH
THEM MORE EFFICIENTLY, BUT THIS,
NOTICE, THIS RANKING IS, ITSELF,
A NEW TASK, WHICH LEACHES TIME
AWAY FROM THE PRIMARY TASK OF
DEALING WITH THE CUSTOMERS AND
SOON, LACKING THE NECESSARY
SCHEME OF EXTERNAL REGULATION,
AN OVERLOAD POINT IS REACHED AND
THERE IS NO PRINCIPLED WAY OF
RETREATING FROM IT.
THE SYSTEM OF ACTION WAS
PREDICATED ON STEADY BUT
STAGGERED FLOW, ON RANK-ORDERED
FLOW, IT BREAKS DOWN.
TASK GRIDLOCK, THE CHECK-IN GATE
IS A SCENE OF CHAOS.
IT SEEMS TO ME THE ESSENCE OF
PROCRASTINATION IS PRECISELY TO
DENY THE COGENCY OF TASK TRIAGE.
THAT'S WHY STRUCTURED
PROCRASTINATION, IF WE COULD
EVER DO IT, WOULD WORK, BUT IT'S
ALSO WHY STRUCTURED
PROCRASTINATION WON'T WORK,
BECAUSE WE WON'T DO IT.
THAT'S YET ANOTHER TASK TO DO,
IN OTHER WORDS.
EVEN IF LISTS ARE IMPOSED AS A
RANK-ORDERING COUNTERMEASURE TO
PROCRASTINATION, PROCRASTINATION
CAN EFFECT THE DISTURBING MAGIC
OF HAVING THE LIST ITEM MOVE
BACK TO THE TOP, MOVE BACK TO
THE TOP, DAY AFTER DAY, WEEK
AFTER WEEK, UNTIL THE MAKING OF
LISTS BECOMES THE PRIMARY
AVOIDED TASK.
WELL, YOU MIGHT BE THINKING, SO
WHAT?
YOU MIGHT BE THINKING OF SOME
PHONE CALLS YOU SHOULD BE
RETURNING RIGHT NOW.

[Laughter]

Mark continues YOU MIGHT BE
THINKING A LOT OF THINGS THAT
AREN'T GETTING ANYTHING WO...
WORK DONE.
BUT THERE'S A DEEPER LESSON
STILL WAITING FOR US, ALWAYS
WAITING AND THAT IS WHAT I'VE
BEEN MEANING TO GET TO.
SUPPOSE I AM MEANT TO BE WRITING
A BOOK.
SINCE THIS IS MY JOB OR AT LEAST
ONE KEY ASPECT OF IT, IT ISN'T
JUST ANY OLD THING I DO.
IT COUNTS AS AN IMPORTANT, MAYBE
EVEN ESSENTIAL, TASK WITHIN THE
ARTIFICIAL BUT IMPORTANT
UNIVERSE OF MEANING WITHIN WHICH
I FIND MY IDENTITY.
I AM, AMONG OTHER THINGS,
SOMEONE WHO WRITES BOOKS, AND
THEREFORE MUST CONTINUE TO WRITE
BOOKS IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN THE
COHERENCE OF MY IDENTITY.
AT A CERTAIN POINT, HARD TO
DEFINE BUT INEVITABLE, IF I HAVE
WRITTEN NO FURTHER BOOKS, I
SLIP, LIKE AN UNRETURNED PHONE
CALL, FROM THE STATUS OF
DELIBERATE OR CAREFUL WRITER
INTO THE STATUS OF FORMER
WRITER.
AND THIS SHIFT, NOTICE, IS
DISTINCT BUT ODDLY RELATED TO
THE FAMILIAR LAW, FIRST
ARTICULATED BY W.H. AUDEN, WHICH
DICTATES THAT ALL WRITERS UNDER
40 ARE YOUNG, WHILE ALL WRITERS
OVER 40 ARE FAILING TO FULFILL
THEIR PROMISE.

[Laughter]

Mark continues SUPPOSE,
FURTHER, THAT I AM 39 YEARS OLD.
SUPPOSE I AM UNDER CONTRACT TO
WRITE A BOOK.
HAVING WRITTEN A FEW BOOKS
ALREADY, THERE IS SOME LIVELY
EXPECTATION THAT I WILL NOT ONLY
WRITE THIS NEW BOOK, BUT DELIVER
ITS MANUSCRIPT IN A TIMELY
FASHION, HITTING THE DEADLINE,
AS WE LIKE TO SAY.
BUT SUPPOSE I AM HAVING SOME
TROUBLE.
THE BOOK IS NOT GETTING WRITTEN,
THE PILE OF MANUSCRIPT PAGES IS
NOT RISING FROM THE DESKTOP WITH
RELIABLE SPEED AND THE FILE
LABELLED "CHAPTER ONE" IS FILLED
WITH NOTES AND QUOTATIONS, BUT
NOT SENTENCES.
HAVING NEVER SUFFERED FROM IT
BEFORE, I WONDER IF THIS
CONSTITUTES WRITER'S BLOCK.
BUT I HAVE NO TROUBLE WRITING, I
JUST HAVE TROUBLE WRITING THE
BOOK.
OR RATHER, I HAVE NO TROUBLE NOT
WRITING THE BOOK, WHICH IS
PERHAPS EVEN WORSE.
IN THE MEANTIME, I'M WRITING
PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL
THINGS, I'M WRITING THIS COLUMN,
THIS ESSAY, THIS ESSAY ABOUT
PROCRASTINATION, BUT THE BOOK,
THE BOOK LIES UNWRITTEN DAYS ON
END.
IRONICALLY, IF THAT'S WHAT I
MEAN, ONE OF ITS TENTATIVE
TITLES IS "LOSING YOUR WAY."
IT PURPORTS, IN THE OUTLINE I
SOLD MY AGENT ON, ANYWAY, TO BE
A MEDITATION ON THE CITY AS A
METAPHOR FOR HUMAN EXISTENCE, A
COMBINATION OF CHAOS AND ORDER
THAT WE FIND IN STREET GRIDS AND
TRANSACTIONS AND THE DESIRE
MANIPULATION OF THE STREETS AND
THE INTERSECTIONS.
IT'S ABOUT READING THE DREAMS OF
WALKING THE CITY.
BUT I CANNOT WRITE IT.
I SAID THAT PROCRASTINATION MOST
OFTEN ARISES FROM A SENSE THAT
THERE IS TOO MUCH TO DO AND
HENCE NO SINGLE ASPECT OF THE TO
DO WORTH DOING.
THE TASK GRIDLOCK.
BUT UNDERNEATH THIS RATHER ANTIC
FORM OF ACTION AS INACTION IS,
IT SEEMS TO ME, A MUCH MORE
UNSETTLING QUESTION OF WHETHER
ANYTHING IS WORTH DOING AT ALL.
ONCE YOU FIND THAT YOU ARE NOT
DOING ONE BIG PROJECT, IN OTHER
WORDS, IT STARTS TO SEEM AN OPEN
QUESTION WHETHER YOU SHOULD
MAYBE NOT DO A BUNCH OF OTHERS.
PRETTY SOON, YOU'RE NOT ONLY NOT
GETTING UP AND TURNING ON THE
COMPUTER RIGHT AWAY, AND
WRITING, YOU'RE NOT GETTING UP
AT ALL.
GIVE UP ONE THING AND YOU'RE
IMMEDIATELY OBLIGED TO DO
SOMETHING ELSE, THE CRITIC JEFF
DYER HAS WRITTEN.
THE ONLY WAY TO GIVE UP TOTALLY
IS TO KILL YOURSELF.
BUT THAT ONE ACT REQUIRES AN
ASSERTION OF WILL EQUAL TO OR
GREATER THAN THE TOTAL AMOUNT
THAT WOULD BE EXPENDED IN THE
REST OF A NORMAL LIFETIME.
AND SO THAT'S NOT WORTH DOING,
EITHER.
CERTAINLY IT'S NO MORE WORTH
DOING THAN ANY OF THE OTHER
THINGS THAT YOU OUGHT TO BE
DOING.
WHICH IS ALL VERY INTERESTING,
BUT I'M JUST AVOIDING THE REAL
SUBJECT, WHICH IS THE FACT THAT
I CAN'T WRITE THIS BOOK.
AND SO HERE I AM, TRYING TO LET
GO AND SIMPLY NOT WRITE THE
BOOK, INSTEAD OF TRYING AND
FAILING TO WRITE IT, BUT I CAN'T
DO IT.
AND WRITING ABOUT
PROCRASTINATION IS NOT HELPING
ME.
IT HAPPENED
THAT I MOVED TO NEW YORK FOR A
WHILE, JUST AFTER I SIGNED THE
CONTRACT FOR THIS BOOK, THE
THOUGHT BEING THAT I WOULD WORK
HARD ON THE BOOK WHILE I WAS
THERE.
THIS SEEMED REASONABLE, NOT
LEAST BECAUSE THE BOOK, TITLED,
AS YOU MAY RECALL, "LOSING YOUR
WAY," WAS CONCERNED, IN PART,
WITH THE URBAN EXPERIENCE.
WALKING THE CITY AS A METAPHOR
FOR IDEAS ABOUT DESIRE AND
IDLENESS.
THE TROUBLE, AS I SOON REALIZED,
WAS THAT, AS SO MANY MORE HAVE
DISCOVERED BEFORE ME, IT'S NOT
EASY TO WORK IN SO HEAD-TURNING
A PLACE.
TO THE USUAL POSSIBLE
DISTRACTIONS, READING JUST ONE
MORE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK, WADING
THROUGH THOSE ARTICLES ABOUT THE
ARTICLES, CHECKING OUT THE
WEBSITES ABOUT THE WEBSITES,
WERE ADDED THE BECKONING
TEMPTATIONS OF SIMPLY WALKING
THE STREETS, INSTEAD OF WRITING
ABOUT WALKING THE STREETS.
SO I WALKED AND WALKED FOR HOURS
AND HOURS, BLOCK UPON BLOCK, THE
STREETS OF MANHATTAN.
I WALKED UPTOWN TO CENTRAL PARK,
DOWNTOWN TO BATTERY PARK, I
WALKED ACROSS THE BROOKLYN
BRIDGE AND BACK, DAYTIME AND
NIGHT, ALWAYS STOPPING IN THE
OPEN MIDDLE TO ADMIRE THE
BEAUTIFUL FRACTURED SKYLINE OF
MY ADOPTED ISLAND HOME.
I STOPPED TO LOUNGE IN MADISON
SQUARE OR BRIAN PARK, I BOUGHT
DELI SANDWICHES AND I KEPT ON
WALKING, FUELLED BY STRONG
COFFEE AND THE
FLANEUR
SENSE OF POSSIBILITY, THAT
THERE'S A REVELATION LYING
AROUND THE NEXT CORNER OR THE
NEXT.
I SAW LOTS OF REMARKABLE AND
WEIRD THINGS, AND I FELT, AS SO
MANY HAVE, THE JOYS OF ANONYMITY
THAT NEW YORK GIVES US AS ITS
UNDERRATED PRESENT.
I NOTED DETAILS OF TYPE DESIGN
AND SIGNS AND LOGOS, I PICKED
OUT ARCHITECTURAL DETAILS, I
HEARD THE VOICES OF MUMFORD AND
JACOBS IN MY HEAD.
I LOOKED THROUGH EYES
CONDITIONED BY EVANS AND ABBOT
AND BURKE-WHITE.
I WALKED OVER THOSE MUCH-TRODDEN
SIDEWALKS, ADDING MY
IDIOSYNCRATIC TRAILS TO THE
POUNCET OF THE WORLD, THINKING
AND TALKING TO MYSELF ALL THE
WHILE.
BUT NOT WRITING.
BUT NOT WRITING AND I COULDN'T
GET OVER THE FACT, THE QUESTION,
WHO WILL READ WHAT WE WRITE?
HOW MANY PEOPLE AND TO WHAT
PURPOSE?
AT WHAT POINT, ACHIEVING WHAT
VOLUME OF SALES IS A BOOK A
SUCCESS?
OR MORE SUBTLY, AT WHAT POINT IS
ANY TASK A SUCCESS AND THEREFORE
WORTH DOING?
HOW MANY MINDS DOES ONE HAVE TO
CHANGE TO JUSTIFY THE IMPOSITION
OF HAVING TRIED TO DO SO?
HOW MUCH EFFECT ON THE WORLD
DOES ONE HAVE TO MANAGE BEFORE
THE TASK ITSELF IS JUSTIFIABLE?
DO WE SPEND ENOUGH TIME, I
WONDERED, CONSIDERING HOW RUDE
IT IS, REALLY, HOW UNSEEMLY AND
ARROGANT TO FOIST OURSELVES UPON
THE WORLD IN THESE TASKS?
AT WHAT POINT DOES NOT WRITING,
NOT DOING, BECOME, JUSTIFIABLY,
NOT WRITING, NOT DOING?
AND SO, WALKING, WALKING, MORE
WALKING, WALKING, THINKING,
LOOKING UP, WALKING, THINKING
AND LOSING MY WAY AND SOONER OR
LATER, SOMEWHERE IN THERE, I
THOUGHT, LIKE SO MANY OF US,
THAT I SHOULD MAYBE STOP PUTTING
LIFE OFF FOR LATER, BECAUSE
THAT'S WHAT I'VE BEEN MEANING TO
GET TO, THAT'S WHAT I'VE BEEN
MEANING TO BE.
YOU SEE MY PROBLEM, IT'S YOUR
PROBLEM, TOO.
THANK YOU.

[Applause]

Watch: Mark Kingwell on the Art of Procrastination