To Our Readers

By John Flanagan

Saturday, August 7, 1999

the mother of

THE guilty secret of many journalists is that without daily deadlines many of us would manage to produce absolutely nothing.

I say this having spent the past 90 minutes inanely surfing the Internet rather than buckling down to compose this article. Lucky for me, it's due in the morning.

All my life I've procrastinated and suffered guilt pangs over projects I've avoided. The garage that needs cleaning, the bottom of the boat that needs painting, the 20 pounds that needs losing, the safety sticker that needs renewing... the list goes on.

Most jobs I avoid aren't really so bad. For example, I could put off filing our tax returns right up until the last possible extension, but my wife knows, if she can just get me started, I'll soldier right on through and have them done in an hour.

Still, I wonder if non-procrastinators ever know the special joy we foot-draggers experience when we finally accomplish a task we've put off for, oh, say ... a decade. Is life really worth living, never knowing the sweet relief of returning a library book with a $67.75 fine?

There's joy in finally dumping a six-foot stack of old newspapers, bundle by bundle, into a recycling bin. A hesitation of a few months can turn a routine haircut into a spiritual reawakening. Discovering that the dentist won't have to pull that tooth after all is an almost sensual delight.

Lately, my home computer has been my tool of tardiness, my device of dalliance. For three weekends, I've put off more pressing projects while I programmed, networked, downloaded and troubleshot.

It now effortlessly performs games, music, news, investing, video, voice telephony, slide shows, mail, bill paying, picture editing -- the list goes on.

The more I worry about the other things that need doing, the harder I work to perfect my systems.

There's nothing like a few long-overdue projects to prompt creative time wasting. Forget mowing the lawn -- today I'm backing up my hard drive.

John Flanagan is editor and publisher of the Star-Bulletin.
To reach him call 525-8612, fax to 523-8509, send
e-mail to or write to
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hawaii 96802.

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