If you wait till the last minute...

A month ago I received a notice that my car’s registration was up for renewal. It’s the third renewal since I bought the car, and luckily you do not have to take a number and wait umpteen hours at the Motor Vehicle Association (DMV for anyone living anywhere besides Maryland) to pay your fee. Thanks to the magic of the internet, you can do all of it online.

Here’s the problem about the convenience of doing things online: if you’re a procrastinator, that online convenience just bought you a little more time towards putting it off..

People that are prompt about taking care of their affairs don’t understand why anyone would procrastinate. They methodically accomplish their tasks as they’re received, no fuss, no muss.

A go-getter would go about renewing a vehicle registration like this:
Receive notification, go to computer, log into website, purchase registration, wait for new stickers to arrive in the mail.

Done! The registration renewal is officially a thing of the past. Nothing wrong with that, right? Technically no, but this is incredibly boring, don’t you think? Part of procrastination is injecting some self-imposed drama into what would otherwise be a mundane task. Clocks tick, adrenaline pumps,and you panic (or is it the other way around--the panic causes the adrenaline to pump? Well if I'm wrong, I'm sorry, and we'll just call it creative liberty.)

Here’s how a procrastinator handles a registration renewal:

Receive notification, think: Has it been two years already? Well, the sticker says “09.” I guess it really has been two years.

Lament over the passage of two years.
Stick envelope on the dresser. It’s been two years, but this is the beginning of May and technically the registration is good till the end of May. Plenty of time!

A week later, glance at the notification while searching for some other piece of mail. Oh yeah that, you think, but it’s still pretty early in the month.

Three weeks later while away from home, the thought pops into your head: Don’t you have to renew your registration? Then you think: damn it, one more thing on the credit card. I just bought two new tires and I still have to pay for that registration.

Two days out from expiration: Better renew it soon. I’ll do it Sunday. I won’t forget.

Day of expiration: Luckily this hotel has wireless internet access. Let me log in and renew that registration.

Upon seeing that the title number is required: Damn it, that’s at home.

D-Day: After renewing (and printing out temp tag since the stickers will need some time to arrive): That took less than five minutes. Why did I put it off?

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