How can I fight the time bandits?


October 17, 2012 by JL Walker

Red digital clockApril marked my two-year wedding anniversary, which also happens to be the first day I could apply for dual citizenship. But here we are, in mid-October, and still no application ready. Why is that?

Like so many fellow procrastinators (yes, I do feel like a part of larger community of putting-if-off-ers), I’m great at thinking, “I’ll make that phone call this evening,” then, when the evening comes around, I feel tired and put it off until the next day. There’s always tomorrow.

How can I overcome dillydallying over this untimed obligation? One reason I started chronicling my experience on this website was to give me another incentive to keep working on the various steps. It would seem that this just isn’t enough.

You know when you’re playing Super Mario Bros and you have a time limit on the game? If you don’t finish the level in under 5 minutes, you hear that sad, out-of-time music. Then you’re forced to start all over again and complete the level in the allotted time. In the game of life, however, you have to make your own time constraints.

There are a few exceptions to this rule. Here are some life events, mostly administrative details, that have some sort of time limit:

  • Graduate from college in four years.
  • Get to the office by 9.15am.
  • Turn in the report by the deadline.
  • Finish holiday shopping by December 25th.
  • Finish making your Halloween costume before the party starts.
  • File your taxes by tax day.
  • Get to the airport 2 hours before the flight is scheduled to leave.
  • You have 1 special day to get to the voting station and vote.
  • Pay the rent by the end of the month.
  • Pay your electricity bill by the due date or your electricity will be turned off.

Additionally, there are some chores in life that can be time-sensitive, like washing the dishes right after dinner. How do I muster the motivation to do the dishes when my tummy is full and happy, making me feel extra-lazy? I have to make a deal with myself so I can have some sort of dessert only after I finish. It usually works because as I have my hands in warm soapy water, scrubbing the pots and pans, I’m thinking about the piece of dark chocolate, the popsicle or the wee dram of scotch I’ll be having as soon as the last dish is squeaky clean.

The thing is, this particular pursuit of applying for citizenship does have a time frame: 6 months. I’ve heard from several sources that, for the Italian government, documents are only considered valid up to 6 months after they have been issued. So it looks like I will be timed for this race. Once my first official document is issued, the countdown will begin.

In order to fight this procrastination (some may call it laziness, but I beg to differ), I need to make a concrete goal and reward myself for sticking to it. Maybe something bigger than a lemon popsicle with a tasty liquorice stick.

What should I use in my carrot and stick approach? What should I set as my deadline for getting my application in? Any other suggestions for overcoming the terrible p-word?


4 thoughts on “How can I fight the time bandits?

  1. Pecora Nera says:

    How close to getting Italian Citizenship are you? I often think about applying, I like the idea of having two passports like James Bond. But after 5 years here I realise it would probably be easier to build my own spaceship.

    • JL Walker says:

      I’m actually not very cloase at this point because I’m still waiting to get my criminal records from the US. If you break it down, there aren’t too many documents to get together and I think that in a matter of a few months I should be able to submit my application. But then the waiting time for a response will probably be 2-4 years! The best things in life take time, right?

  2. […] dialed (clicked, actually) the number. A prerecorded menu, a few more clicks, then on hold. This is what I’ve kept putting off, afraid of the answers I would hear through my headphones as I got closer to the €6 […]

  3. […] After struggling with procrastination, I finally set a deadline for when I should get everything in order and submit my application. For lack of better criteria, I chose a significant date, my 3-year wedding anniversary on 10 April 2013. It seems appropriate, since the citizenship application is in fact related to my nuptials. Do you think I can do it? […]

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Date to submit applicationSeptember 10th, 2015
Time to submit my application for dual citizenship!
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