One reason that da Vinci studied so many areas was that he was as distractible as he was talented. It took him 20 years to paint Mona and he only completed the Last Supper after his patron threatened to withdraw funding. Even the Pope, Leo X, moaned about the Tuscan: ‘This man will never accomplish anything. He thinks of the end before the beginning.’
Samuel Johnson is another who would have left his internet purchases until the last minute. The creator of the first English language dictionary completed nearly all his writing at the last minute – including an essay about procrastination, which he finished while the errand boy waited outside to bring it to the printer.
And Coleridge? Well, Kubla Kahn remains unfinished and, indeed, most of his works exist only in fragments. Samuel himself referred to his procrastinatory character as a ‘deep and wide disease in my moral nature’. Perhaps, the opium didn’t help.
So, as you settle down to watch Jimmie Stewart in It’s A Wonderful Life (again) or pour yourself a large gin and tonic as you plan your Christmas Eve shopping, remember that you are in the company of the great and the good.