Old Adage: “Don’t do today what you can put off until tomorrow.”
What makes us put things off until tomorrow? Or…next week? Next year? I think of my own life when I ask this question. I have a stack of medical referrals from my HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) and I need to make appointments.
I’ll think about that tomorrow – maybe…
Psychology Today says, “Everyone puts things off sometimes, but procrastinators chronically avoid difficult tasks and may deliberately look for distractions. Procrastination tends to reflect a person’s struggles with self control. For habitual procrastinators, who represent approximately 20 percent of the population, ‘I don’t feel like it’ comes to take precedence over their goals or responsibilities and can set them on a downward spiral of negative emotions that further deter future effort.” It becomes a continuing struggle until we become disciplined enough to shake it.
What makes us put off what needs to be done? Personally, I think people tend to put off what is challenging or going to consume a lot of time. Truth is, procrastination is the absence of self control. We let circumstances control us. Instead of doing what must be done, we simply put it off because it isn’t something we really want to do.
Tax preparation is a big one for procrastination. My tax accountant knows to expect nothing from me until October – the drop-dead date for tax filing. Every year I promise her better and, every year, I lie.
It is a given.
Oh…and did I tell you I am Attention Deficit? Not an excuse – a fact. This year will be different – I hope. I try… I write down what must be done each day, then, I tackle the list. I get some of it done, but not all of it.
Housecleaning…now there’s a big one because no one wants to do it. I feel a certain sense of satisfaction when I clean house. I look around and the place looks nice. Feels good to be clean and organized – when it happens…
What to do about procrastination? I am inclined to think about that tomorrow. However, life waits for no one. If you put things off, please understand you are likely to miss out because life marches on without you. You make plans with a friend for lunch but keep canceling because you just don’t feel like lunch that day. That evening, you learn your friend succumbed to a heart attack or car accident. Or perhaps you fell upon misfortune and will never have the opportunity again. This logic can be applied to a wide variety of scenarios.
When you procrastinate you miss out.
I’ve found, though I don’t always practice this, to do things when I think about them. In short – do it now. Then, it’s done, and you don’t have to think about it anymore. Procrastination is a tough egg to crack if you’ve been doing it all your life. There are challenging elements we are born with that make procrastination hard to beat.
Take your procrastination issues one step at a time. When you’re tempted to put something off, grab the task with both hands and jump into it with both feet. In 21 days, I’ve been told, it becomes habit.