For most of us, most of the time, procrastination is a bad habit, a self-defeating behavior triggered by laziness, insecurity, fear of failure, fear of success, stubbornness, pride, avoidance, denial, or a myriad possible triggers. But chronic procrastination can be as perilous, and as troublesome, as any other addiction, eventually harming not just oneself, but others.
The things we put off, defer, and delay are things that require our attention for a reason. In the absence of action, those things don’t just wait for us like stuffed animals in the closet; the problem/task/chore actually becomes worse, harder to accomplish, more difficult to face, and will, in the long run, take more time and energy (and money, probably) than if we’d just DONE THEM when they came up.
- Bathrooms left uncleaned for another day gather another layer of grime and soap scum and whiskers in the sink, increasing the amount of time and scrubbing bubbles it will take to do the job. (Is anyone else still annoyed that “scrubbing bubbles” do not actually have little eyes and expressions like they did on the commercials of our youth? And yes, that is Tigger’s voice.)
- Tiny water leaks left to themselves eventually turn into big leaks that demand things like mold abatement procedures and new drywall.
- Funky sounds in the car engine are harbingers of BIG funky sounds to come, the kind that ask you to shove lots and lots of dollars into your auto mechanic’s pocket and require a tow truck.
- Paperwork left undone leads to bills that go unpaid, intrusive calls from collection agencies, and extra money spent on late fees and increased interest rates. In other words, you’re gonna PAY for not paying. If that is not the epitome of stupidity, I don’t know what is.
- Health care check-ups and symptoms of physical illness that go ignored… Well, those can lead to an early grave, or they can cause an illness that might have been easily treated to become something much more complicated.
I hate procrastination just as surely as I’m guilty of it myself.
Thus far, MY procrastination has only served to cost me, put off my productivity, and cause me to have my fair share of regrets about the way I’ve spent my time on this planet. I don’t want to reach the point where what I procrastinate begins to wreak havoc in the lives of the people around me. Therefore, I’m taking up a personal anti-procrastination campaign (for myself, because if you live with procrastinators, you know that the best way to make their procrastinating WORSE is to try to get them to stop procrastinating) for the month of August.
I’m going to make a list of all the things I’ve been putting off, delaying, deferring, avoiding, and ignoring, and give them specific dates and times for completion on the calendar. Appointments for the kids for shots, for the dog for shots, for my annual physical exam, to go to the dentist, to change the oil, to fix that hole in the tile in the bathroom shower, to finish writing that novella, to establish a consistent schedule that includes all the things I keep procrastinating (writing, exercise, cleaning) and leaves out all the junk I fill that time with (mindless Internet surfing, random wasted time, staying up too late, getting up too late, etc. Heck, the amount of time I spend avoiding doing what I need to do at least equals or surpasses the amount of time it takes to DO those things.)
And when am I going to make that list?
Today. As soon as I finish this post, in fact.
Who else is up for some anti-procrastination measures? Still not convinced? Check out the following quotes.
Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James
Too much to do?
Every duty which is bidden to wait returns with seven fresh duties at its back. ~Charles Kingsley
It’s too hard?
Procrastination makes easy things hard, hard things harder. ~ Mason Cooley
Not enough time?
Procrastination is the thief of time. ~ Edward Young
Too busy? You may delay, but time will not. ~Benjamin Franklin
Need to “think about it” first? (This one is my personal weakness.) To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing. ~Eva Young