Procrastination is defined as “To put off from day to day; to delay; to defer to a future time.” (New Webster’s Dictionary, College Edition). I procrastinate. It has defined me for most of my life. In fact, barring death and major crimes, most of the bad things that have happened to me in my life has stemmed from me not doing something when I’m supposed to.
It’s a curse.
The thing that always gets me when I finally do something that I’ve been putting off is that it normally takes such little time and effort.
For example, I bought a very large container of kitty litter that I absolutely hated. The cat didn’t seem fond of it either, so I stopped using it. I managed to get it out of the basement and out to the carport–no easy deed as it was about 40 pounds of cat gravel. My thinking was that I could keep it in my trunk in case I ever got stuck in the snow. That was last winter.
Yesterday, I put the litter into my trunk. Took me about 20 seconds. I’d been moving that damn bucket of cat dirt out of my way for almost a year! Twenty seconds.
It made me think a lot about how inconvenient I make my life by delaying doing things. Little things when left undone somehow turn into projects. Dishes, for another example. When I do the dishes right after dirtying them, they clean easily and it takes me just minutes. But I hate to do dishes so I put it off. Then simple easily rinsed food residue turns into hard, cement-like and very icky stuff that needs to be soaked and scrubbed.
So why do I procrastinate? I don’t know. Back in my 20’s when I was seeing a shrink, he said I was still waiting for my mother to pick up after me. I don’t think that’s valid anymore seeing as how she’s been gone now for more than 50 years.
So I really don’t know. Maybe part of me doesn’t think that anything is worth doing unless it’s hard.
I remember years ago a grandkid told me in a rather exasperated tone of voice, “Just do it and then it’s done!” I’m sure she was parroting my daughter who is one of those go getter types who never puts anything off and files her taxes the day after she gets her W2. An annoying woman. Still, I’ve never forgotten those words coming out of the mouth of a 5 year old.
I will always have the tendency to delay and defer. But at least I’m aware of it. I’m getting better. I pay my taxes on time without the last minute extension. I no longer let the trash overflow before taking it out. I make my bed–usually–every day.
It’s a journey, right? I can’t be the only person who has let procrastination rule them. What are your stories, and what have you done to combat it? I’d like to know I’m not alone.