Procrastination: Your Worst Enemy

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

We all procrastinate. We say “I’ll do it later” or we’ll start a new diet on “Monday”. It’s easy to do this because we’re moving the goal posts. We haven’t failed to do something because we’re going to do it another day. Probably. Maybe? We live in hectic times with lots of responsibilities and plenty of distractions. It’s easy to juggle too much or to feel lethargic at doing something that could be done another time. Procrastination is a delay to something that could be done today. Or right now. It isn’t being lazy per se because you might genuinely be rushed or the task in front of you just simply isn’t important enough. Or you might still actually get round to doing it when you’ve said. But to delay things effectively means the following:

1.) It’s not important to you or not enough for you to dedicate the time to it sooner. In which case is it worth doing anyway? You keep avoiding that book you’ve been meaning to read. Maybe you’re not that interested in reading it. If so why buy it in the first place? If you are interested then why put off something you’ll enjoy?

2.) It is important to you but you’ve failed to properly recognise that or communicate the importance to yourself. Let’s say an exam for a course. It’s important but while it’s not immediate you keep putting it off. Until guess what? A week before you think “oh crap” and spend the next week working long hours and cramming to make up for “lost” time.

It’s a relatively modern issue. At a certain time in human history when we needed to hunt and gather food or farm our own food for example, putting things off would usually result in starvation. It’s hard to procrastinate when your survival is at stake. Over time our basic needs are usually covered to some degree. While there is still a lot of poverty and issues in the western world we don’t face the same challenges for shelter and food presented to our ancestors. A lot of the things we do in our lives aren’t life and death anymore. So we have choices – we can do something now or do it another time. There’s the common site of people late in life trying to get healthy after a heart attack or spending more time with their family once they retire not before. It’s easy to put things off – even the things we know we should do. Because we always have another day or some other time in the future to “get round to it”. What makes us think we have tomorrow? According to 2017 data around 150,000 people die every single day around the world or over 54 million a year. I’m not trying to depress you with this fact but one day you will have your last day of life. You might not even know it. It might be sudden. It might be young or “too soon”. But one day you’ll have your last meal, your last drink, your last walk, your last laugh. Think on that before you put off all those things you wish you hadn’t put off until it was too late. We all only have so much time. Don’t waste it by sitting there thinking “should have”, “could have” – don’t delay. Strike hard.

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