Monday, February 07, 2011

Put Off Procrastinating

A little while ago I wrote a post about conquering your fears when it comes to becoming an entrepreneur, featuring a link to a really great article regarding the same subject.  The advice given is great for anyone who finds themselves stuck, unable to move forward, even if they aren't an entrepreneur.

Along the same lines of letting fear get in the way of getting things done I'm going to now address the obstacle of procrastination.

We all know how easy it is to put things off.  There are much more enjoyable things we'd rather be doing instead of what we know we should be doing, or more importantly what must be done.  You find yourself saying "there's always tomorrow" (Clarice in the holiday favorite Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer) or "tomorrow is another day" (Scarlet O'Hara in Gone With The Wind).  The thing is, we might be getting a high score on our favorite video game but the necessary things in life just don't get done.  Procrastination, like the fear mentioned above, is just another obstacle to moving forward in our lives.

Over a week ago I was disappointed at all the things I didn't get done, most of which concerned housework and other home-related tasks.  Husby said to me "you've got next weekend to get this stuff done."  Truth of the matter was I didn't even have to wait until the next weekend to complete the tasks on my list.  I could have worked on them throughout the week.  But did I?  Hell no.  I had next weekend to complete the tasks so I lollygagged around all week accomplishing next to nothing.

Then the weekend came.  All set to be the white tornado around the house I was prepared to hunt dust bunnies and wash a window or two, just to mention a couple of nagging chores I had left behind from the weekend before.  Then, at 2:20 a.m. on Saturday after getting about three hours of sleep I got a phone call.  Someone needed a ride to the emergency room.

Of course the health of a family member always takes priority over washing dishes or doing laundry.  But let me just say that the trip to the emergency room extended into an entire weekend of hospital time.  Ensuring the well-being of the person who fell ill was of course the most important thing on my mind.  The weekend consisted of many hours of watching and waiting and assisting and very few hours of sleep.

During the short amounts of time I was at home throughout the weekend I met up with the dust bunnies and they mocked and taunted me.  "We know you hate us," they said.  "We're taking over your house even though you're stronger than us and our destiny is in your hands.  Thank you for allowing us to survive and multiply.  Because you procrastinated last week we now rule this dwelling and will torment you." 

The point is "there's always tomorrow" and "tomorrow is another day" do not always ring true.  Unforeseen circumstances much greater than what you have on your list of things to do may crop up, leaving the plans you put off until "tomorrow" lying there limp, lifeless, and unfinished. 

Making sure a sick family member is taken care of does not constitute procrastination, but that high score on the video game, watching that movie you've seen twelve times, and updating your status on Facebook and reviewing the updated statuses of your 395 "friends" does.  I played that video game, watched that movie, and spent a lot of time on Facebook during times I should have been killing the relentless dust bunnies. 

Get stuff done during the time you budgeted to get the stuff done.  Just do it.  Live in the moment of the task at hand without distraction.  You'll feel so much better about yourself and your accomplishments.  Then, when something spontaneous presents itself to you, whether it is an emergency or an invitation to an impromptu party, you can tend to that without distraction too. 

My dad always said, "plan your work and work your plan."  Great advice.  Work that plan today, because tomorrow, for whatever reason, you might not be able to.

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