Sometimes we put off doing things for very good reasons
We are quickly heading into the season of “too much to do.” I say that as if there isn’t already too much to do. Of course there is. Now, however, there is our regular “too much to do,” plus celebrations to plan and attend, gifts to decide upon, purchase, wrap and give, things to decorate and cards to write—all while fighting winter traffic and the flu. Oh, and we have to lose 10 pounds before any of it begins. Does all of this sound as absurd to you as it does to me? No wonder procrastination becomes a problem at this time of year more than others.
Procrastination tends to compound the stress of a busy schedule by adding urgency, anxiety and guilt into the mix. None of these emotions feel good, so let’s take a different perspective on procrastination. Let us see it as a giant magnifying glass to our soul. Remember, it is our subconscious that wins out to our conscious when it comes to decision making. When we procrastinate, we put off doing tasks that we think we should do in favour of doing other ones that we deem as less important. This is a wonderful opportunity to analyze ourselves and perhaps put some life changes into motion.
For instance, if you have a big project due at work and know that you have to spend the evening on it in order to complete it properly and on time, but instead you decide to check out the deals on Groupon vs Kijiji, you have just gathered some very valuable information about yourself. A) You are not all that excited about your job, and B) You may have a lucrative career opportunity in Purchase Negotiations. It is extremely important to know what makes us happy as opposed to think what will make us happy. Our actions speak louder than our thoughts, especially if they are going against what we think we want.
“Procrastinating big jobs can often spur us to complete tasks that we didn’t even know we wanted to do.”
Procrastinating big jobs can often spur us to complete tasks that we didn’t even know we wanted to do. Last year I decided that I wanted my long boring hallway painted. I kept putting it off and putting it off. It was confusing to me as to why I kept putting it off because I normally enjoy painting. I find it meditative and very rewarding. There is a big payoff for little money and effort. I suppose, now that I think of it, I do not spend much time in my hallway and therefore would not get to enjoy the fruits of my labor.
On the weekend that I finally decided to get the job done, I ended up doing several other things instead that I am now happy I did. I organized my nylon drawer by putting each pair into a Ziploc baggie and labelling each baggie in marker with “Black Opaque”, “Sheer with Gold Fleck”, or “Grey with Nordic Pattern” respectively. This task that I did not know I wanted to do has saved me countless morning minutes. I also cleaned out the freezer and Skyped with a girlfriend who had moved away, both of which felt fantastic. I never did paint the hallway. I hung some art instead and am quite satisfied.
I learned that I do not like to expend effort without an equal return, I reconfirmed that I am happily addicted to organization and that I value my good friendships. Hurray for procrastination!
“Not many people find it easy to make big lifestyle changes.”
When procrastination is about a healthy lifestyle change, the scenario is different. If you decide to watch television after work instead of go for a walk it does not mean that your soul prefers to be lazy and unfit. If you are continually starting your healthy eating habits tomorrow, it does not mean that deep down you wish to be unhealthy. These issues are more about behavioral change than a problem with procrastination. Not many people find it easy to make big lifestyle changes. In this case, I would suggest enlisting help from a professional in your area of need.