I literally couldn’t wait for summer to arrive. By summer, I mean my summer holidays. Two long, glorious months stretched out before me – I drooled at the thought. I made lists, even tentative schedules, of the things that I wanted, and needed, to do and how I desired to spend my time, kicking it all off with a fabulous long weekend celebrating Canada Day.
After that first weekend, which was, indeed fabulous, we came back home to await the rest of the summer. ‘I need a week to catch up on sleep!’ I joked. But, in all seriousness, I did. One can only sleep for 5-6 hours a night for so long before it catches up with you! So, sleep I did. It is now the second week of my summer vacation and while I have accomplished a few things here and there (and yes, probably more than I realize), I feel that sleeping is pretty much all I’ve done!
Oh I’ve sorted through things, literally and figuratively, came to some interesting realizations, and drew some conclusions about issues in my life, but I’m actually quite disappointed that I haven’t DONE more with my time. Procrastination has reared its ever so tempting head.
(Photo courtesy of makeuseof.com)
PsychologyToday.com states that “everyone procrastinates sometimes, but 20 percent of people chronically avoid difficult tasks and deliberately look for distractions.”
‘There’s always tomorrow’. ‘There are actually nine long weeks of this summer vacation, surely I will spring into action in August when it is a bit cooler (maybe?)’. ‘It’s too hot to clean out that closet upstairs so I’ll do it later’. ‘The kids are playing nicely downstairs so I don’t want to disrupt them to clean that closet either’. And perhaps the saddest of all, ‘I don’t feel particularly inspired to write’. (Gasp! I know… it’s actually quite alarming to me too. But it’s ok… I think I’m finding my muse again.)
So while I joke about my own procrastination issues and rationales, how many of us are actually so good at procrastinating that it prevents us from accomplishing what we want in life?
‘I work better under pressure’. ‘I have until the end of the week to pay those bills’. ‘Tomorrow will be a cooler day to cut the lawn’. ‘I can go back and edit that novel anytime’.
Sure all of those things may be true, but am I really making things easier on myself by putting off doing those less than desirable tasks that need to be done?
In my own experience, this is not the case. True, sometimes I do my best work when under a deadline. I may have until the end of the week to pay the bills, but if I forget then I am left to pay late charges as well. It may be cooler to cut the lawn tomorrow, but that may also be the day that I need to post a blog, pay the bills, AND cut the lawn, so something else will have to put off for another day (perhaps, editing the novel). Procrastination can be a never-ending cycle.
Sometimes procrastination results in continuous inaction as well. If I keep telling someone that I will do something, and then I don’t ever get it done, what does that say about my character and my reliability? If I make promises, or at least make a commitment to doing something, it is only right that I do my best to complete what I have said I would do in a reasonable amount of time.
Yes, sometimes we can’t always do what we intend to, in the amount of time we, or others, would like. I’ve learned to be very careful to try not to fall into the “false promises” trap. (Please note: I am NOT claiming to be always successful at this either!) False promises are when we ‘promise’ or commit to doing something, with good intentions but also with the deep down realization that we probably won’t be able to fulfill that commitment or promise. It is better, perhaps, to claim that we would ‘like’ or ‘intend’ to do something, but it will all depend on time and other issues. I’ve realized that while I am a people pleaser (see Singing Soprano In An Alto World), I also need to do things within my own limitations. There ARE only twenty-four hours in a day, and when you have spent 10 of those sleeping each day of the last two weeks, that leaves only 14 short hours! I can’t make promises which I can’t keep and I can’t always procrastinate on the things that need to be done either.
Procrastination can look very pretty and it is enticing. It’s a lovely thought to think that I can do things ‘later’ or ‘another time’. Some days, it seems to work, and other days it doesn’t. I’ve learned that when procrastination starts to make me feel guilty and uncomfortable, that’s when it is time to stop feeling guilty and start acting on what I am supposed to do.
It’s time that I edited that novel. I know what needs to be done to make it better. It’s time that I sent my manuscript to that wonderful woman publisher who offered to read it. It’s time that I start listening to my characters and start telling their story in another novel (still not creepy, trust me). It’s time that I get out of bed in the morning and start to exercise again because that’s when my thoughts are at their freshest. It’s time to push past procrastination. There will always be another day to procrastinate. Today it’s time to start DOING.
(Dear Readers, Today is a great day to stop procrastinating and start doing! We can do it! Love, ~ K ~)