I procrastinated writing this. Every day I thought, “I need to write a blog post,” and every day I decided it could wait until tomorrow. Now, here it is, the day I need to post, and I am just sitting down to write this. Waiting until the last possible moment always causes me undue stress, yet, somehow I find myself repeating the pattern over and over and over. There is so much I want to accomplish, so much to do, but I am weighed down—slowed down—by the things I’ve put off until tomorrow. Procrastination, I find, is a well-fortified roadblock to progress.
My niece once taught me a valuable lesson. She was in a panic about a school paper that she had to write so I offered to help her organize her thoughts so she could get it done. I asked her when it was due, thinking it must be due first thing in the morning for her to be so worried. “In a month,” she said. I was speechless. All these tears and all this fuss over a paper that wasn’t due for another month? It was unnecessary. It was extreme. It also opened my eyes to how much stress an unfinished assignment or task can make us feel even when the deadline is far away. I know I feel it, that underlying sense of anxiety about how and when I’m going to meet my obligations.
We live with that stress constantly, so it is familiar and almost unnoticed. However, it does take its toll. How much easier it is to be able to accomplish a task right away, to have it done and behind us. Then we are filled with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction instead of worry and fear. Why burden yourself with a load of anxiety when you could just dig in now and do what needs to be done? Think of how much energy would be freed up for other things, other goals. Just think of how much progress could be made!
This pep-talk is for me, by the way. I am working on cleaning up and clearing out—my house and my life. Procrastination adds unwanted clutter that distracts and haunts me. So out it goes! Time to tear down the roadblock and free up my path to tomorrow.