"Don't Put Off Til Tomorrow… " Okay. Tomorrow is Fine but Definitely Not the Day After That.
I can be a bit of a procrastinator. And by “bit” I mean complete. I actually started this post three years ago. Last week I finally cleaned out a kitchen cabinet screaming for attention for years. I ended up throwing away some weird salsa given to me as a house warming present. For my first house. The one I bought in 2000. (Yes, wise one – that means I packed it and moved it instead of throwing it away.) When I procrastinate on a project and someone offers to help me, I’ll say “No, no. A lack of planning on my part doesn’t constitute an emergency on your part.” But I don’t really mean it. What I mean is “HAVE PITY ON ME AND SAVE ME FROM UTTER DOOM.”
This isn’t a new trend for me. I even delayed my own birth. I just wasn’t ready yet. This introvert needs some time to warm up to a room – not just pop out and everybody be all up in my business. They need a transitional birth canal for introvert babies. Seriously. Like a holding tank until we can look at the Doc and give her a thumbs up. “I’m ready. Let’s do this.”
As a high-preferring introvert, I have a strong co-dependent relationship with processing. I. Must. Process. Cold, hard decisions on the spot are the worst. So by my natural personality preference, I won’t rush into a decision or an action. I’ll think and think and think. Some may believe procrastination is laziness but if you knew the mental and emotional work that went into not doing something, you’d think differently. It can be EXHAUSTING doing nothing.
If I can be honest, I procrastinate more out of fear than anything. The more important the matter, the more fearful I get, the more I avoid doing something. Which means I really am doing something when I’m doing nothing. When I procrastinate on hard things, I’m choosing to worry. I’m actively avoiding. I’m electing to be afraid.
The older I get, the more I realize it is actually easier to stop procrastinating and to simply do what needs to be done. I hate saying that because it makes me sounds so … so … adult-ish. Uggh. But it’s true. It’s easier to just stop and fuel up the car now than to see exactly how long you can drive with the light on. It’s easier to just empty the trash now than to get that smell out of the kitchen later.
And it’s easier to have hard conversations or give humbling confessions now than to let them carve out a huge chasm of regret, silence, and misunderstanding that only grows with time. There is a reason the Apostle Paul instructs us in Ephesians 4:26 to not let the sun go down on our anger. The longer we go without making things right, the longer it will take for healing to come and the more it will consume our hearts and spirits. I think this applies to guilt and shame and every other unhealthy expression of emotion as well.
Like a lot of things in life, it won’t get easier. I’ve experienced enough freedom from walking through the difficult to know this is true – even when I still struggle to act like its true. It is from those experiences, along with the grace of God, where I often find the courage and the momentum to stop procrastinating and start facing my fears.
But there are still those days where I pull the comforter up over my face, mumbling: “Tomorrow … I’ll start tomorrow.”
How do you deal with things and people you don’t want to deal with? Do you move through or do you look for escape routes? Any words of wisdom and encouragement to share for those of us stuck?
Very true, Michele! There is definitely a balance to waiting. Knowing the true “why” of your waiting is key. Is it fear or is it wise discipline? 🙂 Thanks for the good discussion!
So true! So me!
Thank you. Thought provoking and still made me really, really laugh. Wonderful.
If you do something you may be rewarded later. But if you procrastinate, you are rewarded immediately.