I must confess that I used to believe I was the type of person who tackled everything promptly. No pile of dirty dishes, Sunday ironing sessions (thanks to my mom's expert homemaking skills), school projects submitted right on time, and so forth.
However, my perspective changed during my study of health coaching when I realised that I am a master at procrastinating these seemingly minor tasks because my mind is perpetually focused on the grander schemes. I'm more of a "big picture" individual, yet I've come to appreciate that those smaller pieces are the building blocks of the bigger picture.
For instance, updating my CV was one of these small tasks for me. I kept telling myself, "It will only take 5 minutes," and as a result, I procrastinated these "5 minutes" for a couple of years during my studies.
Then one evening, a friend sent me a job application opportunity within the university. Why not, I thought? It was a perfect fit for me. The deadline was midnight, and I received the text at 7 PM that night.
Little did I know that my household would be taken hostage until a quarter to midnight, as those "five minutes" I had ignored over the years had multiplied into way more!
My son ended up with a new hairstyle after he nervously asked me something that night due to the heightened stress levels. I had to retrieve recommendation letters buried in an old computer, and the contact numbers attached to those recommendations had long expired. I found myself pondering when I had worked at the hospital and for how long.
That evening served as a stark example of the consequences of procrastination. These seemingly trivial tasks accumulate over time and eventually transform into massive, time-consuming endeavors when neglected.
Not too long ago, I sat with a client who struggled to fall asleep at night because her mind raced with anxiety. She had procrastinated so many tasks that she lay awake, unsure of where to begin. Together, we listed all her projects, tasks, and assignments and prioritized them. Putting these tasks down on paper not only alleviated her anxiety but also provided a clearer view of what needed to be done.
Procrastination can exact a toll on both our time and finances, and it can impact our family members due to our compromised mental well-being.
The solution lies in awareness and breaking old habits. It starts with a commitment to tackle everything promptly, with thoughtful prioritization. Will you start eating healthier next month? Hit the gym after summer vacation? Is it even possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle during the summer break? Delay bill payments? Opt for "apply for postponement" on your tax return only to end up spending the evening on social media?
During all these instances of procrastination, more small tasks inevitably emerge, piling up and evolving into larger challenges, accompanied by mounting anxiety. Raising awareness about the consequences of procrastination can make it easier to break these old habits.
I'd like to extend my gratitude to my mother for instilling in me the "do it right away" mentality (although, let's not forget, I excel at handling larger tasks). I've never seen her procrastinate anything. When she received a speeding ticket recently, she promptly paid it, earning herself a 25% discount. ........She could have saved even more money by driving within the speed limit, but that's a different story.