I must admit that I thought honestly that I was this “do everything right away” person. Never a pile of dirty dishes, the laundry is ironed on Sundays (my mom has an education in being a “housewife”, no joke), school projects are always delivered on deadlines and so on. However, after studying health coaching I found out that I’m a genius at procrastinating these little things because my mind is always on the big things. I am more of a “big picture” kind of girl. But the small pieces lay the foundation for the big picture.
One example of these small things for me was updating my CV. “It only takes 5 minutes,” I said to myself so I procrastinated all these “5 minutes” for humm a couple of years during my studies.
Then one night my friend sent me a text for a job application within the university that I could apply for. Great, why not! This was perfect for me. The deadline expired at midnight and I saw the text at 7 PM that night.
As it turned out, the household and everyone in it was in a hostage situation until quarter to midnight because all these “five minutes” that should have been enough to keep the CV updated over the years had been multiplied with 57! My son got a new hairdo when he asked me about something that night due to high-stress levels to say the least. I had to find my recommendation letters that were stashed away in an old computer and phone numbers attached to the recommendations were expired and humm when was I working at the hospital and how long and etc.
This evening was a clear example of the consequences of “procrastination” because these little things just grow over time and eventually turn into these huge & time-consuming tasks when they are not attended to immediately.
Not so long ago I sat in front of my client who had trouble falling asleep at night because her mind was racing. She had procrastinated so many things that she lay sleepless with anxiety, not knowing where to start. Together we wrote down all the projects, tasks and assignments and consequently prioritized them. To get projects out of your head and down to a piece of paper both reduces the anxiety and gives you a better overview of the tasks at hand.
Procrastination can cost us both time and money and the family members can be affected due to our poor mental state as a bonus gift.
The key is awareness and breaking from old habits. Making a decision that from now on you will try doing everything right away (prioritizing of course). Will you start eating healthy next month? Starting the gym after summer vacation? Is it even possible to be healthy during the summer break? Pay the bill later? Press automatically on “apply for postponement” for the tax return but end up hanging out on social media the same night? During all these little procrastination, I’m sure that more small projects appear that need your attendance. Thus, before you know it all the small things pile up and turn into big tasks plus the anxiety that thrives on procrastination.
When individuals are made aware of the consequences of procrastination the easier it will become to change old habits.
I want to thank my mother for having given me the “do it right away” mentality (ye let us not forget I am good at the big tasks). I’ve never seen this woman procrastinate anything. When she got a speeding ticket the other day she even paid it immediately and got herself a 25% discount on the ticket. She could have saved more money by driving legally but that’s another story.
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Picture by: Snæþór Sigurbjörn Halldórsson