I am the biggest procrastinator ever! I keep saying “If I just did what I was supposed to do, I wouldn’t have any problems.” I believe that is absolutely true. We all know we should not be procrastinating, but why do we do it? I have a theory as to why.
We expect too much of ourselves. How can we not, with the way American life is structured today? Think about when you were in high school. Maybe not high school, but middle school, when your only responsibility was school. Maybe you played a sport on the weekends or afterschool, but what else did you have to do? Make your bed, clean the bathroom? And when you weren’t in school or doing simple chores, what were you doing? You were playing and enjoying life. You didn’t have to work to pay for school, or the roof over your head. Life was very manageable. Adulthood sucks in comparison.
Who says that adults are truly capable of managing the responsibility load that our culture expects of us? I don’t believe it anymore. I don’t believe it for a second. We work, go to school, pay bills, deal with creditors, utility companies and landlords. We cook, we clean, we take care of our children, significant others, and pets. Running our lives is like running a corporation. You are doing all the roles at once without any assistance. It becomes all work and no play.
But what is it that you want to do? Play. What does that mean to you? Basically the same thing it did when you were a child: spend time with friends, enjoy the fresh air, play music, read a good book, etc. So why are the responsibilities of life so overbearing? Because we live in a culture of overconsumption. Our overconsumption makes us slaves to money. If we weren’t slaves to our money, we would have fewer responsibilities.
Think about this for a moment: if you owned 10 pieces of clothing, in total, how bad would laundry be? That’s one load to wash, one load to dry, and maybe 5 minutes to fold and put it away, at the most. Would you really have to procrastinate doing laundry? It would take so little of your time, so little energy, that I believe it would be a non-issue. I have to do 5 or 6 loads of laundry if I wait until I get down to my very last pair of socks. No wonder the laundry piles up for weeks on end, and I’m in and out of the laundry room for a day and a half.
Don’t feel bad if you are a procrastinator. Most people are. And I would say it is because your life has become unmanageable– don’t take offence– I’m just saying you have too much on your plate. Forgive yourself. You bit off more than you can chew, and you can’t put it back. You have to finish it all to clear that plate sometimes. You have to work 2 jobs to pay the debt, or pay for school.
You can figure out ways to make life a bit more manageable. If you cut back on the stuff, you can cut back on your chores, or at least make them easier. Fewer clothes= less laundry. Fewer dishes= smaller dish pile and quicker clean-up. Smaller house= fewer rooms to clean. Fewer gadgets= less money owed. .
Well, what about procrastination? How does this help me with my thesis that I’ve now dragged out to a fourth semester? (I’m the guilty one here).
Tell yourself: I’m going to achieve one goal today. One solid goal that requires a bit of effort. For me, that was turning in my substitute teacher application, and running all over town to prove to the public school system that I’m not a criminal. Yes, it was a pain and took a total of 5 hours, but it’s done now.
And after you achieve that goal, don’t feel guilty for spending the afternoon twiddling your thumbs while staring at the boob tube. I gave myself permission to watch Misfits and Glee without feeling like I should be doing something.
If you do that one thing, and complete one solid objective today, you’ve accomplished something. You’ve taking a reasonable step towards a better life.
You aren’t going to stop procrastinating, ever. Perhaps, you can get your life simple enough that the type activities you procrastinate are virtually non-existent or minimized so that they aren’t so bad. For now, just do one thing at a time. Maybe that one thing will give you some momentum to accomplish another thing. Maybe not. Either way, it is okay.
Hope you are having a great week so far.