This subject is near and dear to my heart because I’m writing this at 1:10am. For some reason today, other things kept coming before writing this blog post. Now, the day has slipped away and I am writing a blog with drooping eyelids. While I wish I could say that I almost never procrastinate, I struggle with it like many others do.
If there is a task that seems more enjoyable that the task at hand (e.g., watching TV, spending time with friends, or eating my favorite treat), it is always tempting to have that pleasure before taking care of business. For some self-disclosure, my personality type fears that I’ll miss out on the fun more than fearing that the necessary obligations to be taken care of won’t get completed (my husband is the opposite and sometimes tensions rise due to our different preferences). After all, why do today what you could easily do tomorrow? But, like with everything else, there is balance to be found for procrastinators and go-getters.
I wish I could say that procrastination has been a blessing to my life… but it has not. Procrastination is what kept me up late panicking the night before almost every college paper was due. Procrastination is what caused me stress when planning my wedding. Procrastination has brought about many frustrating moments for my husband as he would wait for me to complete tasks that he asked me to do. But, in the moment, doing something else besides what I needed to do seemed fine, but when I look at the clock and realize that my day is over – and I am wasting sleep time trying to catch up – I realize that the TV show I watched seven hours ago no longer seems so important (and, in reality, it wasn’t important).
So, what does procrastination have to do with your upcoming marriage? It does several things:
- Once you are married, you are a new family with responsibilities you may or may not have had before marriage (as some people go straight from their parents’ house into their married house).
- Procrastination on paying bills can result in forced candle light dinners, courtesy of the electric company.
- Procrastination on shopping can cause you to spend more money than is feasible on eating out.
- Procrastination can keep you and your spouse at each other’s throats, as one blames the other for why things are not getting done.
If I could give you one word to describe what procrastination does for a marriage, it would be chaos.
Believe me, if I could live each day only doing the things I really enjoyed doing, I would. However, life isn’t like that for most people. Whether we like to admit it or not, we have unpleasant tasks to complete. Trash needs to be taken out eventually. The shower gets gross after a while and has to be cleaned. And you can buy new underwear at Wal-Mart only so many times before giving in and actually doing the loads of laundry that have piled up.
So, what if I conquered my procrastination problem? What would that look like? I’m still figuring that out. But, what I do know is that when I begin my day with prayer (because His priorities for our day outweigh our plans), make a plan, follow the plan, and complete the tasks at hand, I have a sense of peace and balance.
Everything on my list may not get done, but knowing that I gave it effort and did not put off the difficult things makes me feel that I have earned some time of relaxation. Relaxing when you don’t need it is not as sweet as when you have worked, accomplished your tasks, and now are enjoying your reward.
In marriage, there are more responsibilities that arise than most pre-marital couples usually conceive. It will take some time getting used to those responsibilities and to divide out the duties; however, once you do, biting the bullet and getting them done will bring a sense of calm to your home.
As I’m demonstrating tonight with my late-night blogging, procrastination has a way of robbing you of your rest. Too many nights without proper rest and you may find yourself fighting with your future spouse, roommate, parent, or friend over inconsequential and/or stupid issues. A lack of rest can also lead to chaos. When our minds are fuzzy, we can’t make decisions as well as when our minds are clear and crisp. There will be times when you lose sleep over tedious assignments, sick children, or long trips; but, when it’s in your power to complete your day and enjoy satisfying sleep, do it!
As I’ve shown above, I am more of a free-spirit than a planner; however, I have also learned the value of structuring my day just enough to accomplish enough tasks to feel satisfied that it was a day well-spent. One of the ways I do this is with the dreaded checklist (okay, so, it’s not dreaded for you organized types, but for me, it’s a stretch). So, in the spirit of overcoming procrastination, I’m going to challenge you to create a daily “to do” checklist too. I make a simple checklist for the next day to make sure that I’m getting done those things that I really want to get done instead of wasting my day and being aggravated at myself at night. Keep it as simple as you need it to be so it works for you.
As I complete this blog post, I’m thinking about my snuggly bed and making plans to complete my next week’s blogging posts in plenty of time for an earlier bedtime. Sweet dreams to all!
What areas are the hardest for you to take charge and overcome procrastination?