Benjamin Franklin once said, “You may delay, but time will not.” It is so easy to procrastinate, and thanks to all the things to do, buy, and watch in America, we are never at a loss for something to distract us from our less exciting tasks. We are all likely guilty of it to some degree as there is rarely a person who has all of their ducks in a row all of the time. However, if you do not stay on top of your tasks, they will eventually cause you stress – and, if it doesn’t cause you stress, you can be fairly sure it will cause your future spouse some stress. When you get married, your spouse’s emotions will affect you, as does his or her decisions. Perhaps you are frequently late for church, but your future spouse is embarrassed to walk into church late? Your putting off leaving does affect him or her. Maybe you are in school and you wait until the day before a paper is due to get started on it? Then you spend the day stressed, grouchy, and frantic trying to complete the task and snapping at your loved ones. Many people have a wrong assumption that procrastination only affects themselves and what they need to get done; however, in marriage, very few things, if anything, only has an effect on the procrastinator alone.
There are certain obligations of life that have to get done, whether they take fifteen minutes or twenty hours. Believe me, no one loves the comfort of lying in bed and watching TV for hours more than I do, but every time I do it, I lose valuable time I could be spending with Eric, with family and friends, or with a good book while learning something new. We all need a lazy day every now and then; yet, if we are not careful, those lazy days can become the norm. Before you know it, your Bible reading and quiet time suffers, you drift away from your spouse, and you lose touch with friends and family. Not only that, but you are left with an unfulfilled feeling – as if something important is missing in your life… because it is.
This may be an abhorrent idea to some of you, but nevertheless, it is a good idea to create and complete a daily check list. Based on personality type, some people thrive on list-making, but trust me though… regardless of your natural bent in your desire for a daily check list, it will help organize your life and keep you from feeling like you are drifting through your day… week… month… life. Even if your checklist only has three things on it, then do them, check them off, and then allow yourself to enjoy some relaxation! From my experience, I have found that watching a TV show, or spending the time on the computer, felt better when I didn’t have a condemning voice in the back of my head saying, “You don’t deserve to take a break… what have you actually accomplished today, Heather?”
Eric and I have both given in to procrastination on several occasions, and we both agree that putting things off can, and usually does, have an adverse affect on our marital relationship. At times, we have known about an assignment or an engagement that required our preparation, but because we wanted to relax or play before doing the necessary task, we’d end up staying up late into the night the night before, getting it done, snapping at each other, and hurting each other’s feelings. This could have all been avoided if we had chosen to work on those projects a little at a time unto completion instead of waiting until the last minute to start. No one is perfect, and most people will deal with this issue at some point in their lives, but I urge you to take measures to keep procrastination out of your life. You will enjoy your time with your future spouse so much more without unfinished business hanging over your head!
Are you prone to procrastination? What have you been putting off that you need to accomplish? Can you start on that today?