Procrastination – A Self-Help Guide

It’s a classic scenario: You know the light bill, $100.00, is due February 1st. You get paid this Friday, January 18. You know your check from work is to be about $500. But instead of making the payment of tithes and of your bill your first priority, you and the honey head out for a night on the town, which includes a carriage ride, a trip to an exclusive restaurant, and a play at an exclusive downtown theatre. “Oh, I have two weeks, I can make it up later,” you think. So by Monday, you find that you only have $50 to your name. Meanwhile, several other emergencies come up, so you are unable to save what’s left. It’s–well, that time of the month for your wife and she needs a crapload of things and she needs them NOW, darnit! So, you are out of luck now. To make matters worse, on Tuesday, Jan. 22–just when you were praying for the opportunity to make that money up, the hammer falls at work. Your boss calls you in for a talk. “You know, we’ve been running alot slower than we had hoped, and we are going to have to make some cutbacks. Sorry, bud, but we are going to have to let you go.”

Now, come February 1st, your wife is angry because you didn’t handle your business like you said you were going to, and on the verge of divorcing your behind. And all could have been avoided if you had not procrastinated.

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But procrastination is something we are all guilty of to a certain extent. I know I do it a lot. I don’t like to deal with unpleasant things right away. I don’t want to write that check for my overdue taxes. I don’t want to file now, I will wait until tomorrow. I know the application for that job is due in February, but it’s January 15th–don’t bother me about it right now! Or here’s the classic one: Instead of filing my taxes right now and getting it over with, I wait until the night of Sunday, April 13th before I even think about it. Mind you, I have known for at least the past 35 years or so that April 15th is the deadline.

So all day Monday, I am scrambing to get everything together. I take a sick day off work, get all my W4 forms together, which tell me in detail how much I made this year. I try to do them myself, cramming what could have been done by weeks of careful thought and preparation into less than 30 hours. It’s due by 12:00 midnight on Tuesday. To avoid a penalty, I have to make sure I file. I must ensure that everything is accurate.

But the next day, something unexpected happens. I am walking around with my backpack on my back. It is around 7 at night. I look for my tax paperwork. It’s all gone–disappeared like magic. Suddenly my heart is beating fast. I must file an extension, for my W4s are all gone, and everything else.

Just think, had I filed in February or early March, I would not have had to worry about all the complications that set in.

I’m talking to myself too when I say this. Procrastination is NOT the way to do things. Why does it not work? First, because if you wait until the last minute to do something, you run the risk of complications setting in to keep you from getting it done at all. An example from college. You wait until the night before to do your term paper. You knew all semester that it was due, no excuses. Well, sure enough, you wait til the last minute. That very night, a powerful thunderboomer roars through the town with the ferocity of seven lions. Power is knocked out, and the computer crashes. Gone is all the hard work you had been doing all night. Meanwhile, it’s due the next day. Just as you think to call your professor to tell him your sob story, you discover the phone is out. Again, all of this would have been avoided had you finished weeks ago! You knew you had to have it done.

Second, procrastination is just plain immature and irresponsible. Need I say more. If you are not mature enough to manage your life better than that, what are you doing being married, or the head of a household, are in college, even. You won’t last at a job very long, especially one that is contingent on you being able to handle deadlines. Indeed, we would do well to heed the classic advice from Mom: “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”

About Emma

Emma Logan is the content coordinator of Beverly Lahaye Institute. She’s been freelancing for many years and now focuses on WordPress development and blog design