Tomorrow - The Danger of Procrastination

Procrastination is a common household word. Many people are guilty of harboring this tendency and really are not quite sure what it entails. When I was growing up I saw my mom, who was a wonderful housewife and mother, always very attentive to everything that needed to be done. She was hardworking, meticulous and enjoyed the fruits of her labor.

Our home was beautifully decorated, meals were very nutritious and presentable, her girls (I have two sisters) neatly dressed, hair coiffed and we were on time for school and church.

My lovable dad, also hard working, was not as quick with certain chores or responsibilities. They got done, but it irritated my mother to no end, and often I would hear "you mean you haven't finished that yet?!" Strangely enough, dad was never late for or hesitatant to play a game or two of tennis, which was his passion!

Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines procrastination as "to put off intentionally and habitually." It is also "To put off the doing of something that should be done." In the Latin translation it is "procrastinatusm" meaning "tomorrow." Innumerable people put off, delay, or are in a constant mode of doing something tomorrow that either should or could be done more easily, today.

Stepping Out

I chose this topic as my first entry into Hubpages because for about three years my sister has been encouraging me to join. When I reflect on the past two years,

I can remember the many excellent and useful articles she has written here (2besure). Yet, it was always my intention to join but never did. As in the definition described above, I thought to myself "I'll check it out tomorrow." Tomorrow dissolved into three years.

For some this might seem like such a trivial subject. For those who have all of their "ducks in a row", this article may not be for you. However, many people are struggling and even suffering pain and/or hardships because of this foe called procrastination. Lives experience chaos due to the "helter skelter" pattern of getting things done.

For those who have decided to read on, you hopefully will find something helpful within these lines. To begin with, I have a series of questions and statements to stimulate thought and give an opportunity for individual determination as to where you might stand on this topic.

Food For Thought

My first question to the reader is "how often have you put something off until tomorrow? " Perhaps it was a project, chore or making an important appointment. Was it going back to school to complete a degree or even perhaps your first?

Or, you've been meaning to re-decorate your home or take a long needed vacation. So many people meant to make out a Will and never got to it.

Whatever you've been putting off until a more convenient or affordable time can possibly be termed "procrastination." You might be wondering "well, honestly, I don't see the big deal. What's so dangerous about that?!" While certain issues might not be considered dangerous, the mere fact that we are comfortable with delaying projects or accomplishments can very well lead to a more serious concern.

Another View

Check out this video. Can you see something of yourself here? I surely did. It sounds humorous, but really, it isn't. There's nothing funny about being trapped in the vice of procrastination!

Every Aspect of Life

When we reflect on our careers and what it entails to be successful at what we do, procrastination can lead to potential problems. Take the attorney that misses the deadline on a set of court papers.

As a former legal secretary, I spent many long evenings revising memorandums of law, interrogatories and the like because an attorney fell victim to an extended game of golf or an afternoon lunch with an old friend.

The previous two weeks of my little post-it reminders and setting the Outlook alarm went unheeded. The paralegal was sent flying out of the office like a maniac to file those documents just hours before the court closed.

For the vehicle that has been making that "strange noise" it can cost the owner a larger sum of money to get it repaired, or the final consequences might involve having to pay the cost of replacing the car altogether.

Too often, a person with the persistent cough procrastinates in making a medical appointment. A dear friend of mine skipped a mammography appointment one year and the next year was diagnosed with breast cancer.

And, how many of us wait until April 13 to even take a first look at our taxes? What kind of dollars are we throwing away because we missed an item on the forms? You now wait on line for your tax preparer and an even longer line at the post office. Don't forget, "certified, return receipt!" What mess and unnecessary frustration. The student who does an "all nighter" for an exam, takes the test with bleary eyes and more often than not, no breakfast. Perhaps they received a score of 85.

In all of the above scenarios the end result might not have been disastrous, but the method in what was accomplished was certainly not the wisest.

Taking Care of Finances

When handling money issues, many couples have disagreements on how to handle their finances. Some prefer to pay their bills on the first of the month, while others want to wait until the month's end. There are others who deliberately wait for a first notice and amazingly some rationalize to themselves that waiting until they receive a "final notice" gives them more time to get it together.

You will be surprised to learn that in some of these cases it isn't even about money. You see, this tendency is not confined by any economic or social group. There is sufficient cash in the checking account, but procrastination is the one in control! I have a relative who once told me "I have the money to pay my bills, but I just resent paying them, so I'm making my creditors wait." Unbelievable!

When delay is the order of the day and the outcome isn't disastrous, one has a tendency to think that the manner in which they handled the situation was okay. What a deception and a subconscious excuse to repeat this bad habit over and over and over again. It has become a lifestyle! It is a fact that habitual delays only lead to frustration, anger and feelings of constant defeat. Just ask someone.

A State of Well-Being

Isn't it interesting how procrastinating takes the joy out of any task? It could be something pleasant like finishing a knitted blanket for a baby shower. I have found that when I procrastinate, the rush to complete a task is totally draining and gives very little reward. In exchange for an accomplished "job well done," I give a quick sigh of relief and just think "thank goodness that's over with." I have missed the joy and well-earned gratification in doing something in a well-timed manner, and with leisure to give whatever the chore all of my skill, excellence or time. It's almost exhilarating when I push towards something, especially when complicated or difficult and get it done in a timely manner!

Looking Even Further

I have often heard elderly people reminisce about what they regretted not getting accomplished in their lifetime. Many of them were extremely gifted and intelligent. They had much to offer society and the world.

For whatever reason, they did not extend their borders; always thought that tomorrow, next week, month or year would be soon enough. Some didn't live long enough to get it started, let alone done. What gift, talent, idea or invention lied dormant within them?

On a spiritual note, how many people have never decided on where they would spend eternity? Here, I will use the word "dangerous." We do have a choice. There are many views on Heaven and Hell. How many of us have cared enough to find out? Each morning marks fresh and new opportunity and each evening the sun goes down on it all. Time moves so swiftly and opportunities breeze past us at an amazing pace.

For those who are superstitious, they feel that making out a Will brings about their demise sooner. Where one spends eternity calls for a much weightier decision. There are, indeed, so many foolish reasons to procrastinate.


What Helps?

Learning how to have a determined attitude is very helpful in avoiding procrastination. One step, project, and day at a time. It is important to be realistic about our patterns. I've stopped saying to myself "oh, I'll remember, start, call or write tomorrow." With today's technology there are many ways to keep note of what needs to be done in our lives.

Personally, I find using my alarm and calendar on my cell phone is very useful. Since I am retired, it's easy to let the day get away from me in doing several menial things and never getting to at least one major item.

I schedule the chore several times during the day. It might be 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Before that day is over, I make a point to at least begin what I am doing and if it is something simple such as making a doctor's appointment, I give myself a deadline on my alarm of at least one hour before the office is due to close. I don't know why procrastination is such a problem with some people.

What can also be helpful is enlisting the help of an accountability partner. It is suggested that you choose someone who will be realistic and encouraging...not someone who will play "drill Sergeant." I have a friend and former co-worker who helped me get my driver's license. Now she was a drill sergeant.! Each day I would come to work and each day she would ask me "did you make the appointment?" Not only did she remind me once, but at least 10 times a day. Each morning I would dread coming to work.

She knew I wanted to drive, but was more than a little nervous about taking the test. Finally, I made the appointment and passed the test. She's a great person to have as a friend and by the way, the word "procrastination" is not in her vocabulary. In fact, she considers it profanity!

The important factor becomes I do not condemn myself when I fail, nor do I surrender to the "enemy". I believe it takes true discipline to remain steadfast in living timely, efficient and precise lives. I had the pleasure of working for one attorney for many years with those qualities, and I always admired him.

I always tried to follow his pattern, and in the office, I had no problems. But, outside of the office it was always a struggle. Alternatively, there are some who are a little arrogant about mastering this problem and would try to make you feel guilty. I know those people, too. They say "what is the big deal about getting something done on time?" Also, some people are a little fanatical about it. They break out into hives if they overlook some small detail.

No life is perfect and there will always be unforeseen twists and curves in the process. As for myself, I'm determined to continue working on this area of my life. I am pleased to say I have improved. I intend to be a regular contributor to Hubpages. Mainstream is the gauge I'm pressing for in every area of my life and what it involves.

I want to stand back and view excellence in my finished project and experience the enjoyment of doing almost anything... without frustration, defeat or hives!

More by this Author

  • The Legend of Buttons and Misty Meows
    9

    Cat lovers will enjoy this hub. My two renegades drive me up the wall but Misty and Buttons are my other two children. Spoiled, demanding and loved.

  • Quick Relief for Minor Burns
    4

    Even minor burns can bring discomfort. The toothpast remedy really works. I tried it again the other day and I forgot where the burn was. Immediate attentin is the key...it won't work the next day. No blistering. ...

  • Life Can Really Begin After 60
    2

    Just because the youthful season has passed in our lives does not mean we cannot still enjoy life. When physically fit, many seniors dance, ski, bowl, dance, play sports and have healthy relationships with the opposite...


Comments 13 comments

2besure profile image

2besure 5 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

I have a problem with procrastination. I remember when in school, I would always wait until the last minute to do a report. I usually got a good grade, but like you said, procrastination takes the joy out of a task!


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 5 years ago from Templeton, CA

Ouch! I really do need to at least install the tax software, but at least I have it bought and in the house. I do have about four doctor appointments I've been putting off, and I have orders I need to make before the end of March. Do I get credit for having made two of them already? As to listing the books for sale that are lining my entire house, I'd rather write. And let's not even mention all that estate stuff from our parents still sitting unsorted after six years. Just give me credit for devoting every weekend of the month my husband was in Europe cleaning out my mil's house for a series of estate sales. Guess that burned me out. I do keep up on my shipping, since that brings the dollars in, but i'm a bit behind on the billing for the purchase orders. Guess I'd better mail those today.


Dr.Ope profile image

Dr.Ope 5 years ago

Hi 4seazons. I am guilty of procrastination. I was also thinking of writing on the subject for my next hub.We are all guilty of putting things off until tomorrow or whenever, and so we sometimes (without realizing it) lose out on opportunities. Great hub, keep sharing. Will be following.


searchinsany profile image

searchinsany 5 years ago from UK

4seazons

This is not only a well written Hub, it contains a lot of good advice. So good that I was going to write this comment tomorrow and changed my mind!


Unchained Grace profile image

Unchained Grace 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

Procrastination can certainly get us jammed up and often, I have to play 'triage nurse' with tasks in terms of prioritizing especially when they all seem to come up at once. Hey, don't feel bad about the wait on joining. I actually joined about six months or so before I even wrote something. It happens. One night, God just cleared my assignment calendar and said,"Here's what you are going to write." That was around 3AM or so.


Terry  5 years ago

Hi 4seazons:

You wrote about something that has plagued me since my childhood... one of the many things I've got to work on. My Dad used to say all the time that "Procrastination is the thief of time." I thought he was just talking to hear himself talk, but after carrying this bad habit into my adulthood and experiencing a lot of anxiety because of it, I began to understand the wisdom of those words. This is a subject that needed to written about. Thanks.


ladyjojo profile image

ladyjojo 5 years ago

Good!!!

Yes procastination is the thief of time. We ought to do what we plan once it's God's will so many times the devil throw us off and make something else pop up or we say tomorrow and then that tomorrow never comes and sometimes months and years passes by.

Thanks for sharing :)


4seazons profile image

4seazons 5 years ago from Queens Author

Thanks, ladyjojo, you are so right. This is why, I believe, God gave this topic as my first Hub.


viveresperando profile image

viveresperando 5 years ago from A Place Where Nothing Is Real

this is a great hub! :) enjoyed reading this.


4seazons profile image

4seazons 5 years ago from Queens Author

Thanks viveresperando...I'm glad you enjoyed it. And, thank you for writing!


optimizeyrlife 5 years ago

I joined this hub because I saw that 2besure was a part of the Kangen Water community and my husband is interested in this product, but says that I do not support him, so in doing my research I stumbled across your article on who I am and have been a long time a giant procrastinator, I put off everything and always to my own demise. After reading this article I am seriously going to work on getting rid of this horrible spirit and tackle my problems and issues head on, I think most people procrastinate because of fear and uncertainty that is always me. But I am glad i ran across your article.

Thanks


4seazons profile image

4seazons 4 years ago from Queens Author

Thank you optimizeyrlife...sorry I am JUST NOW seeing your post. You hit the nail on the head "horrible spirit"! I read this article again for my OWN benefit and got encouraged all over again. I am glad your ran across my article too...with the new year coming in, we'll work on this together! After all, it is about optimizing our lives, right? Love it! LOL


4seazons profile image

4seazons 2 years ago from Queens Author

Well, I read my own post AGAIN to remind me that I have to keep the fight going in getting things done timely!!! I also read all of these comments which have encouraged me greatly! Thanks to you all! And "Happy Hubbing!"

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working