Are You a Procrastinator?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I was almost late for my dental appointment last Wednesday.

I think I must have gotten the day confused with Be Late for Something Day which was celebrated last Thursday.

If you are among the millions of us who never seem to be on schedule, this is the day for you.

Being late is a common occurrence. Some are intentional, some not. It's fashionable to be late for parties. After all, you don't want to be the first to arrive.

I fell behind schedule today because I slept too late. I had intended to visit my sister in another town, but I knew by the time I "got around" it would be too late in the day.

To lots of people, procrastination is a way of life. They are card carrying members of a Procrastinator's club.

Mark Twain said "Never put off until tomorrow, what you can do today!"

Doctors and lawyers are notoriously late for something--maybe with their appointments with you. Have you ever sat in a waiting room for an hour or longer waiting for your scheduled appointment? Don't you appreciate it when you are called back to the exam room at the appointed time?

If you were late for Be Late for Something Day you might want to participate in Fight Procrastination Day which is Friday.

That's the day to fight that urge to put things off. It's a day to do it today. Do it now. Make a decision and follow through.

I think as I get older I am more prone to procrastinate.

After all, there is no schedule to follow. If I want to read a book at 10 a.m. or 10 p.m., I do so.

If I want to eat a meal at 2 p.m. rather than noontime, I do.

If I decide at the last minute to go shopping, I will.

I must write down my appointments or I'll forget.

I remind myself to take my medications or I procrastinate.

Twenty percent of people identify themselves as chronic procrastinators.

And it interferes in all aspects of their lives.

The 10 top things people procrastinate about are exercising.

Then cleaning out closets, drawers, and other cluttered spaces.

Losing weight and household cleaning are included.

Cleaning toilets.

Then there's preparing a will or other estate planning.

And writing letters (personal correspondence) and sending birthday or get well cards.

Investing/saving for the future.

Making home repairs or arranging for others to do them.

And, getting organized in general.

There are other procrastinations.

Not paying bills on time.

Failure to cash gift certificates or checks.

Failure to call or visit family members.

Filing income tax returns late.

Not completing a school assignment or term paper.

And leaving Christmas shopping until Christmas Eve.

Procrastinators lie to themselves. They justify their behavior or lack of it.

They postpone those things they know they should attend to.

"I'll feel more like doing this tomorrow." Or "I'll handle it later."

They drag their feet when it comes to making a dental or doctor appointment.

They look for distractions. Checking email is one of those distractions.

Playing games on the cell phone.

Or taking a nap.

Not making a decision.

Procrastinating is bad for one's health, causing compromised immune systems, more colds and flu, and more gastrointestinal problems.

And insomnia.

It also destroys teamwork in the workplace and in private relationships.

Procrastinators can change their behavior but that takes effort.

And that first step to doing something constructive.

Just one thing, then two.

No, there isn't an easy solution.

But I promise to research the answer--tomorrow.