The Price of Procrastination

Oops...I did it again. I procrastinated and am paying for it big-time.

Last Friday, my newly paid-off car shimmied as I was making a left turn and mysteriously turned off. Thankfully, it restarted and I was somehow able take it in to the dealership. Besides the standard delayed maintenance costs that I expected, I learned that some minor problems with my car have multiplied into larger ones. While I’ve worked hard to pay off my car, I will be paying the equivalent of nearly four car payments to fix all of its current problems. In addition to the actual cost increase, I had to cancel a very important meeting and lost valuable time at work on Friday. And it’s not over… I will likely have to pay for my rental car for a week and will miss more work time.

A therapist once told me that procrastinators are in the top 10% on the intelligence scale. I loved that. What I didn’t know is that psychologists also believe that procrastinators have lower self-esteem and a lack of confidence about completing the delayed task. In fact, procrastination is one of the highest forms of self-sabotage. It’s true. I have no confidence whatsoever in my ability to even slightly comprehend what a mechanic is recommending to me. I have no idea what it should really cost and at the end of the visit, I feel taken advantage of and avoid my next visit like the plague. There is a long list of unpleasantries that we would all choose to avoid: pap smears, dental examinations, tax returns, an hour of cardio, closet reorganization, paying parking tickets, and negotiating with lenders to name a few.

So how do we avoid turning these short term pains into bigger and longer term pains?

1. Be realistic. Don’t overwhelm yourself with so many things to do that you don’t get anything done.

2. Create a daily task list. Weekly, monthly, and annual goals are helpful in the big picture but only work if they are regularly revisited and broken down into smaller goals. A daily task list should be an achievable breakdown of these larger scale goals. 3. Don’t turn on the TV or open your browser/email/or whatever else you’d rather be doing UNTIL you have completed these tasks.

4. Think about the cost!! The cost of whatever you are delaying remains the same whether or not you pay it now or later. If you wait, it will likely compound in price and cost you more than just money.

If we really think about it, we can all think of how procrastination can have horrific effects on our health, well-being, and finances. I’ve seen people lose their net worth in foreclosures by procrastinating. I’ve also seen a loved one’s health deteriorate by avoiding necessary medical treatments. Today, I’ve learned my lesson and will be spending the next two hours organizing the closets of me and my daughter. Wish me luck...

What do you procrastinate from doing? How do you resolve it?

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