Day 24 – Procrastination, an Expensive Characteristic.

Money spent: $0, fourth day in a row… I hope the economy can handle this.  

You’ve probably read articles about successful people who live abundant lives. And if you’re like me, you then ask yourself: what did they do different? What knowledge to they have, that I don’t seem to have access to? I’m dedicated, persistent and ambitious.  I’ve been working hard all my life…. Why am I not where I’m supposed to be?

Let’s all agree that ‘luck’ will always play its role in any story: being in the right place at the right time, that kind of serendipitous happenings. But digging deeper in the matter of prosperous living – I stumbled upon a nasty characteristic I possess; and one that’s not matching the effective goal getter’s profile at all.

Oh, if only I could get a dollar for all the times I’ve said ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’.



When my Kindle broke, I immediately chatted with Amazon’s customer service, and 10 minutes later, I got a message that a new Kindle was on its way. A courier tag would be included, so I could send the broken Kindle back, something that was required in order to get a free new Kindle.  One month later I still hadn’t send it back, and I got charged the new one.

You see where this is going? Even a jacket on sale is an expensive jacket if you don’t return it. Which you should, if it doesn’t fit. The interest on the bill you forgot to pay could have been avoided, and had you cancelled that class in time, you wouldn’t have gotten a late fee.

And How About that time where I got asked to pitch an article for a major dating site, and then got stuck in a mysterious and ongoing writer’s block that only magically appeared when intending to write the piece already… yeah, I’m still doing that tomorrow.  And writing this novel isn’t going according to my schedule either.

Procrastination is costing me money, and that’s inexcusable in frugal times like these. So I did what I had to do: postponing  being honest with myself, admitting that I postpone mainly because of A) plain laziness and lack of organization, and B) paralyzing fear.

Yes, mea culpa, I’m lazy when it boils down to all those small tasks, that could easily be done in a limited amount of time, yet they are not very appealing. This one is the easiest to tackle: just get up and DO it already. First thing, now, at once!

I started to apply ‘the one minute rule’: if it can be done in 60 seconds, I have to do it immediately. Wrapping something, putting it in a box and tagging a label on it? DO IT!  Hanging a coat on a rack, put my shoes into place, fill my water bottle, tidy the living room before I go to bed? DO IT!  I’ve become my own drill sergeant over here: Sir-yes-Sir!

Despite my fanatic obsession to elaborately write ’ to do’- lists longer than first amendment,   highlighting its priorities following an ingenious color system, I never get around using them. Or I keep forgetting how the color coding works exactly and it just gets really confusing.

So I simplified the whole process, and I now use a simple notebook, a pen and no color coding whatsoever. An hour before I go to bed, I handwrite the To Do list for the next day, listing no more than 7 tasks in order of importance. No matter how annoying or dreadful the first task is – I can’t move on to the next, until the previous one is completed. The list becomes more pleasant as the day proceeds, and by the end of it, I almost throw myself a party with balloons and a piece of cake.

The second cause of my dawdling, is a little harder  to master. Fear.  It appears when I need to perform, in order to get a certain result. Apply for a job I really want, talk to my boss about a raise, write a pitch. Without exception, fear of rejection comes lurking around the corner, ready to persuade me with that voice that has you believe anything it says: you are wasting your time. Who’d read this? What makes you think you can be a writer? *insert evil laughter supported by a scary tune here*

If this was an episode of a TV show, the end credits would start rolling on the screen right about now. And thus, I’ll write a nice post about Writer’s block – the writer’s ultimate form of procrastination – tomorrow!

PS: Are you a procrastinator? Has it cost you money?  And how did you turn the tables, and became more effective and efficient? 

16 thoughts on “Day 24 – Procrastination, an Expensive Characteristic.

    • I know! I seem to work better when there’s a little pressure, but each time I think what a shame it is that I have to push so last minute. I like your approach though, ‘productive procrastination’, you’re on to something!

  1. I run into that issue a lot. I think a huge portion of it is if it doesn’t take much time I’m more inclined to procrastinate. It’ll take no time so I’ll quick do it tomorrow. Luckily, I’ve never had any financial penalties yet for my laziness but that doesn’t mean they might not happen.

  2. I’m highly organized, can get a tonne of work done…but am a notoriously bad at “I’ll get started tomorrow” when it comes to things that push my “fear-I-might-fail button”. Giving myself permission to simply dip my toe in the water first (and not beat myself up for not being able to jump in right away) helps. Recognizing that I’m inching my way closer to the edge (even if they are imperceptibly small steps) can also make it easier to take a deep breath and finally jump in (where it is never as scary as I made it out to be). Have a great day 25 :)

  3. Thanks Diane! I like how you put it ‘to dip your toe in the water first’ :) It usually is just like that: once you’ve taken the jump, you wonder why you’d ever even doubted it!
    Day 25 is going well so far! :)

  4. LOL on this comment “Or I keep forgetting how the color coding works exactly and it just gets really confusing.” I can relate (I love colours too!).

    I’m a procrastinator about the same things (1) boring things (2) things that make me anxious. I’m a big list maker. Don’t you often find that the thing you have been procrastinating on because of fear or anxiety ends up being not so bad after all once you get started/get it done?

    • Absolutely. It usually doesn’t even take that long to complete the task – but in my head it grew into this huge time consuming accomplishment.
      I recently read an article about the advantages of procrastination, though. Maybe I need to revise and turn it into a good thing :)

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