“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”
― Pablo Picasso
I should’ve known that when I decided to discuss the topic of procrastination, that I would do just that – procrastinate. When I sat down to write this blog, I found myself finding every excuse not to do it. I also struggled to focus on what I wanted to say. And that’s what happens to everyone. We waste time thinking about doing something instead of just getting it done.
I think school teaches us to be expert procrastinators. We know how long we have to get a paper or project done, and at first it seems so daunting that we wait until the last possible minute to do it. We lose sleep the night before the book report is due trying to put together something half coherent in hopes of skating by with C. This is counterproductive and yet all humans are prone to this kind of procrastination.
The reason I personally procrastinated is that it seemed incredibly daunting. How could I write about this topic and bring value to people? The stakes seemed too high were I to not come up with the very best thoughts on the matter.
What made me do it? Well, I had a schedule to keep. I have a required completion date in place so I really had no choice. In other words, even if no one cares about or even reads this, I made a promise to myself to finish what I started by a certain date. So I prioritized it.
And that is really how we all can defeat procrastination in our own lives. By prioritizing the things that are truly important to us and to our quest of changing our life and the lives of those around us.
Time is the most precious commodity we have, yet many of us seem to think that other people have more of it than we do. That’s why we feel comfortable making the excuse “I didn’t/don’t have time” when explaining why we have not started a project or implemented a strategy to achieve a lifelong goal.
But everyone has the same 24-hour day. Those who are pursuing their dreams and those who aren’t. The difference between those two groups of people is that one group has prioritized what is important to them and the other has chosen to fill up their time with lesser things. Or worse, they have chosen to procrastinate. Dreams require hard work. They require a dedication of our “3 Ts,” our time, talent, and maybe even our treasure. Many people are happy to use the “3 Ts” on things that have no positive or lasting effect in their own life or in the lives of others, but if we want to make our dreams a reality, we first need to get our priorities in order.
If you are sitting around wondering why your life hasn’t changed in the last year, no doubt it’s because last year at this time you had the same thought and still did nothing about it. You wanted to write a book but you have never put pen to paper. You wanted to run a marathon, but you kept stuffing your face with junk food and sitting on your couch watching NetFlix. You swore that you would be further ahead in your career or in a better job, but you didn’t even update your resume. It’s not because you didn’t have enough time, it’s because you chose to fill up your time with things that distracted you from your goal rather than things that would help you achieve it. That’s it. PERIOD.
But there is hope. There is today. There’s still an opportunity for you to make a new priority list. It’s time to be ruthless in your pursuit of the ultimate goal, even it means being brutally honest with yourself and how you spend your time. Don’t wait ’til tomorrow to start being the person God created you to be.
There’s a famous quote that floats around on the internet that says:
A year from now you’ll wish you started today.
So why don’t you? No doubt there is something that you’ve always wanted to do. What have you done recently to get you one step closer to that thing becoming a reality? If the answer is nothing, then you need to fix that. NOW. If your schedule is full, then write out everything you’ve committed to and see if it’s worth keeping around if it means missing out on what you were made to do. How you choose to spend your time shows the world what you truly value in life.
For those of you who have a job that just sucks the life out of you, I’ve been there. You’re probably saying that you have nothing left to give any project or hobby by the time you get home at the end of the day. All the more reason to figure out how you begin pursuing your passion. I find that the more time I make for things I am truly passionate about, the more effective I can be in my boring day job.
No matter whether you are looking to better your career situation, or merely just regain some sanity in your life, you can only accomplish those things by outlining your priorities and blocking out the time necessary for each item accordingly. You may find out how much you can really accomplish when your time is not being wasted or misused.
By rewriting your calendar you may just end up rewriting your destiny.