End Procrastination Now!

by Kathy Gates

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How long did it take you to realize the benefits of removing a splinter right away from your finger? As a child, removing that splinter seemed like an awful thing to do, but experience finally taught us that if we leave it alone, it will only get infected, get worse, and be a whole lot harder to deal with.

But have you really learned this lesson yet?

Allowing, even courting, delay in your life is a huge roadblock between you and your goals. When you respond to a problem, situation, request, task, etc. without delay, you minimize the action and the pain involved.

Think again about that splinter. Consider it as a metaphor to any problem or situation that you need to deal with, that needs change. At first the 'splinter' catches your attention, with just an Ouch. But if you ignore it, it will get sore. If you continue to ignore it, it will swell and be quite painful. If you continue to ignore it, or just put a Band-Aid on it instead of getting to the source (the splinter), it may become so infected that it could actually threaten your health. All that from a tiny splinter, or tiny problem, that you chose to delay taking care of.

Need for ACTION shows up like this:

  1. Inkling, Hint, or OUCH (a.k.a. the splinter): For example, the car insurance bill is due every six months. A few months ahead you begin to think "I should set aside some money to pay that insurance that's going to be due in December."
  2. Message: The bill arrives and you don't have the money to pay it. So, you ignore the bill.
  3. Problem: A late notice arrives, which includes late fees. It's Christmas time, and you just don't have any extra right now. So, you ignore the bill. (That splinter is swollen and quite painful right now.)
  4. Crisis: Your insurance is cancelled, and you'll have to put out a lot more to get a new insurance company to take you.

Each one of these is harder and harder with which to deal. Each one of these costs you more energy, time, money, and even a part of your spirit.

The epitome of delay in our society is credit card debt. If you look at credit cards realistically, when you charge something, you are only delaying when and how much extra you'll pay for purchasing it. So you end up paying for a dinner you enjoyed months ago, plus the added interest.

When you allow delay to control your life, everybody and everything else is in charge of your life. You're not running your life, but the insurance company, or the credit card company, or your mother-in-law, or the kids are.

When you delay, you (yes, you) create a crisis situation, and you end up without a choice. No choice on how to spend your money. It must be used to pay the credit card. No choice on how to spend your time. It must be used to go see your mother-in-law.

Your actions, your thoughts, your behavior, your money, your energy will be controlled by an external deadline.

Instead, when a problem is approached from an "eliminate delay" standpoint, sometimes only a small step is necessary to solve the problem or to avoid the problem altogether. An early response will usually allow time for making an informed decision based on choice, instead of 'have to'.

When you begin to eliminate delay from your life, you are able to respond to hints or inklings (such as a bill that will be due in the future) in a way that works for you, instead of having to respond in a way that's dictated by others (i.e. the insurance company example).

Remember the splinter, and become the type of person who responds to problems and situations and other's requests (when appropriate) immediately. You'll be able to respond calmly and efficiently, because you have the luxury of choice and reserves of time, energy, support, and money.

Kathy Gates, Professional Life Coach, recognizes that you know what you're trying to accomplish in life, but you just need a little help to make it happen. She is the author of several ebooks and programs designed to help you live a happier, healthier, easier life.

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