For the past few weeks, I’ve become quite lazy and complacent. Lazy summer days have a tendency to do that to people. I’ve found myself putting things off only to realise that a whole week has gone by, and I still haven’t done what I intended. You all know that feeling, right?
So, I just have to share with you, something I saw in the week which made the excuses I had been telling myself downright comedic.
We all do it, we all have dreams, and things on our to do lists which will benefit us in some way, yet which have been staring at us mockingly for weeks, months, or even years.
That book that’s been sat on your shelf with its story untold. That first draft that’s almost been finished for three months.That table leg you were going to fix last summer. That class you keep meaning to sign up for.
Yet when we get round to doing them, suddenly the washing needs doing, the floor looks dirtier than usual, and the car doesn’t look as shiny as it could. You might know it as procrastination. And when it comes to procrastination, some of us are masters, even when we’ve minimised all the meaningless distractions.
Procrastination will always find a way to keep you ‘busy’, and from realising your full potential.
Since I work at a school, I’ve been enjoying the long, lazy weeks of summer. And I’ve come up with all kinds of clever-seeming excuses as to why I haven’t worked on my book in over two months, and why my box of photos is still on the living room floor waiting to be sorted.
I can’t write because I’ve got my son. I can’t sort through my photos because I’ve got writing to do…and I’ve got my son. I can’t possibly spare the time to cook anything that involves more than slamming in the oven because I have a pile of washing up from lunch.
Yet, an hour or so later, I would find myself playing videogames (which I also tend to procrastinate over completing), or lounging in the garden with an oversized mug of tea.
But while out walking my dog, this week, a woman wearing workout clothes and a look of determination jogged past me… while pushing her toddler in a pushchair. And somehow, she still had the energy to smile at me as she jogged by.
At that moment, every well-crafted excuse I had been telling myself as to why I couldn’t do what I wanted were exposed for the big fat lies that they were. In fact, they were so lame they belonged in the ‘the dog ate my homework’ pile of excuses.
It was as if the universe was saying, Look! Look at this lady! And here’s you, off on your summer break, and you don’t have the time? Ha! Nice try!
Our time on this planet is fast and finite, yet we spend half of it putting things off and wondering why we never became a best-selling author, or an actor, or a life-coach, or a teacher, or a business owner, or super fit, or…you get the idea.
The truth is, you can do whatever you want if you’re willing to stop creating excuse stories, and pour that energy into what you’re procrastinating over, instead.
Kick-ass Jogging Lady could have told herself, “Screw going for my morning run. I’ve got a young child and a pile of dishes”. Instead, she thought outside of the box, did it no matter what, and the kid looked super chilled. He was probably having the time of his life.
In our distracted world there’s no end of books, articles and courses aimed at beating procrastination, because even the most successful people have fought it long enough to know this annoying adversary inside-out.
But the single most powerful thing you can do to beat procrastination is to act. It really is that simple. You don’t feel like writing? Pick up a pen and start. You don’t feel like DIY? Go get the screwdriver and hammer. You don’t fee like going to the gym? Put on your workout clothes, or step outside your house. I guarantee you that as soon as procrastination sees that you’re armed, it will cower back down.
And there’s never a better time to act than right now!
What’s your excuse?