Thursday, April 28, 2011

Procrastination is expensive

Procrastination is putting off doing something until a future time. Delaying something needlessly. We all have things we don’t like to do. My husband tends to procrastinate when he is treading on unfamiliar ground. Other times it may be something painful we are putting off: a doctor’s visit, eating better, exercise. Then there are the times when we just delay needlessly, for no apparent reason. Maybe it’s a trip, a new purchase or making a phone call.

Time or money may be the root cause of our procrastination. I have mastered putting something off until a future time, and unfortunately this has led to many regrets. Life is fragile and delays can never be redeemed.

A few weeks before my dad died, I had an overwhelming desire to drop everything and go to Disneyland with him. I knew it wasn’t practical, I had no money and he probably couldn’t have gotten the time off work, but the thought lingered. I pushed it out of my mind until some future time. I also wanted to send him a movie that I knew he would enjoy, yet I delayed needlessly. I procrastinated! Those choices can never be redeemed. There is no “do over.”

Every time I talked to my dad he would tell me he was going to come back for a visit. In the spring it would be in the fall and in the fall it would be in the spring. The seasons always changed and we always hoped he would come.

Procrastination was one of his identifying trademarks. We knew he would eventually do it, just slower than most. Sometimes procrastination can save valuable energy. You have had time to make the right decision, which leads to less regrets. At other times, procrastination wastes valuable energy. You have delayed needlessly and have missed a window of opportunity that will never open again. Telling someone how you feel, taking a long-awaited trip, sending that one-of-a-kind gift, making a phone call. In an instant, those things may not be an option, and your delay has cost you a missed chance and given you a life filled with regret. That is the high price of procrastination.

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