Procrastination is the bad habit of putting of until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday." -Napoleon Hill
I'm in the middle of a two-week vacation - the longest break I've ever taken from work without travel - and I'm feeling more tired and unhappy than I expected. Today I figured out why. I've got a case of the tomorrows.
In the weeks leading up to this heavenly, unscheduled vacation I fantasized about all the wonderful things I would be doing. Working on my book in random coffee shops for hours each day, hanging out with friends and family, re-committing to my gym routine, thinking big and setting goals for 2009. Well I'm halfway into this vacation and I've got a case of the tomorrows. My days are filled with errands and oversleep, and in the remaining hour or two I try to squeeze in a few of the things I *really* want to do. I keep saying "I'll get to that tomorrow," or "I'll start tomorrow," or "TOMORROW I'll get to spend exactly as I want."
Today is a classic example. It's tomorrow. Waaay past tomorrow actually. Monday, Day 8 of my vacation, and only just now at 4:00 p.m. am I finally sitting down in the coffee shop, finally using my brain, finally doing some writing. I didn't go to the gym, I didn't wake up early as planned. I started feeling lethargic, impatient, and ANGRY. Why? Because I'm mad at myself for not living up to my dream vacation! For putting everything off until tomorrow. Pretty soon I'll be back at work, and the last thing I want is to look back on these two weeks with regret at all the things I didn't do. Now, I know the glass is also half full - there is plenty I have done, but I'm still going to take a minute to figure out how I can turn up my satisfaction dial just a touch.
Here's an exercise for you, timely given the impending and inevitable New Years Resolutions. What do you make a habit out of putting off until tomorrow? What five things, if you started TODAY, would improve your quality of life?
Things I'm repeatedly putting off until tomorrow, that if I started now would improve my mood:
- Waking up early (between 6:00 - 6:30), NOT snoozing!
- Starting my morning gym routine back up, daily yoga
- "Front-loading" my day so that I do my favorite activities early, errands in the afternoon
- Setting aside 3-4 dedicated writing hours
- Balancing my activities within the day, so I do a little bit of everything (see friends, family, exercise, etc)
As part of this exercise, take a closer look at what's currently stopping you from starting today. How can you give yourself a boost to ensure these things are more likely happen? Some ideas:
- Partner with a friend
- Set a reward for yourself
- Start small - pick one thing that would make the biggest difference and start there
- Don't let yourself off the hook! Push through initial feelings of resistance or "I'll do that tomorrow..."
- Write a plan the night before of exactly how you want to spend the next day or the next weekend
Other ideas? Do tell!
We shall never have more time. We have, and always had, all the time there is. No object is served in waiting until next week or even until tomorrow. Keep going... Concentrate on something useful.” -Arnold Bennett