Monday, November 10, 2008

An Ounce of Prevention

What's the quickest way to stress yourself out? In a word, "procrastinate." A long deadline, an unavoidable chore, bills needing payment can all trigger the, "I'll do it tomorrow," syndrome.

When I attended school, many classmates waited until the last possible minute to work on homework assignments. They were running a marathon as if it were a sprint. They begged faculty members for extensions and mercy.

My own habit of using the cramming study method resulted in end-of-semester panic. It finally dawned on me that starting the study process sooner might be good for my mental health. Staying on top of homework, assigned papers, and reading left me free to enjoy leisure activities. Higher grades were an added bonus. With more time and less last-minute rushing, I could formulate my thoughts and do a better job.

As writers, we're given deadlines. Missed deadlines means inconveniencing an editor and possibly an entire company. It could mean that story or book will never get published and reach someone going through a difficult time.

I don't think there's a person who hasn't put off a chore only to find themselves in a tight spot. Someone I know put off tasks on a regular basis, thinking they had plenty of time. The diagnosis of an illness left the person unable to get some critical things finished.

Not all procrastination has such dire consequences. Yet, it exposes an attitude of counting on tomorrow. We have today. There are no guarantees for the future. Being faithful, diligent, and trustworthy today honors God, honors our fellow man, and gives us peace in our daily lives.


Sarah said...

I love to procrastinate, but I don't love the stress that comes with it. Now, whenever I think about procrastinating, I try to remind myself that I might not get another chance to do whatever I'm trying to put off. That usually puts me in my place.

Have a great day!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Sarah -

A lot of situations in life have a window of opportunity. If you miss that window, you may not see it again. Sometimes we get a second, third, or even fourth chance, but why risk losing out?

Thanks for your great comment.

Susan :)

Jessica Nelson said...

Ouch! :-) I do procrastinate on certain things, like folding the laundry. And yes, there's stress.
Very true post.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jessica -

I've often complained about stress, but the decisions I make affect my well-being.

For me, the biggest step is admitting I'm the one who didn't seize the day. There can be no change unless I'm willing to look in the mirror and take responsibility.

Procrastination has consequences like any other ill-advised choice. Maybe now that I've faced the facts, I can move forward.

Susan :)

quietspirit said...

When I put things off, I find myself hurrying to get them done. Then, I make some mistakes. Thank you for the reminder about the stress and the mental issues.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Quiet Spirit -

That's a wonderful point. Cliche alert: My mom still says, "haste makes waste."

Susan :)