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I once saw a sign at a restaurant that said, “Free Beer Tomorrow.”
I read it and said to myself, “That’s awesome! I’m coming back tomorrow!”
And then a second later I realized my mistake. You see it was a neon sign on the wall (meaning permanent). So if I came back the next day, it would say the exact same thing. There was no way to change it. Bummer 🙁
It is such a powerful word. It can run our entire lives but at the same time, put us behind in every area.
Why do we give this word so much control?
How often do we tell ourselves that “we’ll do it tomorrow?”
For me, way too often! It is so much easier to live in the moment and sit down and watch TV and decide that whatever I need to do can wait until tomorrow.
Tomorrow I will feel like doing it.
Tomorrow I will sacrifice.
Tomorrow I will have an attitude of productivity and getting things done.
Isn’t the word tomorrow just another word for procrastination?
If I had dollar for every time I have said the word tomorrow I would be rich!
Are you someone in the habit of telling yourself you’ll just do it tomorrow? Do you push things off and procrastinate more than you’d like to? How does that work for you? Do you actually get it done the following day or end up pushing it off yet again? Do you find yourself being more productive when you do that or more stressed? I know I end up feeling more stressed! Not in the moment of course, but when tomorrow actually does roll around.
Here are 3 truths I have discovered when I tell myself I’ll push something off until tomorrow. These truths tell us why it is important to not procrastinate and help us over come the habit.
Truth #1 Tomorrow often comes and we still don’t feel like doing whatever we need to do
In fact, we usually wish we had just gotten it done yesterday. Then it would be off our plates and off our minds.
I love when I wake up in the morning and realize I don’t have to do something because it is already done. What a great feeling! Sacrificing in the moment to free up time for later is something I try very hard to do. It is not always easy, of course, but I know that whatever I can do now will make me feel better down the road.
That is why I try my best to do the dishes right when dinner is done or put my laundry away as soon as my clothes are dry. And it is a big reason why I wake up early in the morning to get work done. Granted, I do my best work early on in the day, but I would rather have it off my to do list because I know if I don’t feel like doing it now, I most definitely won’t feel like doing it later. And that means I will procrastinate yet again.
Of course there are going to be days we’re not feeling well or really would do better with something another day. Those days will come and that is OK.
But more often than not, when I push off a task it’s just because I’m feeling lazy.
Truth #2 Tomorrow never ends
Just like that sign I saw at the restaurant, we can always say we’ll do something tomorrow. And then when tomorrow comes, we can say it again. There is nothing stopping it.
Here is a demonstration of what I am talking about:
- Take out your to do list and write down do laundry.
- Next to that (or wherever you keep track of when you would like to get something done by), assign it the deadline tomorrow.
- Then put your to do list away.
- The next day, pull it back out. Guess what? It still says you should get your laundry done tomorrow.
- Now, erase or cross out the word tomorrow and put down an actual date. That way, there is a true end in sight. Maybe the date is today. Maybe it actually is tomorrow. Either way, using a date instead of the word tomorrow will give you a real, tangible deadline.
Having a deadline that you stick to means you will not keep pushing something off. It may take some time to develop the discipline to stick with a deadline, but with more practice, it will happen!
Truth #3 We’re just making tomorrow more difficult
Anything that you push off today just adds to what you have to do tomorrow, even if what is on the schedule for tomorrow is just a few quick chores around the house and the rest of the day is free to do with as you please. Why add on to that? That’s just a recipe for more stress and headaches.
You also never know what kind of other “to dos” may get added on tomorrow such as your kid gets sick, your basement floods, or you realize you forgot to turn in something at work that was due, um, TODAY! Surprises DO happen.
So when you schedule and prioritize your to do list, spread things out. Make it so that each day is not overwhelming and you’ll be ready for those surprises. Plus, you’ll keep yourself free from the overwhelm when you don’t procrastinate.
Related: A Simple Guide To Prioritizing
None of us are ever going to be perfect at this. You may wake up in the morning and the day is more beautiful that you expected it to be so you decide to put the family in the car and go to the beach or the park for a picnic. That’s OK! When you routinely make the choice to not procrastinate, it actually frees up your time to push things off once in a while. We all need spontaneity in our lives every so often! Sometimes those are the days when the best memories are made.
But don’t make the mistake of pushing off so much that you end up feeling stressed and pressured because you are rushing to meet deadlines. That is not fun for you or anyone around you.
If you want to be more productive then stop saying you will get it done tomorrow, because when tomorrow comes, you most likely won’t feel like doing it anymore than you did today. Instead, wake up knowing it is already done, especially the hardest, most un-fun tasks you have. Those are the ones I love the get off of my to do list ASAP!
Will you join me? Let me know how you help stop yourself from procrastinating in the comments below!
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