By Celeste Lindell of Average Jane, our January Blogger of the Month
There’s nothing like New Year’s resolution season to make a procrastinator like me feel extra guilty. Even though I know that the majority of people who are suddenly talking about “leg day” at the gym and making painstakingly specific menu adjustments at restaurants will have given up before the next week is out, I can’t help but feel that I’ve somehow missed an opportunity when I choose not to join in.
There’s a fine line when it comes to taking initiative and starting new things. On one hand, certain lifestyle changes are going to be much more likely to stick and be effective if they’re begun at just the right time. For example, I’m not starting my daily walks again right now because it keeps snowing and the dog’s coat wears the fur off his back if he wears it farther than a couple of blocks.
For most things, “no time like the present” really is the best outlook. I remember once reading an advice columnist’s message to someone who wanted to study to become a doctor but was lamenting that he would be nearly 50 by the time he graduated. The columnist’s reply: “And how old will you be in eight years if you don’t go to medical school?”
It’s really easy to put things off even though we all know that we’ll be much happier if we just get them done now. How many times have you finally cleaned a room or repaired something around the house and then marveled at how easy it was and how nice it would have been if you’d just done it sooner?
I’m always impressed with people who can follow the FlyLady plan or otherwise manage to keep their houses in such a state that it isn’t an emergency when someone drops by unexpectedly. My own cleaning is more of the wild hare variety: “Hey, here’s the shower cleaner! I’ll spray it in the shower and scrub it later.” Or, “As long as I’m rinsing out the blender, I guess I’ll go ahead and wash the pots and pans … and clean off the stove and countertops … and throw away some of that old food in the fridge.”
If I’m lucky enough to actually complete one of those impromptu tasks, chances are my streak will be broken as soon as I spy a shiny object (or get online). That’s why lists and plans are nice – they seem more official somehow.
I wish I could sum this up with some revelation that would make all our procrastination impulses magically vanish, but I don’t think the human condition allows for such a thing. I’m just going to keep plugging along and hope to stay as productive as possible. That’s all I can do!
Celeste Lindell started her blog Average Jane in 2004 and has made friends with other bloggers all over the world since then. She writes about her daily life with a husband, five cats, and a dog, and also posts the occasional recipe. It’s possible that her life isn’t quite as average as she says it is.