Imagine the following scenario: It’s 6 a.m. on a Monday morning. You get up to walk to the bathroom and you trip over a pile of dirty laundry. I should clean that. I’ll do the laundry this weekend. As you finish getting ready to leave your home, you look back at that pile of clothes. I’ll do it this weekend. Seriously. Before you know it, the weekend is here and that pile has nearly doubled. It’s a Saturday morning. You already know that pile is going to take at least two loads of laundry work. Well, it’s 10am and I have some errands to run. I’ll do the laundry when I get back home. Does any of this sound familiar? That is the sound of procrastination. It’s that annoying, anxious buzz in your ear and it’s a distraction from getting things done. What if I told you that you can control that sound by loudly proclaiming, “Why not now?” Let’s go back to that very first thought you had about the dirty pile of laundry. You’ve just tripped over the pile. I’ll do the laundry this weekend-but, why not now? What would stop you from putting a small load of laundry in at that very moment that you realized it needed to be done? Cut the noise out and say it out loud: Why not now?
I began saying this out loud to myself for the past week and it works! In the beginning I was only thinking it and, if you’re anything like me, you know how the mind tends to wander. I would start thinking of other things like, well, I could do it now but I’m also pretty hungry and we have leftover pizza which could go bad if I don’t eat it. Plus, I can always do it later or maybe when the kids fall asleep — you get the point. Bottom line, it didn’t get done. Period. But the moment I decided to say the words, “why not now” out loud to myself, I felt different. It was a pep talk of sorts. And although it was from myself to myself, hearing the words out loud actually seemed to cut the buzz of procrastination off.
This new practice inspired me to dig deeper into why I was procrastinating in the first place. I’m not a lazy person and I like to think that I get stuff done. I found that I have a tendency to put off the small things that, in my mind, aren’t of the most importance. At least at the moment those things don’t seem important…until that small pile of laundry becomes an all day task.
I first challenge you to think about how often and why at times you choose to procrastinate. For me, it was about the level of importance of a task. Second, I challenge you to start asking yourself, “why not now?” when you come across something you’re about to pass up. You might surprise yourself at how much you can get done!
In the past week, I’ve also learned that even the smallest task is an integral part of my everyday life. The small things always lead to a bigger and more difficult issue to deal with as it grows. This is true for tasks as well as relationships. Have you ever wanted to talk to someone about an issue but you put it off because it didn’t seem like the right time? When is the right time? Why not now?
I’d like to end with just a few encouraging words. Wherever you are in life, always remember to set goals. Big goals and small goals. Set a goal for today. Start each day with the words, why not now? Why not today? Why can’t you reach a goal today? Here’s a secret: you can. And I believe in each one of you.
Have a happy, sunny day!