Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Message #22 - Give Yourself a Break! - Part 4

Are you a procrastinator?  To one degree or another everyone is.  Who doesn’t delay or postpone doing something from time to time?  Usually we procrastinate when we’re faced with an unpleasant task or something we really don’t want to do just then.  OK, I’ll give you that.  No problem.  After all, you are human.  But if procrastination is a way of life for you, then I want to confront you about it. 

How are you about delivering bad news?  That’s an easy one to put off.  It’s painful.  You may feel you’ll be making someone unhappy.  You may even have a strategic rationale that justifies your inaction.  I’m reminded of what Jimmy Carter’s Press Secretary, Jody Powell, said on the subject: “Unlike good wine, bad news does not improve with age.”

He’s right.  The bad news isn’t going to go away.  The longer you withhold it the heavier it will feel.  So while it’s easy to make excuses for putting it off, procrastinating doesn’t help.  And the longer the burden is on your shoulders.

I’m at the extreme end of the procrastination continuum.  I’m an uber-non-procrastinator.  I can’t stand to have things left undone.  If I have a high priority task to do but also have a half dozen low priority items that can be handled quickly I’ll complete the minor items first just to get them off my mind.  Looking at my behavior objectively, I’d argue that I’ve got my priorities screwed up.  So I won’t argue for the rightness of my behavior.  I’m just pointing out what an uber-non-procrastinator looks like.

I’m not going to make a case for ‘never procrastinate.’  That would be too rigid.  I am going to make a case for ‘be wary of procrastinating.’  This is a variation on the ‘tell the truth about yourself’ conversation.  To honestly be wary you need to able to tell when your procrastination is actually getting in the way.  You need to see what’s going on with you and tell the truth about it.  And if the truth is that you’re doing yourself or others a disservice by procrastinating, then I suggest you self-confront and consider changing your ways.

Finally, I don’t think you’re having enough fun.  Now how would I know that?  Because most people aren’t having enough fun.

You know that old story about how the man on his deathbed will not say that he regrets he didn’t spend more time in the office?  Well, I don’t want you saying you regret you didn’t have more fun.  Have fun now – before it’s too late.

You’ll always have a good reason why you can’t take a vacation, can’t spend more time with your children, can’t work fewer hours.  Can’t have more fun.  Don’t buy into this nonsense.  Remember what I said about ‘balancing?’  I’m saying here to throw yourself out of balance – at least enough so you can honestly say, “Yes, I’m having fun.”

Am I being irresponsible by telling you this?  How do I know having more fun is appropriate for you?  Could I be wrong?  Well, sure, I guess so.  I remember I was wrong, when was it?  Back in 1962 I think, or maybe ’64.  So it could happen, but not likely in this case.

If you’re reading this tome there’s a good chance that you’re taking a look at yourself and your life.  If you’re doing that I am doubly sure that you’re the kind of person who could do with more fun.  Just do it!

Give Yourself a Break!


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