Three Excuses for Procrastination.. and why not to listen

I didn't write a blog post yesterday, because I had a lot of things to do off the computer. I drove Mr. Scrimp to work. I worked out. I drove me to work. I worked. I came home and we made dinner and then I spent hours cleaning.

All in all, sounds pretty good, right? Well, no, because...

The truth is, all of that time I spent cleaning yesterday afternoon was making up for time I didn't spend cleaning sooner than that. I am a veteran procrastinator. I can never, ever leave things for later because later never comes and I will always find something more interesting than, say, putting away the laundry that I folded three weeks ago.

I genuinely don't understand why I procrastinate so much. If I had just put the laundry away, for instance, when Mr. Scrimp and I finished folding it, I would have saved myself 45 minutes of sorting through a half-folded pile of laundry, trying to figure out what was still clean. If we put our dirty clothes in the hamper every time instead of sometimes just letting them fall on the floor, it would be so much easier to tell when we needed to do laundry again.

We bought curtains at Wal-Mart back in October, I think. The ones for the dining room went up immediately because other people see that. The ones for our bedroom I put up.. um.. last night. I closed the curtains before we went to bed and there was a huge difference in how dark our bedroom was.

It took me five minutes to put those curtains on a rod, including finding a replacement rod from elsewhere in the house when I realized that one of the rods in our bedroom was broken. Why didn't I do it months ago?

1. I'm too tired

I think what drives me to procrastinate most is just feeling tired. I get up at 6, help get Mr. Scrimp off to work, and then have about 40 minutes to myself before it's time to leave for my own nine-hour day. By the time I get home, it's 6:30 and either Mr. Scrimp has made dinner or I have to make it and we generally eat by 7. At that point... well, I am, I'm just tired. I want to hang out with Mr. Scrimp and our cats. I want to get on the Internet and read blogs and write here. I want to mess around with my crafting stuff. I don't want to put up curtains or do laundry.

But the truth is that what I have to remember is that once I get home, if I just force myself to push through that just-got-home malaise, my energy comes back and I can work for hours quite happily, as I did last night.

2. I'm too busy

The second biggest excuse I use in procrastinating is that whatever-it-is will just take too much time right now. I'll have more time later, I tell myself. It will be okay. I can do this on Saturday.

But I don't do it on Saturday, because by Saturday I've either forgotten or become so good at ignoring the problem that I decide to just ignore it some more.

The truth is, the longer you delay, the more time it's going to take. I mentioned this in passing already. It didn't need to take me two hours to clean our bedroom last night. If I tidied a bit every day, right when I got home, it would only take ten minutes out of my free time and it would always be clean.

3. It won't make a difference

Even when I manage to pep-talk myself out of those first two excuses, this one is always there. Don't bother, my brain tells me. You don't mind things being a little messy. Cleaning is just a lot of work for not much reward.

Well, that is just a flat-out lie. I can adjust to things being messy, but I love it beyond measure when things are clean. And the rewards are almost always better than I let myself think. Five minutes to hang curtains resulted in a much more finished-looking bedroom and dramatically better sleep last night. Sweeping the floor picked up dirt that I wasn't even aware of, but the floor looks so much better!

It is always worth it.

I use these excuses for more than just cleaning. They apply to almost anything--waking up in the morning, going to work, grocery shopping, paying bills... and the response to those excuses ought to always be the same.

And on that note.. time to tell my brain to shut up, stop whining, and go get ready for work.

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