I am a horrible procrastinator. It was always a problem in school, I have trouble with it at work, and it’s getting in the way of my personal relationships, too. I was supposed to write a recommendation for a friend and former co-worker’s graduate school application, and I lied and told her I did it. The form is still sitting on my desk and she’s wondering why the school is saying they don’t have it yet. I don’t want to tell her I lied but I’m so busy, I can’t find the time to sit down and write it.
Sometimes when you put off a specific task like that, there’s a reason.
For instance, not that I know anyone like this, but if a person was supposed to be finishing her grad school thesis, and is at the point where she’s considering having another child for the sole purpose of further delaying the incredibly daunting task in front of her, she might want to pause for a moment and consider the true reasons behind the procrastination.
First possible scenario for you: maybe you don’t really want to recommend this friend and co-worker. Maybe she has a hideous personality flaw that would make her a terrible art historian or physician’s assistant or whatever it is she’s trying to do. If this is the case, call her right now and say, “I’m so sorry; I have the application on my desk and it’s been staring me in the face for weeks. I just can’t find the time to do it. Can you ask someone else?” She’ll be awfully mad, but you can’t really blame her. And you’ll feel relieved.
Second possible scenario: You have terrible time-management skills. I have been able to promote myself from a full-on procrastinator to a Last-Minute Sally. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this. Sure, it’s unfortunate for my family…I’m like Mommie Dearest mixed with an unmedicated six-year-old boy with ADD with a touch of herion addict going through withdrawal.
Unpleasant, but I never miss a deadline. I’m able to achieve this with the effective one-two punch of lists and calendars. I’m a fanatic about it. I make lists of everything that needs to be done amd write deadlines down in not one, but TWO calendars. Sometimes items remain on the list for a year or two, but eventually, it all gets done. Lists help you take baby steps (think Bill Murray in the awesome movie What About Bob?), which helps you not get overwhelmed by the big picture.