Remember the line from Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind.
“I can’t think about that right now. If I do I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.”
Why is the idea of tomorrow so tantalizing? Why do we feel that space, time and energy will open wide…tomorrow? Are we lazy, deluded, or simply lacking willpower?
I have a vivid picture in mind of a young family waiting in front of the university publishing building, in a u-haul toting station wagon. I was furiously running copies of my master’s thesis inside to be bound, before we moved back east to attend doctoral school. Nothing but leaving town for four years, and not having the money to mail back all of those pages, had given me the needed focus and deadline to get that weighty project completed.
As human beings we naturally seek to avoid the uncomfortable in social situations, in work to be done, in actions to be taken. Though we berate ourselves for it– knowing we will be sorry–we still put things off until an impending crisis moves us to action. Case in point, Monday was September 15th, the final day to file tax returns for the previous year. Ask any accountant; procrastination causes more stress, illness, and harsh feelings than any other human trait.
I can imagine heads nodding in agreement as we consider the consequences of procrastination. But lets turn now from tasks to relationships. Who hasn’t wished for one more day to say \”I love you\” to a loved one who has passed on unexpectedly? Who hasn’t wished for more time spent listening to or playing with our children while they were young and adoring? Who hasn’t been regularly guilty of not prioritizing our marriage or our friendships over the crush of work? Regret is one of the most destructive emotions and is rooted in procrastination.
This month’s Notes From Home is filled with solid ideas and tools to get you to identify and change your own and your children\’s procrastinating ways. As always, we hope you will find instruction and inspiration for strengthening your family.
To happy families NOW,
Tim Thayne, Ph.D.