“Daddy, are we late?”
“Daddy, can you play with me?”
“Not today son, I have a lot of work to do.”
“Mommy, I don’t have any clean underwear, and I can’t find my uniform.”
I confess, the quotes above are taken straight from the mouths in my house. I admit I am a little embarrassed to share them, but more frustrated about them than anything. Quote number one is typically what we hear from one of our kids when we are trying to go somewhere. Quotes number two and three happen at the end of the month when I am swamped with writing. And quote number four is what happens on some Saturday mornings when we are getting ready to head to our son’s little league games.
Our family notoriously runs late — we run around trying to prepare things for events we knew were coming days, even months in advance. I hate to say it, but that is one of the major challenges in our relationship. We both procrastinate. And honestly we are both tired of it. Not just tired of the other’s procrastination, but of our own individual procrastination habits.
We both realize the toll it is taking on our family, and the negative impact it is having on our marriage. It is like a python slowly squeezing the life out of our relationship. Not good at all, and if we don’t change, it could kill our relationship. Can you relate? Are you or your significant other a procrastinator? If so, I implore you to begin making changes today.
Here is our plan to kill procrastination and save our relationship:
1. Be honest about it
Sometimes we hold our spouses at higher expectations than us. When they do it, it’s bad; when we do it, we justify it. Whether it’s you or your spouse, you have to be real with yourself and them. Don’t use it as a weapon, realize it is a problem that needs to be worked on … together.
2. Find why you do it
I used to think I was just lazy. I had some serious mental battles with that. But only after hearing differently from other people and looking at how hard I work on some things I realize that was a lie. I’m an entrepreneur who gets an idea per minute. But like most entrepreneurs, we can sometimes have the “shiny object syndrome” which leads to not completing tasks because we start them then move on to what’s exciting. Since I’ve learned this, I have started to work on one thing at a time until completion. No matter what it is. It’s working pretty well.
3. Help and encourage one another
My wife and I really have no room for judgment because we both do it. If you are the diligent one, don’t discourage your spouse. Find ways to help them and always be encouraging. To some people it is serious, and if they feel you are against them, they may never get the help they need.
4. Get small victories
Find something small you can do on a regular basis to fight your procrastination habits or a way to record your progress. A simple checklist with three must-do tasks each day is a good place to start. Make the tasks very simple and doable at one time, preferably at the beginning of each day. Seeing items get checked off each day gives you momentum and shows the power of doing it now. When you get this down, then try four or five daily tasks.
5. Don’t believe the lies
You read earlier how I really felt I was just lazy. Sometimes I felt there was no help for me, and I was defeated before I even started. But then when I looked at what I was actually accomplishing, I realized there was no way a lazy person could accomplish all this. Laziness wasn’t the problem. Distractions were.
We are a work in progress, so we know we may have ups and downs. We may lose some battles, but we are focused on winning the war and killing this procrastination. Because we do not want anything keeping us from having a fulfilling and lasting marriage.
As you look at the list above, you may notice the plan can be used to kill any bad habit that is hurting your relationship. I encourage you to apply it where needed in your relationship.
Has your relationship been affected by procrastination or any other bad habit?
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