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Category: Procrastination

Time Management and Procrastination: What Are You Putting Off?

By Edi Sowers

I've been putting off petunias!

What on earth am I writing about petunias for when we are now entering the "official" Christmas season? Wouldn't poinsettias be more appropriate than petunias as we are trading in our summer shorts and t-shirts for sweaters and winter coats?

Here's a story I'm sure you can relate to since I know that we have ALL "been there, done that" when it comes to procrastinating.

Actually, Christmas is a great time of year to talk about procrastination, because it's so easy to put things off " 'til next year" when we will come up with all manner of New Year's resolutions for the things we really wanted to get accomplished in 2005.

All summer we had a gorgeous profusion of pink, purple and white petunias blooming along our front walk. They grew abundantly and filled in creating a huge bank of beautiful color! I absolutely loved it!

Then came autumn, falling leaves, and dormant trees and plants.

I'm not a master gardener by any stretch of the imagination, but I know enough to know that it's a good idea to pull out those dying annuals, so that after winter passes the tulip bulbs deep in the soil will have unfettered access to break through the cold ground and bring forth new spring color.

For the past month, every time I came up the front walk, I'd look at the petunia plants - which had long since quit blooming - and tell myself "I have to get those out of the ground before it gets cold and miserable."

Well, yesterday was the day of decision! I figured that before we went and bought our Christmas tree, I had to get this overwith!

What finally motivated me to do it?

I made two lists in my mind. One list was the negative consequence of not doing it. The other mental list was all the positive things of actually doing it.

I thought about the very unpleasant task of getting out there when it's still VERY cold, pulling frozen plants up, all the while trying to manage a new baby. I thought about what I'd rather be doing in March of 2006, and what came to mind was a cozy scene of me sitting by the fire, in the rocker, reading a book to my perfectly behaved, adoring child - NOT dragging her out there in a stroller, while I wore 3 layers of clothing, hands freezing, removing those dead plants to make way for the soon-to-emerge tulips.

In my mind, and in my procrastination, this petunia task had grown into some unbearable, dreadful job. So, I kept on procrastinating.

As it turned out, it was very rewarding to get the job done, and it only took about a half hour! I got my heart pumping, I imagined the beauty of the first little shoots coming up in the still cold early spring, and I thought about how fun it will be to experience that with our little girl. The task was done in a flash!

Why did I wait so long to do this?

Why do any of us wait to do what we want to do and what we need to do?

It's all about the way we think about whatever the task is.

In my case, I'd convinced myself that petunia duty would be a long, drawn-out, dirty job - in reality it was quick, easy, and totally pleasant - and the real reward will be 4 months from now. I will remember the day I CHOSE to follow-through and do the right thing, and in my remembering will have great satisfaction. My reward will be a bank of new, red tulips!


WHAT ARE THE "DYING PETUNIAS" that you need to tackle so that there is fresh, new ground for something new and beautiful to spring up into your life, your work, your relationships, or your business?

  • A personal care thing like improving your eating or exercising more?
  • A business activity like following up with customers to let them know about holiday specials?
  • Getting out your holiday greeting cards?
  • Doing your Christmas shopping early, instead of on Christmas Eve?
  • Is the thing you're putting off important? Will there be some negative consequence to NOT doing it? What will be the reward for DOING it?

    Get a jumpstart on the things you are putting off!

    Learn more about Productive Procrastination - an e-book to help you overcome procrastination. Visit LifeHouse Coaching to sign up for "Blueprints for a Dream Life" and receive Edi Sowers' f*r*e*e* weekly articles, coaching tips, and special offers.

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