I think that procrastination and lack of action get a raw deal in our culture. In Latin countries they extol the virtue of “Mañana,” the concept of getting to things tomorrow, another day. They seem to live in a more relaxed way, not as stressed with the immediacy of the “to-do” list as we are in the U.S. So, I’ve developed a handy mechanism borrowed from that mindset, to solve some problems in a more carefree way. Here are some examples:
- Going through the mail: Instead of sorting through all the obvious junk mail to see where you’ll get a great deal, just ignore it for a few weeks. You’ll then notice that all the coupons for $1. lattes, $15. oil changes and $1. burgers have expired! Dump it all and problem solved!
- Responding to emails: Instead of scrupulously answering the hundreds or thousands of inbox communications, do nothing with the ones that aren’t from loved ones or creditors. You’ll be amazed at how the rest of the pile just seems to fade in importance and relevance. Again, most of the “deals” which seemed so compelling a few weeks ago, will likely have expired, and somehow you’ll go on living.
- The TV remote, your answering machine, your fax and your printer going haywire: I’ve found that if I ignore the malfunctions for a few weeks, it not only forces me to engage less with my devices, but it also gives them time to fix themselves, which they usually do!
- Folding the laundry: Instead of stressing about the enormous pile of towels, sheets and underwear in the clean basket, simply pull out what you need each day. Before you know it, the basket will be empty and nobody (unless Martha Stewart is visiting), will know or care that you’ve done nothing in the folding department. If they do care, maybe you should re-think that relationship…
- Cleaning the garage: Instead of making weekly dates with yourself to thin out all the junk you’ve collected, do nothing and let it accumulate until there’s a hurricane or snowstorm predicted. Then you’ll be amazed to see how quickly and efficiently you clear out the debris in time to save your car from total destruction.
So, I say “Don’t worry, be happy! Do nothing, and sometimes you’ll accomplish a lot!”
PS. If this attitude creates a lot of guilt for you, or you suffer from perfectionism or compulsivity, feel free to contact me for some in-person or remote sessions. Call my office at 603-431-7131 for an appointment.