Procrastination Costs Money, Time, and Energy

Posted by Mrs Money on September 22nd, 2009

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confession.jpgI can be the world’s worst (or would it be best?) procrastinator. If there is something that needs to be done, either I’m on fire to get it done, or I put it off until I get so stressed about it that I’m about ready to snap. Not the best thing. For example, the wedding pictures that I shot Labor Day weekend? I only have a handful edited. I shot something like 1300 images. Of course all of them are not good, so I have to go through and weed out which ones I think are good enough to edit. I’m still not done with that, and I’m having a hard time deciding which ones are good and which ones aren’t. I need to just do it and stop putting it off. I’ll feel a lot better once it’s done.

One thing that I’ve realized about myself is that one of the biggest reasons I do put things off is because I’m afraid of failure. I’m afraid of messing something up or that it’s not going to come out perfectly. Many home improvement projects have gone unfinished around my house as a result of this. I have a desk that I bought at a yard sale that is half sanded, the drawers are stained but not polyurethaned. Because I haven’t finished this desk, my office/craft room is not finished, and I’m waiting to set up my sewing machine in there. Not finishing that desk is impacting other parts of my life.

The same principle applies to my money. Rather than taking extra money and putting it towards debt, I procrastinate it and put it into a savings account. Our emergency fund is fully funded, so there’s no reason I should be saving the money versus paying off debt with it.

This is my plan to combat my procrastination. 1. Start a list of all the things that need to get done. If I see them written on paper, that makes it all more real. Plus, as I cross things off, that will feel good to have something completed. 2. When I know that I have a large project that needs to be done, break it up into smaller chunks so that it doesn’t feel so intimidating. 3. Celebrate and enjoy the projects when they are finished!

How do you conquer procrastination?

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31 Responses to “Procrastination Costs Money, Time, and Energy”


  1. Robert says:

    I procrastinate way too much. On the weekends I’m so dead tired that I don’t seem to get anything completed. It’s frustrating.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    That’s part of my problem- I’m like, I just spent 8 hours at work, I would much rather be relaxing now because I earned it. Bad thinking!

    [Reply]

  2. It can also cause a lot of stress.

    And clutter, because procrastination is just putting off what needs to get done.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    That is so true! I hate both clutter and stress. Thanks for leaving a comment- I hadn’t heard of your blog until now and I love it!

    [Reply]

  3. Kristin says:

    I still procrastinate but not as much as when I was in school. My worst year was my design year. I thought I wanted to do interior design and I was up against people who had nourished their artsy side since they were barely walking. Fear of failure and perfectionism caused procrastination, stress, and finally an ulcer. All’s good now :-) Good list for combating procrastination – I too make lists. Crossing things off feels like such an accomplishment!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    I am surprised I haven’t given myself an ulcer throughout my life. That’s good news! :)

    Crossing the things off is the best!

    [Reply]

  4. H Lee D says:

    I’m definitely a list person.

    Also, we were bad about procrastinating taking care of mail and other things that came in the door and landed on the kitchen counter.

    After two weeks of vowing that the counter would stay clean, it is its own reward: 1-I don’t have to spend time on the (short!) weekend cleaning up the kitchen counter; 2-the kitchen is much friendlier, as it is uncluttered.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Oh, the mail. I have stacks sitting like a foot away from me. I try to shred what we don’t need, but some things I’m like eh- I’ll look at them later. And then they spend the next couple months on the floor! I have a little box for the stuff to go in and I should start using that again as the “inbox”. :)

    [Reply]

    H Lee D Reply:

    Resist the “look at later” pile – it is your enemy!!

    It’s really worth the 5 or 10 minutes to sort through it now, rather than an hour (or two or three, depending on how long you put it off for) later.

    Because after things have sat on the floor for two months, where do they end up? Just pitch ‘em without letting them “age” first.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    I’m really bad about our Roth IRA statements. They come in and go in “the pile”. I should get some binders and put them in there. I guess I could also only keep them quarterly or yearly.

  5. Hariom says:

    The best way to overcoming procrastination is:

    GET STARTED by TAKING THE smallest step YOU CAN right now!

    By taking the itsy bitsy tiniest step you can take right now you are on your way to getting it done.

    As they say; “Once begun, half done!”

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Love that quote! Sometimes I figure ANYTHING I do helps, but other times it feels like it doesn’t.

    [Reply]

  6. I too am a procrastinator. I do recognize it is a problem, and it is so very frustrating. Sometimes like Robert said he is just too tired so it makes it hard to get anything done. When I feel tired and unmotivated, I have to give myself permission to take a nap and hopefully when I get up I will have enough energy to motivate myself to get something done. My boss was just telling me on Monday that she guessed having six children forced her to become organized, and to this day (she’s 70) she still makes a list for the weekend days of what has to get done. I laughed and told her I was pretty sure it had a bit more to do with personality because I pointed out how her lifelong friend with SEVEN children had never, ever gotten organized and is still a clutterbug. I have made lists and sometimes they work, sometimes they just sit there. Funny enough, I have come across the lists and some things that I had on them that just HAD to be done, never did get done, and life toodled along just fine. Sometimes I tell myself that I am going to put THREE things on a list, and get that done, and then I’m off the hook. Good luck with your photo editing. 1300 photos is a lot to go through, especially if you are doing it for free! One thing I would definitely do is first burn all 1300 to a CD, then the ones left on the PC I would go through and if I see any little thing wrong, just delete it. That should help to eliminate at least a couple hundred. Next I’d pick out my absolute favorites, the ones that immediately catch my eye and sort those into a favorites folder. Anyway, hopefully it is fun to an extent.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    I think the list thing has a lot to do with my personality. I am a little type A. :) And I hope I don’t have six OR seven kids! hahaha

    I got paid to do the wedding so I’m trying to tell myself that I can do something with that money as soon as I get them done. It’s fun for me to edit them after I’ve decided which ones I’m going to keep. But when I take 10 shots of the same pose, that gets old. :)

    [Reply]

  7. Miss M says:

    Yep, another member of the procrastination club. Thank goodness you don’t have to do anything to join or we wouldn’t exist! What I hate about myself is that I even procrastinate on positive financial things, like opening a Roth or doing my taxes when I’m owed a refund. I haven’t any solution, just commiserating.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    OMG that is hilarious! I am the exact same way about taxes. Each January, I’m like, ok, let’s get this knocked out and DONE and then April comes and I’m sweating it. Not cool!

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  8. cavewoman says:

    I liked your list for how you handle procrastination. That’s the method I employ as well. Seems to work.

    Also—if there is something that I really need to do—I will put it in a place where I see if Every Freakin’ Day, until I am so annoyed by it’s presence, I will attack it to completed and therefore out of sight.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    I like that. I am to the point where I hate seeing anything be a mess around the house, so I am sure that will help!

    [Reply]

  9. H Lee D says:

    Also, if you simplify, then there are fewer things on the to-do list. And less clutter to put away or to clean or to manage. I’m in the process of cleaning out the house – finished the bedroom, the kitchen and almost finished the office. Not having clutter (visible or invisible) feels great!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    I’ve been doing that, and it does feel great! So much easier to clean.

    [Reply]

  10. Tiffanie says:

    Have you tried Adobe Lightroom? That’s what I use for my photography (I am getting used to it.) It has a survey view where you can compare those 10 shots of the same pose and pick just one! Nice! It also is very easy to “P” Pick and “X” reject a photo. Then if you want to look at all of them together or only the ones you picked, you just use the filter. :) Nice!

    Lists are a wonderful thing. :) Sometimes I write things on my list that I’ve already done just so I can cross them off….haha ok, so now you know how crazy I really am!

    Good luck with the photos. Also- try to just do it a step at a time. Upload and make a back up and then be done for the day. Next day, go thru and pick the keepers. Be done for the day. THEN you can begin to edit. Give yourself breaks! :)

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    I just use Photoshop. I don’t think I will ever do a wedding again after this! lol

    Lightroom sounds amazing! I would love to get more into photography, but I only have a Canon xti and don’t want to spend a ton of money on lenses or a new camera. I am cheap! I also feel like everyone these days wants to be into photography, so why should I get that serious about it? :(

    [Reply]

    Tiffanie Reply:

    Yeah, I hear you about photography being expensive!! I have an Xsi and two lenses that are minimally good quality (in my opinion). One is just the kit lense. After shooting with my friend’s 50mm 1.4 I got snobby at my own lense, lol. I will be saving up for my own 50mm as soon as I can!! No credit cards!

    I do agree, everywhere you go you hear about someone else that is or wants to be a photographer. I have days where I swear up and down that is what I’m supposed to do, and then other days I think I’d be happy just going to hygiene school. (I’m a dental assistant now.) I don’t know though…I NEED to do something creative with myself!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    I have a 50mm 1.8 and it is fantastic and was not expensive at all! You should look into that.

    I love shooting but I lack confidence because I think my equipment is not good enough. I think I’ll keep practicing and see how it goes. :)

  11. Have you checked out the tutorials at The Pioneer Woman’s aka Ree Drummond? She rocks!!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    I have! I have some of her actions and they are so awesome! I love The Pioneer Woman. I would love to live on her ranch. :) Thanks for the recommendation!

    [Reply]


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