Imagine this. You get an invitation for an interview. It’s the job of your dreams. You need to prepare adequately. But you have friends over for the weekend and make a mental note to get it done as soon as you have more time. Your best friend’s son is critically ill and in the hospital. You know you should visit. But you’ve just left the school where your son was reprimanded for hitting another child. You’re not in any mood to cheer someone up. You’ll go later. The door slams. You have just had another argument again with your teenager. You take a long gulp from the bottle. You know you shouldn’t be drinking. The doctor was pretty stern the last time. But it’s been an exhausting day emotionally. Just one more bottle, you say to yourself. Viola. You don’t get the job. You put off preparations until it was too late. You are filled with gut-wrenching guilt and remorse. Your friend’s son has just died. You know you weren’t there when she needed you. You slowly exit the doctor’s office. You have just received the chilling news about a kidney replacement. You imagine the hospital bills this would amount to. Your heart sinks as you realize it was avoidable.
We have all been there.
Putting off things for want of better time or better mood. It could be you. That is exactly what happened to me and my bottle of coke.My husband came in one day several months back. With a smile on his face, he said, guess what, I paused in the middle of work, and looked. He had a bottle of coke with my name on it. I squealed in delight. The coke campaign had been on, during which names were printed on the back of the bottles. With a pretty common name like Ruth, I figured I would see my name soon. I didn’t. So I gave up my search. And here I was, surprised with my very own branded coke.
I kept it first on the fridge, when the roving eyes became too much to handle, I relocated it to the nightstand in my bedroom. I just liked looking at it, I kept fantasizing of the perfect moment I would drink it chilled. Maybe on a hot day with some nice hot rice. All efforts to get me to open it hit a brick wall. My husband tried. My son asked. There was just no way mummy was sharing her drink. Until my husband decided to drink it up one day. He jokingly said, you don’t even know if it has expired. Ping. A light bulb went on in my head. I hadn’t even thought of that. Coke was always there. We checked for the expiry date, and yours truly, it had expired. Three months ago. WHAT? Arghhhhhh. Oh No. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I looked again. The expiry date looked back at me. I still wanted to at least take a sip. He gave me a list of all the reasons why an expired drink was bad for a breastfeeding mother. I was disappointed. No, make that crushed. My branded coke. We have all been in places in our lives at some point where we had something good going for us, and we waited too long to make it happen. Or had to stop a bad habit but kept putting it off until it got the better of us. And in all the scenarios, we paid dearly for it. “Don’t wait for the ‘perfect’ time, you will wait forever. Always take advantage of the time you’re given and make it perfect for you.” – Diamond JohnWhen you wait for the ‘perfect’ time, things almost always never get done.
If it’s worth doing, then just do it.
Everything is done in time. Life comes to us in seasons and times. And we appreciate things that are time bound. Take education for example. It has a definite start and stop time. Imagine if one didn’t know how long you would be in school. There would simply be no motivation to finish. Having something to look forward to in definite time gives value to it.
This is the main reason you hear people say, if only they could turn back the hands of the clock. They realize in retrospect that they had put off things they should have done and are suffering the consequences. Looking at the life of one of my mentors, Scott Dinsmore who just passed on, I couldn’t believe he was just twenty-nine. He understood what it meant to live purposefully and he did. I cant imagine what the world would have lost if he kept procrastinating, Live Your Legend wouldn’t have been, or wouldn’t have come this far. He has made the world better by the way he lived. Someone once said the grave is the richest place, because it has people with untapped potentials. Most of them died still procrastinating. They had dreams, plans and ambitions, most of which never saw the light of day.
I would have loved to give three tips, or five steps to fighting procrastination. But it all comes down to one.
Just do it. Just do it because there’s no better time. Just do it because the best time was actually yesterday. Just open the bottle of coke. Get out of bed, start that business, make the call, stop the bad habit, pick up the book now, write a book, get married, have children, go for your dream vacation, the list is endless. Life can be a string of victories if we only kick procrastination to the curb. Imagine this instead. You open the letter and see it’s for the interview. You begin preparations immediately and are ready before time. You handle the interview with knowledge and confidence. You are hired. You visit your friend at the hospital. She gives you a tired smile and thanks you for coming. After his death, she tells people how supportive you were and what a great friend you are. You are glad you were there. You stop drinking. Another visit to the doctor and he gives you a clean bill of health. Your daughter squeezes your hand in joy. You have earned the respect of your teen. The possibilities are endless. The popular nursery rhyme comes to mind, Tick, says the clock, tick, tick What you have to do, do quick. In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take. Don’t you agree?
Ruth Zubairu is a work at home mum of two energetic under 3 year olds. She is the founder of sheiscomplete.com, a personal development community for women committed to building strong, confident and empowered women. Get her checklist for a healthy Self esteem and be on your way to becoming a more confident You. You can find her on Twitter & IG.
Image courtesy of Greg Raines.