Welcome to Clutter Busters, our new series designed to help you keep chaos at bay. This week’s focus—that insidious clutter culprit called procrastination.
To some extent, we’re all guilty of this common character flaw. If you think you’re immune, just ask yourself this question, “How many times have I left dirty pots and pans in the kitchen sink after a long, exhausting day?” Or what about that pile of folded laundry that has been sitting on the coffee table for two days? Surely somebody will put it away eventually, right?
Perhaps deep down, we’re not so much procrastinators as we are eternal optimists, hoping that some magic pill or personal assistant will take care of those weight-loss or organization goals for us.
Sadly, the world just doesn’t work that way. No matter how much we glare at it, that pile of laundry is never going to jump off the coffee table, saunter down the hallway and tuck itself neatly into the sock drawers. Those extra pounds we want to lose? They’re not going to melt away on their own. So instead of waiting for someone else to do the work for you, why not follow this one simple principle that will help you reach your goals—and kick that procrastination habit for good?
Taking care of your “future self”
The next time you’re tempted to avoid some dreaded task, ask yourself this question, “What will my ‘future self’ think about that? Does ‘future self’ really want to face a mound of dirty dishes stacked on the kitchen counter tomorrow morning?” If the answer is “no,” then do “future self” a favor and wash those dishes now. You’ll be so happy to wake up to a bright, clean kitchen!
This principle works for weight loss, too. Take me, for example. I’m pretty sure that “future Mary Jane” doesn’t want to exercise for an extra hour tomorrow morning—or starve herself for half the day—just so that “current Mary Jane” can eat that super deluxe, double-chocolate fudge brownie right now.
OK, so deep down, I would really love to have that personal assistant following me around, cleaning up my messes and keeping me on track. But right now, it’s just not in the budget. The good news is that I don’t have to hire one to have a clean house. I can do it myself, just by taking care of my future self today.