get things doneEvery day, in every moment you have the opportunity to make decisions about how to spend your time.  You can choose to do things that make you happy in the moment and you can choose things that make you happy over the long haul.

Procrastination is maddening (even if we’re the only one who knows we’re procrastinating).   But most of us do it about something, anyway.

About those decisions, one is not necessarily better than the other in every case. But sometimes making choices that make you happy in the moment actually make you regretful or unhappy over the long haul.

See if any of these sound familiar…

Sitting on the couch watching TV for hours at a time vs.
Using that time to read a book or perhaps to start writing your own book

Shopping for stuff you don’t really need vs.
Spending some time dejunking the office and creating an environment that works for you

Aimlessly surfing the web vs.
Getting out of the house for a walk or a run

Complaining with friends about how you hate your job vs.
Doing some inner work to discover what you’d like to be doing, or updating your resume

Avoiding the person who wronged you and harboring anger towards them vs.
Having a thoughtful conversation with that person about how you view what happened to see if you can work it out

In the cases above, the top choices in the pairs aren’t really as much about doing things that make us happy as they are avoidance techniques.  In practice they don’t really produce that much happiness. The bottom choices in the pairs, which require stopping the procrastination, take an extra push to get going, but pay off in long-term personal satisfaction.

But you know that, right?

Sometimes the unpleasant situation wins the procrastination war because doing something about it seems too daunting. And it’s true that starting a big project or making a change in behavior can be challenging. That whole “body at rest tends to stay at rest” has proven to be powerfully true.

But what if you take just one step in the direction that seems so challenging and see what that does for you?

It feels powerful and invigorating to finally get in motion. When was the last time you felt all puffed up about accomplishing something that came easily to you? You get real satisfaction from stretching, from pushing yourself, sometimes in small ways and sometimes far beyond what you thought you could do.

You have something you want to accomplish, so get going! Get information, get help, get inspiration if you need it. But by all means get on with it!


  1. Tiffany Engler on July 27, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    Mary, your point about taking it one step at a time is so true! I find that starting is the hardest part. I’ve built up some of the things I dread so much that I put them off and then when I do start I think to myself, “well that wasn’t so bad.” It’s funny how our mind plays tricks on us. Thanks for your post.

  2. Mary Kutheis (kooth-ice) on July 30, 2012 at 9:16 am

    It really is all about the mind isn’t it? Watching the Olympics, the athletes have the physical skill to get on the podium, but being able to control their thinking is what makes some get there and some not. Thanks for your input here. Couldn’t agree more!