The Art of Procrastination

Why do some procrastinate when dealing with death, caregiving, and other challenging issues?  That is the million-dollar question!

Some of us are exceptionally good at doing things and tending to every imaginable task, like it or not.  Some of us are followers that are very good at taking direction from the doers.  Still, others are extremely skilled at procrastination and avoiding the elephant in the room, even if it must be dealt with.

In my 20 year professional quest for the answer to procrastination, I am reminded of an image we have all seen in old “spaghetti westerns”, the old cowboy pushing and cursing at his stubborn donkey to get up and go!  The same is true for our clients, relatives, and friends.  Never is it more unnerving than when you are trying to settle an estate, handle issues related to an illness or the death of a loved one, and the decision maker is — dare I say it — a procrastinator.

Why do some procrastinate? 

First, they don’t have the ability to, or simply can’t, deal with the issue at hand.  Perhaps it is too emotional, or they are just indecisive people to begin with and tackle all life’s issues in this manner.

Second, they simply don’t want to handle this issue.  Often, but not always, these personality types ill allow people who are doers to come in and take over the reins (literally).  With people like this, I always map out a plan — here’s what happens first, second, etc.  They like to know what is going on, but don’t necessarily desire to be a part of the process.

Third, why deal with it today when I don’t have to?  There’s not much I can say about this type.  I have seen many unexpected deaths in my line of work, and to me, there’s no time like the present.  Why put it off when it has to be done anyway?  Just do it!

There is no known cure for procrastination.  One would think that time and experience would teach people not to put things off.  Since the beginning of time, people have put things off because they didn’t want to think or act.  That’s why so many people perish without having even a basic will, let alone having many other vital issues discussed and planned out. 

Procrastination is a bad word.  Planning, while you are in control and have your say, is a beautiful gift to everyone around you!

“Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.”  ~~Napoleon Hill

© 2010 Julie Hall


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