Is This Habit Stealing Your Happiness?

procrastination file folders

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Yesterday I put the Christmas lights away. We usually do this in January, but with all the ice and snow this winter we put it off.

And put it off.

When things finally thawed out, I thought about the lights, … and hoped my husband would decide it was time to take care of them.

He didn’t.

So yesterday I stopped procrastinating and put the lights away.

The problem with procrastination—and the resulting accumulation of undone tasks—is that it can sap our strength and tarnish our happiness. Procrastination can also sabotage our dreams, because it is really just a form of Resistance. If we put off making that phone call or signing up for that class, eventually we lose the chance. Resistance has had another victory and we are no closer to changing for the better or realizing our potential.

Happiness = conquering a nagging task

Tired of all the energy you waste trying to ignore that pile of nagging tasks? Then decide today that you will begin to do something about it. Crossing even one small nagging task from our mental list can deliver a boost of happiness—and the confidence to tackle something bigger.

If you’re really determined to fight Resistance, sit down and make a list of every task you’ve been putting off. Don’t stop with the first five that come to mind. Think beyond the obvious tasks like cleaning the windows or organizing the linen closet. Are there people you need to sit down and talk with? A skill you’ve been meaning to bone up on? An unpleasant problem you need to deal with?  A resume you ought to send out?

Write them all down—at least a page’s worth. Maybe two or three.

When you’re finished, look down the list and pick a small task you can accomplish in the next few minutes.

Do it! Now cross it off you list.

There, don’t you feel better?

May the list be with you

Now that you’ve made your list, find a place to keep it so you can find it again. The next time you are bored, or uninspired with life, or feeling low, or know you’re losing a battle with Resistance, pull out your list and find a nagging task to tackle.

As your list gets shorter, your satisfaction with life will grow, and so will your resistance to Resistance.

What nagging task are you going to tackle today?

Leonardo Da Vinci quote

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Related Posts:

Are You Happy?

What’s Holding You Back?


Is This Habit Stealing Your Happiness? — 6 Comments

  1. Your latest posts are hitting way too close to home. 🙂
    Last year I went through the house and wrote down everything I needed/wanted to do in each room, no matter how big or small. I kept the list on my computer, in the Dock for quick reference. When I completed a task I would strike it through, not just delete it so I could see the progress. I did not get through all of them, but made a big dent which slowed the drain on mental energy. It provided some motivation to overcome the Resistance you speak of.

    • Thanks for the encouragement to the rest of us. I think we have no idea how much stuff like clutter and undone tasks drain us. I will go right now and cross another thing of my list! (meaning I will actually do the thing, obviously)

      • And if it makes you feel better, I took the Christmas cards (and one decoration that got missed) off the front door just last week.

  2. This is a good point, Lisa. Crossing little things off of a big list is motivating. I need to apply that to every day rather than just crisis mode. Thanks for the encouraging post.