Mistakes: Procrastination

by Kevin on March 5, 2008

  1. Change car air filters.
  2. Put up window film next to front door (frosted look so you can’t see straight into the house.)
  3. Finish wills and powers of attorney.
  4. Open Roth IRA.
  5. Call home builder re: 2nd bathroom fixes.
  6. Work on parents’ investments.
  7. Put wedding video on CD.
  8. Buy weed killer and weed & feed, put on grass.
  9. Send up wife’s disability insurance application.

This is a list of some things I have needed to get done for the past month or so. Until this past weekend, I had done absolutely none of this (bolded items are now incomplete). Why? Procrastination.

Why do we let it affect us? If I had an answer, I wouldn’t be writing this. I think awareness is part of it. We don’t find a way to constantly remind ourselves of what we need to get done.

I think the biggest part is we don’t see the long term consequences of inaction. Let’s look at my list above and come up with some possible consequences.

  1. (Minor) Poorer car performance.
  2. (Minor) Not feeling as safe; people could see into our living room.
  3. (Major) Our estate is not in order. If we were killed in a car accident, it would be a legal mess.
  4. (Major) Retiring later than we want, retiring with less money, missing an investment opportunity with the markets being down so much right now.
  5. (Minor) Continue to be annoyed by minor issues that need fixing in our 2nd bathroom.
  6. (Major) Possible loss of large sums of money for my parents.
  7. (Major to us) We could lose the camcorder tapes (or they could deteriorate or become damaged) and lose our wedding video forever.
  8. (Minor) Clover will continue to grow in our yard.
  9. (Major) If my wife were to become disabled for a long period of time, we would be in financial straits.

Looking at that list, 55% of the items are major to us. Major meaning we would really be wishing we had taken care of them before something happened. I still need to do four of the five as well — not good!

This weekend and the first two days of this week, we completed the non-bolded items from above. It feels good to mark off the items that have been on the list more than a month. As I write this, I can still see we have some major holes to close up. The simple exercise of writing this post has shown me we really need to get our act together.

Procrastination can take small issues and turn them into major problems if you let them sit. (For example, I bought weed and feed fertilizer, as well as a targeted weed killer. I haven’t applied the fertilizer, but I have applied the weed killer. If I went ahead and put the weed & feed on the grass, it might help prevent clover from growing in other areas.)

So what have you been waiting to do? Opening that investment account? Do it. Creating your budget to get out of debt? Do it!

What are you waiting for?

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Mom March 5, 2008 at 9:17 am

There is a quote I always think of when I realize I’m procrastinating. It says: “Some people spend years putting off a 10 minute job.”

Which is so true! But that being said, my new years resolution for the past two years is to finish my will, and it’s still not done.

Leigh March 5, 2008 at 10:04 pm

Ha! I just opened up our Roth IRA accounts tonight!

You make a good point, I have GOT to get our will done! I have procrastinated long enough. Maybe by this weekend I can get that seen about. I purchased Quicken that has a willmaker. I hope I can figure it out. I plan on getting my dh’s friend who is a lawyer to do whatever needs to be done to make sure it is legal. I have a young child and need to make sure she is taken care of.

kentuckyliz March 11, 2008 at 8:41 am

I got my will, power of attorney, and health care power of attorney/protective medical decisions document done in January, fairly quickly, as a result of the Dave Ramsey 30 Day Love Drawer challenge!

Part of my obstacles before were that my family didn’t really want to discuss some practical issues before. However, having my third primary cancer made them think that maybe now’s the time to face some tough questions. They finally didn’t put me off about POA and medical decisions and executors and such. I started proposing nonfamily local friends to do these things for me if they were uncomfortable, and they don’t know my friends, so they were uncomfortable with that and thought my assets might get raided outside the family. LOL

I’m single so if I die intestate my assets go to my elderly father, who is already wealthy and trying to reduce his estate. He’s in the nursing home and has no use for my assets.

An intestacy calculator can be pretty motivating. Google for it, I think Forbes online has one.

Just do it! Make it a race! Post on your blog “I am completing my will today!” and make your readers hold you accountable.

Mr. Debtbeater March 12, 2008 at 12:02 am

Procrastination is actually one of the key things I hoped to address by running my blog. The accountability that the audience gives you really helps keep things moving. Granted, things don’t always go as planned, but until I started blogging about my experience things just seemed to take longer…if not forever.

Dana March 14, 2008 at 9:03 am

Off topic but… *boggle* You’re getting weed killer for clover? Dude, don’t do that. Clover is like free fertilizer. It’s a legume. It fixes nitrogen in the soil. That’s that much less you’d have to spend on lawn fertilizer. Plus, clover is pretty and mixes in very well with grass.

Aside from that… Great article.

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