Tomorrow is a word used quite favorably by a lot of us in every avenue of our lives. “I’ll start studying for my exams tomorrow”. “I will make that call to my parents, tomorrow”. “I will prepare that client pitch tomorrow”. “I’ll submit my project due today, tomorrow (and spend today coming up with a fantastic excuse for doing so). “I will clean my room tomorrow”. “I will take my grandmother for that drive she’s been asking for tomorrow”. “I’m still angry for the mistakes I made and will apologize to my spouse tomorrow”. “I will stop being irritable tomorrow”. “I’ll take my calendar and replace today with tomorrow” (For some reason we never say the following things – “I’ll eat that piece of cake tomorrow”. “I’ll have my second drink tomorrow”. “I’ll wait until tomorrow to play video games”. “I’ll sleep in tomorrow”. “I’ll wait until tomorrow to post my pictures on social media to show the world how awesome I look at the party today”. “I’ll catch up with my Netflix shows tomorrow”).
Procrastination has to be one of the top human vices (I’m quite certain we’d like to call it a skill), surpassing others like our ability to be corrupt, greedy, conniving, lazy, and even Boston Red Sox fans. It’s a VIP card that we tend to use at every opportunity (And yes I mean every single opportunity that involves us doing anything that is not fun and games). In fact, the moment the world leadership declares that alien races do indeed exist (Imagine earthlings as the only inhabitants of the universe. Knowing our habits, we would have trespassed and ruined most of it by now), procrastination would have to be earth’s entry towards an intergalactic event, which would give us a galaxy-sized advantage over the others.
Despite our tendency to put things off since the dawn of day, I’m often amazed at the ease and fluency with which we procrastinate on the most pressing issues in our lives; Preparation for large client deals, competitive examinations, treatment for health ailments, spending time with an aging parent or a growing child, filing taxes, beginning our fitness regime, resolving grave issues with loved ones, proposing to our love (so that we attend her wedding as the groom and not the best man), and even fixing the hinge on our front door so that we don’t get slapped in the face every time we leave or enter home.
And then when we wake up each day, we wonder why it sucks as much as the previous one. I suppose we expect life to give us a break since we give most things a break ourselves until tomorrow arrives. Unfortunately, (or fortunately since we can push things back another day) every time we begin a new day, it’s still today and tomorrow hasn’t quite arrived. We don’t move a muscle but expect that miracles will take place and life will become more cheerful on its own accord. And when this doesn’t happen we will whip out our magic diary of excuses (Somehow we want to do this immediately and never wait for tomorrow). Who are these excuses for anyway? The world doesn’t really care about what we do with our lives. Our loved ones do, but despite their valiant efforts, they watch us painfully wither our lives away (We on the other hand still believe we have exemplary prioritizing and time management skills).
So what’s it going to take for us to realize that when we think of a ‘better tomorrow’, we really need to start acting today? What’s it going to take for us to take our preparation for life’s challenges more seriously, beginning today? What’s it going to take for us to realize that enough time has been spent leading a sedentary lifestyle? What will it take for us to pay heed to our failing health and fitness? When will we realize and accept that it’s our redundant skillset and not our environment, that is keeping us from progressing at the workplace? What’s it going to take for us to realize that our grandparents are in their twilight years and if we don’t spend time with them today, there will be no tomorrow? What’s it going to take for us to mend our relationship with our estranged brother? What would it take for us to recognize that too much time has already passed, and with that, a lot of life has passed us by?
Laziness is only a factor that comes into play when procrastinating on trivial everyday things (That still need to be done). It’s the fear of letting ourselves go in the direction that we truly desire internally that keeps us from taking action today. We are afraid of the unknown and the risks that come with testing our potential. And rather than encouraging ourselves to take a leap of faith and back ourselves, we resort to making excuses for avoiding exactly what we need to do. We overthink, which eventually leads to inaction.
Whether its gaining knowledge and implementing it, organizing our lives more effectively, or simply creating a mindset that allows us to prepare everything ‘tomorrow’ fires at us, the right time is always now (you may start in two hours, as long as it’s still today).