The examiners were coming, and I wasn’t ready!
Interest rates plunged after the decadent eighties had caused inflation to choke hold the American consumer. During the real estate loan explosion of the nineties, I processed home and business loans. That’s where I learned just how dangerous procrastination can be.
At the peak, I was typing eight to fifteen real estate and commercial loans a day, plus doing part of my supervisor’s job. By the time I finished, the last thing I wanted to face, was the tedious job of punching holes in documents to place them into files, before putting them away. So, I started letting them accumulate in the vault.
At first, I’d finish all but one or two files, before I stumbled home. But then, two grew into four, four multiplied to six, and in a few weeks time, I groaned at the stacks of green folders filled with half-finished loan files. The scent of paper filled me with nauseous guilt. My nerves were jittery. The clank of the vault door made me feel imprisoned every time I entered the messy, cramped space. My fingers throbbed from folder cuts, wider and deeper than mere paper slits.
And then, two things happened back-to-back. My son got sick, and the worst possible news arrived — the examiners were coming in three days.
My heart cracked when I had to allow my mother-in-law to attend my puny little boy, because I’d let too much work pile up.
At the bank, to get things back in order, I re-scheduled new loans, sequestered myself in the claustrophobic vault, so day and night, I could catch up all the work I’d put off. When the examiners arrived, I was punching holes up to the last minute. I was ready for a melt-down.
But I also learned a valuable lesson based on four words — Everything could change tomorrow.
Today, I still hang onto that knowledge when procrastination tempts me to put off what I could do now. That’s why I try to organize as I go.
I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I don’t know if a disaster will disable all my ability to produce work. I don’t know if tomorrow will offer a spontaneous chance to celebrate or do something fun. I don’t know if tomorrow will drop visiting guests on my doorstep, shouting, “Surprise.”
I don’t know if tomorrow will provide another chance to face down the boogie-man of procrastination, and enable me to savor the sweet sense of satisfaction when I do what I don’t feel like.
This is how I beat procrastination. I remember that everything could change tomorrow, so I’d better do all I can today. And when I complete the task, the celebration is all the sweeter.
What inspires you to finish what you start?
James 1:23-24 (NIV1984)
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
Anita Agers-Brooks is a Business Coach, Certified Personality Trainer, Productivity Specialist, Certified Team Training Facilitator, Marketing Specialist, national speaker, and author. She lives in Missouri with her husband Ricky.
She’s passionate about business with integrity, healthy relationships, and issues of identity. She travels the country teaching others from her personal experiences and research.