The Thief of Time

…is of course, Procrastination. My single biggest fault. I fight it routinely. I have read self help books, prayed, made lists, followed routines, made cards, followed podcasts. The bottom line is, as is so famously overquoted from Nike (yet again), I have to JUST DO IT. Yeah, I know that. Easier said than done. When life gets too full, it gets really easy to ignore or put off the less pleasant tasks. Even knowing the consequences of doing that is sometimes not enough to make me face up to those in a timely manner.

We had a bit of a financial hiccup back in the early spring, and financial stuff is probably my “best” procrastination area. The consequence is that because I had to involve myself in that area of our lives big time, I found it easy to put off almost everything else – including ordering broiler chicks. This didn’t seem a big deal at first – we had roughed out a schedule in the winter as to when we’d order, brood, pasture and process, and I figured that my delaying that by a few weeks wasn’t going matter a whole lot, given the other stuff we were dealing with. But one thing came after another, as it does in life, and here we are at the end of May, with the plan calling for my broilers due to be processed in a couple of weeks and I HAVEN’T EVEN ORDERED CHICKS.

If we relied on the farm for our livelihood, this would have been a disaster.  Not just for us in terms of income, but for our customers, who would have been let down by my inaction.  I have consoled myself with the fact that I still have time to get a couple of batches of broilers through before October, and that since we don’t set firm pick up dates until I order the chicks anyway, no one is seriously inconvenienced -yet.  But this is not a good thought pattern for anyone who wants to succeed at farming – to raise good food for good customers and be able to be on the farm more and in the office less.

I’m not saying all this to beat myself up – I’ve already done that, and moved on (you can tell!).  But I am putting it out there to anyone who tends to procrastinate like me, that the consequences can be serious. If you’re going to put off doing something, you really need to think it through to the end result – like thinking through a chess move.  Sometimes we have too many balls in the air, and we have to choose which ones we are going to risk dropping in order to keep the others up. That’s not procrastinating, that’s prioritizing, an important difference. Because procrastination is followed by guilt and failure, and prioritizing is followed by accomplishment.  If you try and fail, at least you tried.

I did get other stuff done over the last few months.  Most of the financial thing is behind us now.  I stayed caught up on laundry and lawn mowing, I got part of the small veg garden planted, and I am doing extra hours at work.  I travelled overnight with the younger daughter for a speech competition, and I’ve been out several evenings in the passenger seat, terrorizing the neighbourhood with the older daughter who is learning to drive.  We got the insulation blown into the attics.  Yup,  I have done some good things, and I don’t regret time spent with family one bit. But there were some balls here that could have been tossed to someone else, or even dropped, and fortunately, my ex-Navy husband has put his oar in.  Lawn mowing (done with the lawn tractor) is now done by the girls.  Ditto laundry.  We’re going to take turns with the driving lessons.  I am going to work in the veg garden after I get home until dinner.  Those are orders.  Part of me is annoyed.  I like lawn mowing – it’s easy, I can think and daydream. Laundry is easy and makes me feel like I’m multitasking – throw it in the machine, sweep a floor – wow, look how busy I am.  He took away the “good” jobs, and now I’m left with stuff like ….um…ordering chicks.  Bless that man.