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Lately I’ve been wondering why I like to do everything at the last minute. There’s a bit of a rush about it. And for a long time in my life it was actually something I was super proud of. When the chips were down, I could always pull out a win. I spent most of the my twenties and thirties living this way, but now that I’m almost forty, I’ve started thinking it might be time to let go of some of the adrenaline rush along with the stress and anxiety that accompanies it. Problem is…I’m not really sure how to do that. What do you think Sally?
Sincerely, Loves – a – Good – Crisis
Wow girl! Sounds like you’re got more than a little flashy show horse in you! I think the first thing you better get to the bottom of is why you continue this behavior. It’s not clear from your letter if you actually don’t like it anymore, of it you’re just curious about what it might be to live not in chaos. Either way, I’d like to gently nuzzle you into a direction you might not like to look at.
Often folks who pull things out at the very last minute are hugely successful. They get rewarded for their hard work, their crazy energy, and their constant state of chaos. After all, someone in chaos tends to be busy, busy, busy, which it seems to me is human being’s favorite way to be. If you continue to get rewarded for the frenzy, it can be a hard habit to break. I’d also like to gently suggest that perhaps you find the routine of not being in chaos…boring.
Many people like the adrenaline of a fast-paced life. Maintenance seems…mundane. They leap from one crisis to another. After all, the downside of procrastinating and waiting until the last minute is that you can’t very well attend to ANYTHING else in those moments. The whole world stops spinning and you focus in on only the thing you’re about to drop the ball on. The irony here is that for many busy people this is the only time they experience the luxury of focus. When your back’s against the wall, everything else stops spinning. This can make for a bumpy ride for you and the people around you. When you’re all in, you’re all in. But you’re neglecting everything (and everybody) else.
The last thing I’d suggest you explore is whether or not your penchant for procrastination has a protective nature to it. Do you happen to be a perfectionist? If so, is it possible that you wait until the very last minute because then you won’t have to obsess endlessly over making something perfect? If you have limited time, you have to just do the best you can. My hunch is there is a bit of a protective feature built into this procrastination.
Loves-a-good-crisis, I’d really suggest you pull a chair out and sit down in the pasture for a little while. Somewhere there’s no hustle and bustle, no rush, and nothing to get done except eat grass, drink water, sleep, and repeat. No crises. And give yourself a really good look. I think if you can figure out what’s behind the last minute crisis pattern, you’ll be able to resolve the issue once and for all (ok, well, at least most of the time…I understand that human drama dies hard).
Keep us posted.