Why We Procrastinate

Imagine you finally did it.

Imagine you connected with our office and got the ball rolling to get your estate planning done.

You thought it was going to be hard and you did it anyway. You made good decisions, and did all the right things. And then, like every client we work with, you got to push back from the table, breathe a deep sigh of relief, and say something along the lines of, “What a load off my mind; I’m so glad we finally got this done!”

I want that for you!

Humans are funny, though.  We know we should do something, and yet we’ll procrastinate about it — even when it’s weighing heavily on our minds. And it steals time and energy from us. Why oh why do we do that?

We tend to procrastinate either because we lack motivation, or because we “underestimate the power of present emotions versus future emotions when you set your goals or make your task list.” The Truth Behind Why We Procrastinate, Kevin Kruse, Forbes, Feb. 2016.

Kruse’s theory is that if we could explicitly imagine the pain we’d suffer as a result of our procrastination, we’d be far less likely to do it. The problem is, we don’t really think that deeply about how much trouble our procrastinating eventually causes. If you can better connect your current self with your future self, you’d never choose to self-inflict all that trouble.

One way to make your “future self” feel closer is to change how you think about deadlines – days instead of months, for example.

Let’s say that I have a goal to accomplish something by the end of the year. That’s six whole months away! But if I frame it as having 180 days, that seems like so much less time. And, as Kruse points out in his article, I’m not going to work toward the goal seven days a week. If it’s a work goal, maybe I’ll only put effort into it two days a week. Twenty-six weeks, two days a week, my deadline is now only 52 work-days away!!

Here’s the challenge with estate planning though: as one client put it, “there’s no real deadline.”

(In fact, there is a very real, very hard deadline. We just have no idea when it is!)

The other problem with applying this theory is that future-you won’t be the one to suffer as a result of your own procrastination. It will be your family that suffers. This makes it even harder to imagine — in an explicit, real, motivated-to-get-it-done kind of way — the pain and problems your procrastination is causing.

So let’s look at other ways to beat procrastination and motivate you to act in your future-you (and your loved ones)’s best interest.

Imagine the relief you’ll feel when setting up your plan is finally off your task list. How awesome is that going to feel? I know you know. I know you can imagine the sense of pride you’ll have. I know you can feel the knowing grin that will be on your face. I know you’ll be happy to lighten the mental load you’ve been carrying.

Maybe you can’t even imagine that sense of relief, because the path to get there seems impossible. When we can’t see beyond perceived obstacles, we can’t talk ourselves into taking that first step.

We get overwhelmed because we feel we have to figure everything out first, so all that stuff BEFORE the “first step” seems insurmountable. Or, we get intimidated, because we know it’s super important stuff, and there’s a high cost to getting it wrong.

What if your first step was JUST making the appointment? You don’t need to think about anything, you don’t need to decide anything, you don’t need to fear anything. Seriously – the first, easy, baby step is just booking a conversation.

I tell all my clients that my role as your attorney is to help you make informed decisions. We spend a lot of time discussing goals and solutions. You don’t have to walk in with those things done. It’s a big reason we don’t “Mad Lib” your estate plan.  Any old lawyer can ‘take your order’ and churn out a boilerplate. But ‘order-taking’ leaves all the big decisions in your hands, and does nothing to reduce overwhelm, intimidation, or fear. No wonder you’re putting it off!

The fact is, everyone is entitled to have an attorney they feel comfortable talking with openly and honestly about all facets of life. You don’t have to wade, alone, into all the unpleasantness, ‘impossibilities’ and situations that seem to have no solution. You don’t need to come up with the answer before you call us.

We go through all of this with you. We know how to guide the conversation, what to ask, and what options exist. We’ll look at your goals, and talk through ALL the possible solutions.

Bottom line, I want you to understand the decisions you’re making. I want you to have the clarity you need so you know that you’re making smart decisions. And I want you to have that SOONER, rather than later (or, even worse, never!)

You’re just one click away from feeling that sense of relief. CLICK HERE  and let’s chat. No obligation. No pressure. And I promise you, your future-self will thank you

Other items of interest:

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply