Last updated on July 8th, 2022 at 04:31 pm
I’ve been thinking about consequences, actions, values, procrastination, and deadlines all week.
Tonight while I waited for my son to finish his last-minute homework, I realized I had put off starting my post all weekend. Turns out . . . I am no different than my son.
Boom — there it is: procrastination.
The consequence of my procrastination is that I am going to be up late writing this post . . . because I have a deadline — much like my son’s I-have-to-get-up-and-go-to-school deadline.
Why is it that we seem to be motivated only by deadlines, even when it is something we love doing?
Okay, maybe not love in my son’s case with his homework, but many of us do tend to procrastinate when it comes to completing the activities that will move us forward successfully with our dreams.
Procrastination is wrapped up in the priority we assign to a particular task based on our core values.
One of my core values is being a good mom, and this weekend was one of those rare times when no other teenagers invaded our home.
I had my son all to myself.
Well, all to myself and his video games. We both took a nap Saturday afternoon. He slept on the futon on the floor while I snored on the couch. No TV. Just the sounds of neighbors cutting lawns, children playing in the distance, and an occasional barking dog. We talked until we both fell asleep.
I had many delicious writing ideas, but instead of getting up and writing, I stared out the window at the changing trees, while the bees made music bouncing up against the screens. The nap helped my son and me stay up late to watch Saturday Night Live. We laughed at the same skits.
I enjoyed every minute of it.
Today turned into one of those Northern California Indian summer days where the sun beats hot far into the sky as you feel winter whispering in the distance. It calls out to you to be outside enjoying the final days of summer. My son and I decided to go for a walk through the state park and throw sticks into the lake. We skipped stones. He did push-ups on the park benches. It was a perfect afternoon.
Why did I choose time with my son instead of writing?
Because one of my core values is being a good mom, and a good mom (in my mind) knows when to take advantage of a rare opportunity to spend quality time with her child. Especially when the child will be off to college in a blink of an eye and summer is ending right before her eyes.
What activity aligns you with your core value is the activity you will choose to complete. By default, you will do the action that speaks to who you are at that given moment.
The result of the choice or action that you take determines your consequence.
I spent time with my son and the consequence is both the reward of the memory we made and the punishment of staying up late to write my post.
I can accept that sometimes I will do a late-night post because I’ve spent time being a mom. But it’s important for me to watch this core value and take note of when it might be getting in the way of other actions that could bring me closer to my dream.
Actions that line up with one dominant core value can be seductive but we can’t let one core value dominate over our other values — you know–like keeping a roof over your children’s head or sticking to a budget.
The types of consequences we experience tell us when we are favoring one core value over another.
When you procrastinate, it is usually because you are wrestling with two opposing core values. One is pulling you in one direction, while the other is pulling you in the opposite direction, so your answer in the present moment is to do nothing — to procrastinate.
Think about a friend who takes a long time to leave their spouse. The friend might be dealing with conflicting core values: one that tells her that she deserves to be treated better, and another that reminds her of how much she wants a long-term marriage. Her solution in the present moment is to put off making a decision.
This is where having deadlines can help you sort out which core value needs to listen to the most in the present moment.
Deadlines create pressure to get moving — to take action. Deadlines spark fear and initiate feelings of pain-avoidance. Deadlines make you look at your core values in the present moment and force you to make a choice.
Deadlines create action.
Action leads to choices.
Choices lead to consequences.
Catherine Hughes is the editor and founder of 8WomenDream. She’s also a magazine columnist, content creator, blogger, published author, and former award-winning mom blogger. Catherine collaborates with companies to craft engaging web content and social media narratives. Her work, highlighting stories of the resilience and success of Northern California residents, appears in several print magazines. Outside of work, she treasures motherhood, her close friendships, rugby, and animals.
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