The pain of discipline or agony of regret

We've all been there. That moment you realize you put off a task for too long and now the only solution is to work 36 hours straight to get the job done or the paper submitted before the deadline. As a procrastinator myself I've found myself in this situation a few times before. Why do we do this to ourselves?

Every time the deadline gets closer we feel the pressure tighten in our chest, or maybe our stomach rumbles, or panic begins to descend upon us. All the product of not getting started earlier and sticking with the task to get it finished.

For myself, it's difficult to inject urgency into me for a task that may still be ten days from the deadline. I do this all the time and then find myself looking back wondering why I didn't just start a few days earlier than I did. (How easy and relaxed most projects would be if I did!)

The root cause of most procrastination is the failure to be able to sacrifice the present pleasure for future gain. We want the entertainment, relaxation, play time, etc... right now and we take it instead of doing the thing that is difficult now but feels great to have done later on.

There is a great saying that you will experience the pain of discipline now or the agony of regret later. I think that sums up being in the throes of procrastination nicely.

Get started today. Find a way to make yourself care (or get a new job.) Inject urgency. Think of your family (or whatever motivates you.) Break the large task into small tasks that are easy to get finished and just start making progress. You will never regret having a bit more finished when the project deadline gets closer and closer.

Go. Now. Do a little work. Then do a little more. Not too much, just a little. Be proud of who you are today when you wake up tomorrow.