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‘Procrastination is an Opportunity, Not a Suckfest’

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Clutching a heating pad to her jaw in early December, our office manager, Jamie Wanzek, woefully said, “This is a lesson in not putting things off.” She was told three years ago after a skiing accident that her tooth had died. After not addressing the issue for many years, she ended up needing an emergency root canal. Her pain is our gain — sorry, Jamie — as I think this is a perfect lesson to keep in mind as we start the new year.

When we procrastinate, it’s usually because we find a task difficult, uncomfortable, or too time-consuming. We set our sights on more easily tackled undertakings or simply cast off all responsibility and do something fun, as the Tahoe environs beckon us to do. It is to our detriment though, because when we put off an important job or issue, chances are it won’t go away; instead it will fester as Jamie’s tooth did.

Tahoe/Truckee is in the midst of dealing with the large and looming problem of short term rentals. Our sister mountain communities are also managing the concern in their own ways, see story here, giving us ideas for what to do on our home turf.

As well, humans tend to procrastinate starting something new that might be good for us, such as picking up a sport we’ve always wanted to, keeping tabs on friends, getting alone time, eating well, or volunteering for a great cause.

A friend (thank you, Cesar!) turned me on to a blog a while ago, Zen Habits, that delivers genuine tools to keep my mind from exploding into a million bits. The author, Leo Babauta, is a Davis resident who lives in the “real” world as we do and reflects on ways to deal with it. The guy is a master.

In a post about procrastination from September, one of his subtitles is the saucy headline for this note. You’ll have to read his blog to get the full message, but to me, the main gist is this: When you find yourself putting something off, take a moment and realize that this is simply a “signpost” that you’re pushing into uncertain ground. Take a Pause.

It is this pause that is the opportunity. It’s a chance to practice dealing with discomfort and uncertainty, which 2017 has taught us is a part of life we have to accept.

Then … dive in and do the work.

“You mess up, and start all over again, like the goldarn hero that you are,” Leo wrote, “You fall down a thousand times, get up two thousand.”

Take a pause. Then do the work: That my friends, all of you goldarn heroes that you are, is a mantra for 2018.

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February 14, 2019