Is Procrastination the Key to Controlling Bad Spending Habits?
I’ll be the first to admit. I should’ve written a book on procrastinating. I’ve proven an expert in the art of laziness. It takes a high degree of skill to navigate and tip-toe around not getting things and done as gracefully as I have and still have a wife and family to come home to.
Over the last year or so, I’ve actually become much less of a procrastinator. But let me tell you, my ever growing chore list, grew so big over the course of a few years, that when I finally got so repulsed by my own apathetic ways, I wasn’t sure I’d ever catch up.
I’m glad, but not really too proud, to say that I’ve finished my wife’s craft room and I think it looks great. I finally trimmed the trees, cleaned up the garage, and much more. Now, since I’ve developed a get-stuff-done mentality, things don’t stick on my to-do list long at all. Often times I wrap them up or at least start them the same day they are added.
So What? How Does This Relate to Spending Money?
About a week ago, on my way to work, I was thinking about the myriad of ways that the brain works against us, especially as it relates to financial decisions. We develop bad habits, our brain just keeps feeding into it, needing more. Always needing more. We’re hardwired, or at least, speaking for myself, I’m hardwired this way.
I’m a spending addict. I’m not really ashamed to admit it. I’m embarrassed about the position I’ve put my family in. While we aren’t at a risk to lose our house, or lose food on the table, I’ve completely and utterly failed to provide security. Somewhere along the way either I was ignorant in thinking I had plenty of time to get us where we need to be, or I simply refused to acknowledge what I already knew. I think the latter is worse.
As I was thinking about how the brain plays such a pivotal role in making, or breaking, what we want to achieve, it dawned on me that I’ve been going about the way I treat money all wrong. I’m good at procrastinating. I’ve made that loud and clear in the past. Instead of completely moving on from it, why not apply it to my rampant spending ways?
I'd Definitely Eat the Marshmallow
I know, the whole delayed gratification is indeed very similar to where I’m going with this. If I did the marshmallow test as an adult, even knowing I’d get two if I just exercised patience, I would fail. I’d wolf down the big, jumbo puff as soon as it was put on the table. Who has the time to wait for the second one after all?
Now, approach me with the same marshmallow test, and tell me, “Hey, Mr. TimeToFI, if you procrastinate on eating this for 15 minutes, we’ll give you a free one!
To which Mr. TimeToFI would be thinking; Wow! I can do that. I’m great at that! You have no idea who your challenging! Heck, I can procrastinate until tomorrow or maybe I’ll never even eat it, go ahead, dare me!
So, the point I’m making is this. If you fail at something, as I’ve failed at keeping my spending in check, for example, maybe swap up the reason why you want to do something. Can you connect it to something you’re already good at?
For me, I must’ve viewed patience and delayed gratification as a negative. But when I put a spin on it and made the challenge about accomplishing something I’m already proven to be good at, it made it almost feel like I could do it effortlessly. (The brain tricking the brain…that sounds weird, but it works!)
I’m sticking with procrastinating, at least on spending money. It’s clicking in my brain and I don’t feel resistance to it. I can always just get it another day, what’s the hurry anyways?