When is Tomorrow?

For many of us, tomorrow is not the day after today. We may tell ourselves we’ll start the diet tomorrow, clean up our mess tomorrow, finally have that tough talk with ‘you know who’ tomorrow. But if you’re a hard core procrastinator, tomorrow is never the day after today. It’s a day in the distant future, or perhaps even one that never arrives.

Sure, you have your excuses. There’s always so much to do. There are never enough hours in the day. Just yesterday, you didn’t even have time to pierce the plastic film before placing the lasagna in the microwave. But what if things could be different? What if you really could manage your time more efficiently? What if you could have the best of both worlds: doing what you want to do AND doing what you need to do to make your life work more smoothly?

An example: it’s almost April 15th. You have less than a week until your taxes are due. You hate doing taxes. (Know anybody who likes doing them?) You finally sit down with your pile of papers ready to organize your stuff.

Five minutes into your organization work, you’re feeling bored. Then you hear that voice in your head reminding you that American Idol is on TV soon. The little red demon sitting on your left shoulder has piped up demanding that you satisfy this momentary impulse. ‘You deserve it’, it chants. ‘You only live once. You can get to this tax stuff tomorrow’.

Yes, that ubiquitous tomorrow! It always seems to be a ready ‘out’. So, what should you do? You do want to watch your program. Why should you give it up for doing something you dislike?

In such a quandary, you’re likely to think that there are two ways to solve this dilemma – buckle down and do what you ‘should’ be doing or enjoy life and do what you ‘feel’ like doing?

Sorry, you’re wrong. There are more than two ways of dealing with almost any problem. Expand your options. You can take care what you ‘should’ be doing AND what you ‘feel’ like doing. What it requires is a mental shift from EITHER-OR thinking to AND-BOTH thinking. Such a shift can not only improve your decision making but enhance your life in many unanticipated areas.

Here’s one easy solution to the above quandary: tape American Idol AND work an hour on organizing your tax papers. This will result in two immediate rewards: making progress on your tax task AND fast forwarding through a gazillion commercials that just annoy you anyway.

Or to enhance this solution, work on your taxes for 30 minutes, then get physical. How about a few stretches followed by a few sit-ups ending with a few jumping jacks? Then return to your taxes for another 30 minutes. Finally, reward yourself with the taped version of American Idol. Do the same thing tomorrow night – the real tomorrow – and before you know it, you’ll have your onerous tax task done.

Why throw physical exercises into the mix? Don’t you have enough to do?

There is a good reason for it. Physical activity will give you a second wind as well as stimulate the production of proteins which encourages the growth of neurons linked to long-term memory.

Yes, it’s true: this one-two punch of physical and mental activity is good for your brain, good for your body AND possibly good for your wallet. According to the IRS, most taxpayers who file late are actually entitled to refunds. Now wouldn’t extra money be a nice benefit to making tomorrow come – quite literally, tomorrow.

Copyright 2009

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