Leaving Things to the Last Minute

Leaving things to the last minute is something that I have done quite often in my life, in many different ways. For me this has mostly played out in the form of procrastination, knowing that something had to be done, but not having the motivation to get to it and do it. Simple things like feeling that I needed to clean somewhere in the house, or knowing that something had to be completed for work but just holding off on doing so, or knowing that I had agreed to do something for another but not finding the time to do it.

I am becoming aware though, that ‘leaving things to the last minute’ can be played out in many different ways in our lives, for instance leaving home with just enough time to get somewhere and invariably running late, or being so busy with work or a project that one is made late for an appointment or meeting, even down to being so busy that going to the toilet is held off until the need is dire.

All of these things put my body under stress, creating a constant anxiety, as my body knows what is needed when, but I more than often ignore its subtle messages and push through to do what I think or want to do before I address the next thing that needs my attention.

The other thing that I have observed when I am holding back from doing the next thing is the excuse I use – “oh, sorry I am late, but I had to complete…” – because it sounds good and proves how ‘committed’ I am to my work or the project at hand.

We can often make the mistake of thinking that living this way only affects ourselves and that giving the impression we are a productive person in society is enough, where it seems this is quite the opposite as many are not productive at all although they may appear to be so.

Does this appearance of being productive then become an unconscious push in our body to be seen as being just that step ahead of another? Is there an energy at play, a judgment that is underlying in society where those who are not seen to be productive are regarded as a burden, even though they may really be accomplishing more without the big show of ‘being productive’? As we do not want to be seen as being ‘unproductive’ ourselves, do we live in the stress of constantly proving that we are productive, creating a tension between ourselves and all others? And does this only affect us? Or is there a ripple effect happening that we are very knowingly choosing to ignore in preference to feeling our own self-importance?

Does leaving just enough time to get to an appointment and finding that we are late, affect just us? Are our families being impacted by our behaviour, and by how we feel when we are living under the stress of needing to prove our worth and value to society?

I have come to the understanding that there is a very real ripple effect to living with this need to prove my value. When I am late for an appointment the person expecting me is impacted. When I live under the constant drive of proving my worth in society my family is the front-line receiver of my behaviour and are impacted daily in a multitude of ways, feeling the disregard when the simple daily life processes are ‘done in a hurry’ or simply ‘left to another time.’

What I feel is so harming about this behaviour and way of living is that when I am caught up in this I am absolutely oblivious to the effect it has, not only on those around me, but on society as a whole. I now realise that this is living in a way that is in complete opposition to the impulse of my Soul and the messages my body is constantly sending me.

Innately we all know our worth, our value and what it is that we individually bring to society. We have more than enough time to complete all of our commitments along with honouring our bodies and moving on to the next thing as it is needed, with plenty of space (time) to do so.

Honouring that, if it is time to move onto something else and what we are working on is not finished, then the space will be there later to complete it. Living this way brings a flow, an ease to life and a deep trust in ourselves: it also highlights true commitment as we are no longer committed to what we want or think needs to be done, but to society as a whole.

It’s time to remember the simplicity of surrendering to our body and allowing our life to unfold with the power and glory that is naturally within each and every one of us. To not get caught up in the societal judgments that are present, but to see them and understand each person’s reason for choosing to be part of them. Living a steady solid knowing of the value of each of us and showing another the way to step out of the prison the judgements become.

By Leigh Strack, Goonellabah NSW

Related Reading:
No Longer Racing Against Time
Time and Our Perception of it
How was your Day? – “Intense”

713 thoughts on “Leaving Things to the Last Minute

  1. Leaving things to the last minute, or even rushing to get something completed has a huge effect on our body. It also put us into almost like a tunnel vision where what is is that we are doing becomes the only thing and we end up excluding or shutting off to everything that is around us. We can do things quickly but still complete tasks in a way that we remain connected and not disengage from the world around us, remaining aware and not shutting down. The result is that we end up with more than enough time to complete all we need to without rushing.

  2. I have used this or something similar many times ‘oh, sorry I am late, but I had to complete ..’ The thing is it is not being honest or taking responsibility for how we are living and it is kind of saying to the person I had something more important to do than you!

  3. Planning holds comfort whether we plan to run everything down to the last minute or we plan a very tight ship where everything is done with time to spare. The spirit has it all wrapped up in ‘Plan A, B or C’. This blog highlights the importance of flowing with what we know deep within is needed in the moment – all doused with a huge dollop of love.

  4. We keep ourselves more busy with worrying about, questioning and resisting things than the actual tasks we have in life take.

  5. Waiting for life to shake us up and into the truth is a favourite habit of ours and very often we ignore it still then! But what would our world be like if we didn’t hang about but rather got on the front foot instead?

    1. Thank you Joseph, this is a wake up call that we are not here to be in constant reaction to what is around us but that we can determine where we are going simply by following the truth we deep down know and feel.

  6. Most of us have felt the ripple effects when someone leaves things to the last minute. This includes the resulting lack of care as everything is rushed and forced, as well as the emotional tornado both of which leave a disturbance in their wake, let alone we witness ourselves or others be pulled into the ensuing drama that can be caused.
    But somehow when we are the one initiating such an experience we tend to forget about our impact on everyone else. Thanks for the clear reminder.

    1. Very true Golnaz, we do tend to forget that this impacts on others. When we become focused on one goal and become tunnelled we can’t see anything around us at all, including the impact we can have on others. Sometimes its important just to stop to put the periscope up and have a look around and see that there is much more going on than our own view and focus on the world.

  7. There definitely is a tension when we leave things to the last minute, and then it affects the rest of the day. I have to watch being on my computer before work because I get distracted and don’t leave myself enough time to leave the house in a calm manner, and inevitably I forget something, or I feel unsettled before the start of my shift.

  8. To choose a rhythm that serves us well is what we are worth. It is very self loving to have a natural rhythm in which there is the space to complete.

  9. Thank you Leigh – this shows so much how we often do this from a disconnection to true flow and order.. As if we are honest, these two are actually missing when we rush things and do things from a to do list or hand in things just in time or being too late. It totally takes away our joy of being part of the whole.

  10. Leaving things to the last minute really does create tension in the body and the delay creates so many problems. I had to do something for a meeting and kept putting it off because I wasn’t sure what to do, but instead of asking for help, I have to apologize to others for the issues caused. It is such a good learning not to leave things to the last minute, it serves no-one, least of all ourselves.

  11. There is an enormous amount of stimulation and excitement in leaving things to the last moment, so to heal why we do it we have to look at our lives and identify why we are needing stimulation and excitement.

  12. Time is the greatest lie in life, and deadlines are it’s chief weapon. When we subscribe to timelines we loose the flow and so our connection to love. If we feel what is needed and act on this we may find there is incredible spaciousness to what we do.

  13. To be on time is not just respectfull to others it is also very loving to ourselves. No rush, no excuses just very present and claimed in their rhythm.

  14. There is a pattern of abuse, with a chunky dose of lack of self-worth thrown in, that plays out when I leave things to the last minute. And there is a simplicity and transformative impact of not doing this; of making space in my day for whatever is scheduled… getting up a bit earlier when the day is very full is something very simple and practical that supports me.

  15. When you procrastinate, even ever so slightly, it it is felt in the body. The body innately knows what needs to be done, when, where and how. When we resist this, for some of the reasons described in this blog, it creates tension that many of us live with on a daily basis. I dont think we fully realise this as a society, what havoc that wreaks on our bodies and to ourselves.

    1. So true, as living on ‘the edge’ so to speak is classed as normal. With the pressures of daily life, work and family commitments. What we forget in living with these pressures is that we are the ones that feed them and make them what they are. Giving ourselves the grace to look at our life and reevaluate it is something many do not do until an illness is knocking on our door. What this shows though, is that if we can adjust and change in these dire circumstances, then we can also do so before we are faced with them, the choice really is ours to make.

  16. I used to joke that I had a PhD in procrastination, but in all honesty it was actually no joke because claiming that kept me an ever increasing of cycle of stress and tension which of course was with me in every movement that I made. This tension was always running through my body but although unpleasant to feel it became my normal way of being. I have finally come to realise that it is not in the least normal so have begun to dismantle this ill-named PhD. And in doing so the tension that I lived with for so long is dissolving and that feels amazing.

    1. How you describe this dissolving of tension Ingrid is something I recognise in myself too, and I agree, it does indeed feel amazing to find oneself in situations that before, would have been feeling pretty anxious or stressed about even if it was just a at a low level of discomfort, that now to find that there is no change in how the body feels. And this happens more and more across my day to day life, which is enabling me to be more open to and with people, and them with me.

  17. Last minute is not even about time for me, but when I know something needs to be done in that moment and delay it.

    1. To true, we really don’t connect with how quickly our delaying tactics cause us to be pressured by time. Could this be a choice we constantly make to keep us forever on the back foot, so to speak. Forever at the mercy of the clock, when in any moment we can choose the beauty of responding and doing what we feel is needed.

  18. Leaving things to the last minute is something that I am learning not to do any more as it puts a lot of pressure on the body.

  19. Leaving things to the last minute is like always playing catch up and this is something I am only just starting to realise. Staying on top of things and getting them done straight away does mean there is far less tension involved as well as leading to a better quality work. We can kid ourselves saying we work far better under pressure but how true is this really?

  20. Leaving things to the last minute was such an old habit of mine and perhaps is very common too for many others, but now I can feel how dishonoring that is to myself as I am giving myself less time, less space and less love!

  21. ‘feeling the disregard when the simple daily life processes are ‘done in a hurry’ or simply ‘left to another time.’ I do feel the difference now when I go into rush mode in those daily life processes, for example just getting ready for work. If I have went into the old habit of rushing it is because I have not given myself enough time to get ready, as I have spent to long on the computer! I feel the disregard immediately.

    1. Applying some understanding here of the intensity and fast pace of life (the speedo is forever going up it seems) gives me some space to be gentle with myself, set aside critic, and realise that in spite of all that is going on around me, I can make quality choices for myself about how I am going to move, take care of and manage myself in my days.

  22. One game I play is making myself look busy. I like to know that people think I am hard working and that I am busy as a bee. This is silly and it is an image I am trying to break, but finding it challenging when I can feel myself getting judged for not looking busy. Funny how this can trigger people!? But then again, I know I too have done this to others, thinking about how ‘busy’ I am and why they cannot get off their bums and help out! I am just being honest here in saying how I have reacted – not saying that this is either good or bad. But it helps me understand others and myself. In choosing to be super busy and look busy, I miss out on that feeling of spaciousness that allows me to hone in on what is truly needed next – I fight this because then life would appear too easy….and we can’t do that, can we? 😉 well time to break these patterns!

  23. Another thing I do other than leaving things to the last minute, is to make things more complex than what they need to be! Or lament about a job that needs to get done and technically in the process of lamenting I have just wasted precious time and energy which could have been used to get the job done in the first place! Crazy what we do to ourselves to make our lives more scattered and challenging!

  24. “Leaving Things to the Last Minute” – the more space i live with and allow myself, the less I am gripped by the clutch of stress or tension. It can be as simple as getting up earlier in the morning, or going to sleep earlier in the evening to get a quality that supports in steadiness.

  25. Leaving things to the last minute creates a story and as we tend to identify ourselves through our stories it suits us to whip one up. The price we pay however is the stress this drama causes to our body.

    1. Whipping up a story is far more the reality of life than we know. We are innately powerful, steady, honouring, loving, graceful beings, so, how many stories do we allow to dull, deny, doubt and downright sabotage this truth?

      1. Many stories I would say Leigh, but the main story is the story we tend to live in that includes our ideals, beliefs and undealt with hurts without checking in to who we truly are and this leads us on to see and accept others in their stories. Time to step back and move away from the stories and see what is really playing out!

    1. Well said Jenny, this is one of the biggest tricks of the ages. It also poses the question, why do we need to look busy instead of being truly focused on the steadiness of addressing what is there to be addressed as it arises?

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