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”

884 thoughts on “Leaving Things to the Last Minute

  1. Leigh I am not the biggest fan of leaving things to the last minute, especially when it comes to being at appointments, work etc. However I used to do this in other areas, such as projects, assignments thinking I will get to it, and never did, then I am left feeling racy, a feeling I don’t really enjoy.

    In my work environment, I work with a senior person who often goes into this behaviour of leaving things to the last minute and the ramifications is often upon us. Its this out of sight out of mind attitude, then I observe things being fudged, which does not resonate with me.

    I absolutely love the feeling when we complete things in a timely way, it kind of creates this space and we can do more, without runnings around like a lunatic. The ripple effect leaves others with space too, and I absolutely love this feelings, I would love more of it and it is like a muscle that will become stronger, a level I will eventually get to more often then not. At least I know the difference between the two and I know which I would rather choose…

  2. I can really relate to this blog! The last few days I have had a stock take and stopped and changed my routine (day and night) in order to support me more allowing more space within my day reducing tension, stress and anxiety in my body, showing me that it is all but a choice of how much do I love and care for me ❤️ #workinprogress ✨

    1. Vicky this anxiousness is what runs billions of people’s body, because they are running around and away with time, and with this cause, the effects is exhaustion. Much to ponder on…

  3. What I have been more honest about recently is an anxiousness running in my body. I thought that this was through overwhelm and having a lot to do or what I needed to do but it came to light today through working with a young person I was able to reflect, take a step back and ask what was needed to support the project. It turns out I need to speak to more people first!!! Just goes to show we can never do it alone ✨and I guess that anxiousness is there to show us something – we just need to listen to what it is saying.

  4. Reading this has reminded me of what happens when a friend is always struggling to be on time for anything and the knock-on effect of this within the relationship. I know from my own personal experience I don’t fully trust that person to follow through and the behaviour makes us reluctant to fully commit to the relationship or request anything from the person who is always stressed because we don’t want to stress them out even further. It’s fascinating what can be communicated through our behaviour.

  5. This sharing makes me more aware about the moments in which I stubbornly make the choice to delay what my body is asking for. It’s true, it’s a choice that creates a tension, a pressure that affects not just myself but all. Thank you Leigh

  6. “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.” We can all do with less stress in our lives and its our choice as to whether we leave early to arrive feeling calm and content or in a rush at the last minute. Long-lived patterns can take awhile to change, I’m understanding the implications of delay more and more these days.

  7. I have this habit, picked up from my days in hospitality that I should never have empty hands. So I’ll take my clothes off the dryer then into my room but then grab something from my room into the kitchen. Then from the kitchen, I’ll take another thing, forgetting about putting the clothes dryer away. Starting all these tasks but never finishing any of them. It appears productive but really it’s not as I get all muddled and distracted easily. When I clock this now I go back to the original task and complete that and focus on completing what I’ve started already.

    1. Love completing tasks and the order it brings. We may leave things in a mess but how beautiful that there is always the space to come back, to clear it and start again.

  8. Being sooo busy that we cannot even go to the toilet. MMMm sounds familiar ‘even down to being so busy that going to the toilet is held off until the need is dire.’ However, here is an awesome reason never to do this again. #letsloveourbodies https://bit.ly/2QBNAhN

  9. I am starting to feel that actually does it come down to feeling enough and that by feeling satiated in our bodies we have nothing to prove to anyone, no justifications or excuses we are enough just as we are. This feeling of being of being satiated is very freeing because then there is no expectation on others to fill the gap.

  10. This is so true – every choice we make has ripple effects all around and we forget how far reaching each choice can be. I do so appreciate this reminder Leigh!

  11. Leaving things to the last minute is an effective way to keep the nervous system on edge and hence stop ourselves from connecting more deeply to our essence or Soul. Once the nervous system takes over (on drive) then we are less equipped to feel what is happening around us, and hence less equipped to truly know how to handle things best. However, so often we don’t like what we register or feel and hence it is a quick fix to this to put the nervous system in overdrive to numb out the things we do not like feeling. Long term this does not work obviously, but it is a habit hard to break – at least this is the case in my experience!

  12. I have been reflecting on this recently, why some things I leave to the last minute and what came to me was an anxiousness and lack of confidence in myself. It was good to note and call out as the more I am aware of this the less it can run me. I know being present with and in my body reduces this feeling.

  13. When we honour the body and make life about presence with the body then what is asked of us is enough. It is about making life about the relationship with ourselves first.

  14. Leigh, this is really interesting and helpful to read; ‘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.’

  15. Reading this article I can feel that when we try and prove ourselves at work that this can impact on our family, we may spend less time with our loved ones because we put the extra effort in at work in attempt to show we are ‘committed’ and because we maybe looking for recognition and I can feel how the balance can tip and that our families can miss out on us because when we get home we maybe stressed or tired and so don’t have quality time with them.

  16. Reading what you have so wisely shared Leigh, I could see so clearly the impact of ‘leaving things to the last minute’ and the ripples which flow on out from this decision. Yes, the person we are late to see will be impacted, and maybe our families as well, but I also got to see how I used to drive when I was running late, a little faster and probably with a lot less attention than usual; now that I can see was very irresponsible of me. I am slowly breaking down this very impact-full pattern, and when it does try to sneak back in again it’s the horrible feeling in my body that alerts me to the fact I am heading in this damaging direction once again.

  17. ‘Does leaving just enough time to get to an appointment and finding that we are late, affect just us?’ I don’t think so. Not only does it impact us to the core, it also ripples out in its impact. Building a foundation of respecting ourselves enough to be early is a whole other ball game.

  18. This is a great question; ‘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’, I would say that everyone we come into contact with is affected by our behaviour. From my experience I am unsettled and unfocussed and I do not properly connect with people if I ever leave just enough time and am late, I can feel how this way of being is not supportive for myself or anyone else.

    1. This is spot on Rebecca, and is a great and practical example of how we can get affected in our day to day. Not connecting with ourselves due to over stimulation of the nervous system is going to lead to a reduced connection with others and hence the quality of what we offer is far reduced from what it could be.

  19. Leigh, I really enjoyed reading this article, for me rushing is something that I do not enjoy at all, I really enjoy allowing enough time and a little extra to get somewhere, staying steady and being organised – this brings me much joy.

  20. These 2 sentences were great for me to read today. ‘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. ‘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.’

  21. Thanks Leigh, this has provided much inspiration is a practical way to bring more self care to my life, to plan to allow more time and space to travel to my destination without feeling pressured because time is so tight. I am also a bit of a procrastinator but what I hadn’t observed in that is the effects on my body and wellbeing.

  22. I love your honesty here Leigh. While reading this (and from experience!) ‘When I am late for an appointment the person expecting me is impacted.’ what came to me was when we are late and rushing not only does this affect the people or person we are supposed to be meeting but also our whole environment along the way, it is like an energetic tsunami we create around us that feels really horrible.

    1. Vicky it’s a really great point about the responsibility we have to everyone around us to not be rushing or stressing ourselves out.

    2. Your words ‘an energetic tsunami’ Vicky, certainly sum up how I used to be when allowing myself to run late, very often. It was the most awful pattern, one I was aware of but one I struggled to break. I can see that we are so caught up in what is playing out, the self-inflicted stress of running late, the many excuses being made up along the way, that we are totally oblivious to how we are impacting those around us and ‘our whole environment’. Yes, this tsunami is one very damaging one, not just to us but to all.

  23. There is no way we can feel the power and the glory if we bow down to societal judgements and then get caught in them ourselves. They make up a sort of net that can have us enmeshed playing a game that is far from the magnificence of where we come from and who we truly are.

  24. I was at the doctor’s surgery yesterday and was a few minutes early before they opened. It was really interesting to observe staff race into work at the last minute… some were running and some walked as fast as possible with huge tension. This is something we all do, or have done and I know it well from past experience. When living this way, and making it normal I hadn’t realised how this affected the rest of the day, my energy levels and my overall health. Leaving a few minutes earlier changes everything.

  25. It is so true, we have the choice to create space or rush through life jamming things in that lack the true quality of who we are.

  26. What is beautiful is when we recognise a constellation for where we need to be in life and it is both wonderful for oneself and also brings abundance to everyone else at the same time through the service it brings. A win win for all and something that we just have to say yes to with all our being.

    1. Very true Joseph, every movement made in disregard of who we are is no coincidence; it is a movement purposely made to not shine our light and the grandness of who we are.

  27. A wise woman once said that if you are on time you are already late and since I heard this `i have been aware how true this is, and so I try to arrive at least 15 minutes before the scheduled time, and this allows me to be fully present for what ever is next

  28. Super honest consideration of the full impact our seemingly benign choice to put ourselves into stress has – it actually not only has deep ramifications on our own well-being, but will be felt by every person we interact with. A simple destructive pattern that diminishes everything in our lives and impacts on all.

  29. In doing things when we first receive the feeling to do so we are deeply supported to do them. The moment we decide another time to do them we are trying to take control and make it about ourselves and when we actually come to do them, we are not supported in the same way, the longer we leave them and the more that build up on the list the worse they begin to feel.

  30. Being late does put the body under stress. It is an unconsciously deliberate behaviour of mine to take myself out of stillness. I can then feel racy or anxious when I arrive somewhere, often in the nick of time but not feeling or bringing the stillness that is naturally within me.

  31. Leaving things to the last minute puts us in time not space and compresses our very movements to be of reaction rather than expansion.

  32. “Leaving Things to the Last Minute” – is leaving ourselves to the last minute because of how it affects us in the body when we are in any delay.

  33. I never considered it until now, but me trying to prove myself and show myself as busy and worthy is competition for I’m often measuring myself in this against something or some other and making it about me, rather than honouring the flow of both my body and the wider world. I can feel when I live in this way life becomes so much simpler.

  34. Coming to understand the concept of space instead of being controlled by time has finally supported me to dismantle the old and destructive pattern of ‘leaving things until the last minute’. And these days if I begin to run late, the tension building in my body is the loudest reminder that this pattern no longer has a place in my life.

  35. I truly hate that feeling of leaving things to the last minute; anxious, tense and in stress my body gets tight my movements become hard/brittle and my breathing becomes more laboured. How much kinder it is to myself when I leave myself plenty of time to stay calm, open and relaxed.

  36. “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.” So true. The natural and innate flow that is within us when we do this comes with such ease, it seems crazy that we dont choose to allow it all the time.

  37. It is a pattern to be late.
    Even I had times that I was on time to leave the house I would do things which made me late anyway.
    So why we do that?
    How do we arrive at our appointment when we walk (run) in stressed? We are less aware of what is coming to us, what the situation, how the people feel.
    Can it be that we keep the pattern to not feel what is there,?

    1. It is not a very supportive pattern at all Sylvia. I used to find myself ready before time and then instead of leaving would find something else to do and then have to rush. What a horrible exhausting way to be that was, and taking that exhausted me to meet others is definitely not being responsible.

  38. Being fully prepared for our day and any eventuality that may occur is only possible by not leaving things to the last minute. Living life on the back foot is exahusting and in truth ultimately supports no one.

  39. Leaving things until the last minute is another way of holding back from getting on with things. I know this pattern all too well as I know what needs to be done and have the time to do it and then consciously do something else or I only half complete the task. The thoughts in my head always tell me that I’ve got plenty of time, so there’s no need to do it straight away. Then it drags on and on until I run out of time and have to rush to finish whatever it is and causing anxiety for not being prepared.

  40. “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.” This is so true and takes away the pressure of having to get something finished with ‘perfection’, which has so often been my want. Its very liberating to not have to have everything perfect.

  41. So true – we typically delay dealing with the real issues in life till the point our comfort is disturbed. Yet along we have a register within that clearly tells us it’s not right.

  42. It is widening our view of life to see the true reason and that is why we choose stress as a vibration at certain moments or as a long term momentum.It always brings down our awareness.

  43. Such a set up, and yet I have done it a million times. The difference between leaving it to the last minute, and getting ahead of the game and realising how much more space there is – it has a huge impact on how I feel.

  44. At times it looks like a setup when we are late and come to a problem with ourselves, having to stress our bodies to then make things happen. You would say that we are intelligent and therefore should learn from these situations, but apparently we don’t as in my experience we do it over and over again and that why, to me, it looks like a setup that is of our own creation.

  45. There is certainly a difference between doing a lot and the quality of what we do. I was certainly a pro at fitting lots in but not having much to show for it. This really reflects the extent to which we hide behind being busy.

  46. I have never felt that not going to the toilet in time would put my body under stress and creating a constant anxiety. It is only recently that I started to be honest about the consequences on my body when I don’t listen when I have to go for a pee. Of course this is causing stress and anxiety but all my life I just went along with what seemed more important than my own body.

    1. Well said, it takes a moment of absolute honesty because honesty seems to be able to be manipulated to suit what we want to hear or are prepared to address – go figure!

    2. A great example Annelies, to which many of us can relate Im sure. Such a simple thing, but one that can have untold effects on our bodies when ignored. Talking of which….. 🙂

Leave a Reply to sueq2012 Cancel reply