“Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.” – Seneca, On The Shortness of Life
Christopher Parker once remarked, “Procrastination is like a credit card: it's a lot of fun until you get the bill.” There’s great truth behind this statement.
Have you wondered why credit card companies, banks, and retail stores promote credit cards so aggressively to their customers. It’s because, as per data, people spend a lot more money when they use credit cards than when they have to pull out their wallets and pay actual cash. Because the transactions are “invisible” with minimal friction involved, spending all of a sudden doesn’t seem so daunting.
No matter how disciplined you are, the more credit cards you have, the more you’ll spend. You can’t fight human nature. The same goes for putting things off. It’s actually worse, because with credit cards you’re at least aware of the credit line you can use, but when it comes to time, you never truly know how many days you have in your account.
It’s wise to cultivate awareness with regard to how you spend your precious time. Spending major time on minor things never brings favorable outcomes. As Ryan Holiday points out, “Do we treat the days of our lives we treat our money? Because we don’t exactly know how many days we’ll be alive, and because we try our hardest not to think about the fact that someday we’ll die, we’re pretty liberal with how freely we spend our time. We let people and obligations impose on that time, only rarely asking: What am I getting in return here?”
When we choose procrastination, even though we experience instant gratification and pleasure in the present, we deprive ourselves of the benefits of getting the job done. The cost of short-term pleasure in avoiding something is much heftier than it seems — we always end up paying a heavy price in the future because of it. So, eliminate all excuses and prioritize long-term gains at all costs.