Procrastination is a trait that we all share. For some, procrastination means putting off tasks or chores that are tedious, time-consuming, or simply downright boring. To others, it means never quite getting to the task list because there are other, more entertaining distractions to fill up the time.
Whatever the reason, procrastination is a problem with a lot of preppers: the research is done, the budget is set, the checklists are printed out and ready to go and then what? Nothing.
Today I examine those insidious roadblocks to getting things done as well as steps that I personally take to overcome what I call “Prepper Procrastination”. And for me this is timely since whether you want to believe it or not, I still have a large list of items I have been meaning to take care of, prepping-wise, and just never quite make time.
Let me start out by defining some of the excuses that prevent us from reaching our preparedness goals.
Excuses, Excuses, Excuses
Ask ten different people why they have not accomplished their preparedness goals and chances are that one of the following excuses will apply:
- I don’t know how to get started
- It will take too much time
- People with think I am crazy (or strange, weird or nuts)
- I don’t feel like it (or want to)
- I can’t afford it
- Why bother? If it is the end of the world, it will not matter
- I am not sure it is necessary
One common denominator to each excuse other than “I can’t afford it”, is that the excuse is not a well-thought-out, reasonable objection. Instead, it is an emotional response designed to delay doing something that may be unpleasant or fearful.
Overcoming the Excuses and Getting Stuff Done
The question at hand is how does a person move from this place of ineffective procrastination?
I would like to suggest that you pick a single task from your list and make one small baby-step toward getting that task started if not completely done. An effective way to do that is something I learned years ago in the business world: come to terms with the objection and face it head-on.
I don’t know how to get started
This one is easy. Just start. You are not trying to conquer Rome in a day; you are simply trying to “____________________________”.
You can fill in the blank with “purchase extra water” or “learn to package beans in Mylar bags” or “inventory my first aid kit” or whatever fits your situation.
It will take too much time
Another easy one. Regardless of the task, it will take just as much time to complete today as it will tomorrow. One hour or one day, the time to complete is the same. So why not just start and get it over with and done?
People will think I am crazy (or strange, weird or nuts)
So what? Do you really care about that? Go back and read the article Are you a Nut Job ? and remove this excuse from the table. Being thought of as crazy, strange, weird, or nuts is a state of mind you should be able to deal with and when you think about it, isn’t that the other guy’s problem?
I don’t feel like it (or want to)
Not wanting to do something is normal, especially if it is going to take some work. Instead of focusing on the task, do a mind shift and focus on the results.
Say, for example, you need to install some extra lighting around the outside of your home to make it more secure. You have to get out the ladder, string some wiring, perhaps cut back some shrubbery and oh yeah, it is raining outside so you will get cold and wet in the process.
Instead of going through this tedious mental gyration, think about the results: a well-lit yard that will fend of any would-be intruders, thus helping insure the safety of your family and your stuff.
Now isn’t that a lot better?
I can’t afford it
This is probably the one valid excuse that will take some planning to overcome.
About the best thing you can do when extra funds are tight or even non-existent is examine your lifestyle and find areas where you can shave some extra bucks from your monthly budget.
Cut back on the cable bill, brown bag your lunch, and eat simple but healthy and economic meals of soup, homemade bread, beans, rice, pasta and other inexpensive foods. Shop for clothes in thrift stores and use public transportation. Almost everyone has something they can cut in order to save a few bucks a week.
If this is your excuse, accept the reality and embrace a new frugality. Move forward with an action plan to cut back on just one thing, even if the savings is just five dollars a week. That is not too little! Remember to focus on the result and not the sacrifice.
Why bother? If it is the end of the world, it will not matter
First of all, do you really think there is going to be “the end of the world” or the more common, “the end of the world as we/I know it?
Chances are (and I am 99% sure of this) it will be the latter. A storm, an earthquake, sudden and expected unemployment . . . all of these things can change your life and your personal world in a heartbeat.
Taking the time to prepare now will not guarantee your safety or your survival, but it surely will give you one step up on those that do not bother. I don’t know about you, but I would rather stack the deck in my favor.
I am not sure it is necessary
This, to me, is the lamest of all excuses. Surely everyone recognizes the need for car insurance and home insurance. Why wouldn’t preparing for a disaster or some other disruptive event be necessary?
If this is your excuse (or more likely the excuse of someone you know), take the three day challenge below and then ask if prepping is really necessary.
The Three Day Challenge – A Simple Test
Here is a simple test for anyone who says “why bother preparing, it won’t matter”. Stop eating tomorrow when you get up. Only drink water from streams and puddles. Do not take a shower or change your clothes.
Do this for a mere three days. Anyone can do that, right? Anyone who accepts this challenge will understand why we prep.
The Final Word
Prepper procrastination is a huge problem not only for newbies but for experienced preppers. Just the process of getting organized can be overwhelming and exhausting. Once you begin, it is definitely hard work to stay at it and remain focused.
Speaking for myself, I sometimes get lazy, complacent, tired, and bored with my prepping efforts. Like you, I can come up with the excuse of the day (which is usually one of those listed above) and simply delay doing anything with a self-inflicted “I’ll worry about it tomorrow, Scarlett” mentality.
The challenge for all of us is to overcome prepper procrastination by selecting one small task or project at a time and seeing it through to completion. Take some baby steps and spend an hour, perhaps two, and get something done. The results will be worth it.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Bargain Bin: Below you will find some budget-friendly items that will help overcome the “I can’t afford it” excuse
The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage: My 99 cents eBook will provide you with everything you need to create an affordable food storage plan, including what to buy and how to store it. Nothing scary and nothing overwhelming – you really can do this!
SE BT20 9-Volt Battery Tester: I do not know anyone that is sorry they purchased an inexpensive battery tester. Mine sits in my desk drawer and is used 3 or 4 times a week. You would be surprised at the number of batteries that get recycled when in reality, only one in a set of two (or more) powering a device is bad.
Tac Force TF-705BK Tactical Assisted Opening Folding Knife 4.5-Inch Closed: The reviews raved about this knife so I bought one, used it, and can recommend it. See The Inexpensive Tac-Force Speedster Outdoor Knife.
Note: the price can vary by color so if you are not particular, scroll through the colors and save a couple of bucks.
GI P38 & P51 Can Opener Combo Pack: This is one of the army’s greatest tools. Can be used for dozens of jobs. Makes a great can opener, cutting edge, groove cleaner, screw drive, clean fingernails, open seams and many, many more practical uses.
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