Learning to Overcome Prepper Procrastination

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: November 24, 2020
Learning to Overcome Prepper Procrastination

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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.

Learning to Overcome Prepper Procrastination

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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26 Responses to “Learning to Overcome Prepper Procrastination”

  1. As I sit here tonite, the air is finally clear enough to shut off the AC. Did you know that an AC also can work as an air cleaner? You see there are 2 wildfires at least 50 miles from me; one to the south and one to the north. The wind is blowing the smoke from the north down the valley and we have been in a smoke filled alert all day. On the news, so many being told to evacuate and saying they don’t know what to take. They are prepared and are caught.
    So whether it’s a fire or natural disaster, we do need to speak up and at least help people get a 72 hour kit together. BTW: the fire to the north isn’t natural, they know tonite it was started by some youth. But I’m speaking to the choir.
    I have to agree with Gaye, except for one, none of these are valid. That one, “I can’t afford it.” To me, it’s not valid either. If some are like me and only have $20 or $25 a month to spend, doesn’t mean you can’t prepare. Either you find stuff within that amount or save a little so you can buy bigger the next month or even later to buy something needed but more costly.
    So you don’t have the funds to buy. Hey that’s the time to check out the local museums which can be free and find out how to do things the non technical way. (It just might come down to those) Besides once you learn those methods, you can get together with your family and others and discuss how to adapt for today but you will have one method you know has worked before. 😉
    If you haven’t already look around for items you own which can do multiple purpose. Call impromptu drills so if/when something does happen, it’s automatic what you and your loved ones will do and where they will go. Have fun as you make them learning experiences. If you good up (because you or someone else will) laugh and talk or do what should have been done. Get the neighborhood kids into the drills. You may be the one they turn to because they will remember those drills. Learn new skills and by all means teach your children. Not everything costs $$, sometimes those relationships will mean more because you spent TIME, so spend it. 🙂

    • That’s a big scare for me; my family. They don’t believe me. They think nothing will happen and if it does, the State govt. will take care of it. None of my daughters are prepping. They spend more money on ” stuff”, then I do on a months…or more bills and groceries. How do you convince people ( FAMILY ) who will not listen. If I prepped for them to come here, would they even be able to make it here….if they decide to leave.
      Finally I had to stop thinking about it, because it hurts. I don’t hound them, but they know I’m prepping……that’s all I can do is advise them and they aren’t listening anymore. They live in a State that is running out of water…..another disaster coming down the pike.
      It’s late here in AK too….it is now 10:43pm and I’m thinking about all of the things I need to do. I have a pad, making a list and making another list for next month’s groceries/stockpiling. Thinking ” basic”!!

    • First of all, I never tell others what I’m doing to incl relatives. Each household is responsible for themselves not anyone else.. I prep but not like before y2k as much was tossed/donated/sold when nothing happened. Older folks are not prepping because y2k was a crock; wasted time, money spent for nothing. Plus they refuse to create clutter that could sit around, like some who died I know of, and burdened their heirs to dispose of items, to incl wood stoves, camping gear, buckets of food thrown in landfill, etc.

    • Why should they care about you Kathryn? Your doing all the work, late at night, I might add, while thay are resting comfortably without a care in the world. Newsflash: Get the hell away from your family when teotwawki hits. Don’t tell me you love them too much. Have your own stash and high tail it out of town when the grid goes down. If you love the “tinkertoys” as I call them, then stay home and die with them. Watch them eat your food and drink your water. They don’t thank you now and they won’t thank you then. I’m not trying to be a jackass, but you need a good dose of grow up pill. Get away from them, don’t say goodbye, and don’t look back. It’s your move, a move away unto life, or a move to stay and die! PS: We all have the same problem with tinkertoy family…but only a few of us will make the smart decision to consider them nothing less than what they are: IN HOME TERRORISTS!

    • I just told my kids that if they can make it here, they can come. NOW, I have to tell them what to expect…..that’ll be scary for them. I live in the woods, they are city dwellers ( compared to here ). They have acrylics, Starbucks, A.V Mall etc. They will have to contribute their sweat, not a deli plate from the local super store.They will have to bug-out. leaving just about everything behind for others to steal. I’ve lived on this island since 2012 and I’m still not fully adjusted, but I wouldn’t exchange my life for theirs, no matter what. They have photos of what this place used to look like and they are thinking…..awww, cute! Now I have a yard full of felled trees, and not so cute anymore…but a great place to ……never mind!! 😉 I love my family, but I’m already seperated from them. When push comes to shove, I plan to live.

  2. That last number should have been 329,970,000 long lost best new friends…ok ammo takes up the first five top can’t live w/o items…thanks

  3. Really good article to get us thinking. As a newbie I first started with water and food preparation.

    NOTE: You youngsters (under 55) may not want to shop the first Tuesday of the month at Fred Meyer. That is their Senior Citizen (55 and over) day. All their Fred Meyer brand groceries are 10% off.

    Every month I take advantage of this sale to stock my panty. With that 10% off I can buy about a dozen more items that I normally would.

    My daily prepping is going slow and easy. For inspiration, I read about 10-15 minutes about prepping. Then I work a bit every day on making up my have and want list. I’ve prioritized the items by what I can do.

    Even if I don’t do anything big or spectacular each day, the little things are beginning to add up.

    Good luck to all with your preparations.

    • O you’re so right, take advantage of those discounts. Didn’t know Freddie’s had one for seniors. 🙂 Thanks

    • Here in Alaska, we have a senior day too….10% also. Also we have tax exempt cards for seniors, starting at 60, I think. I”m 66 and just got mine not too long ago. I get extra when I can. You know? No matter how much we stock up on, we cannot breath easily. There will always be someone wanting to take it. When a person is hungry, nothing is sacred.
      Anyway, I’m doing what I can, hoping nothing ever happens. Then there is ISIS…..sometimes it’s just hard to think about

  4. Great article, but let’s take it a step further. A notable prepper site out there says only one percent of the population is prepping. There are 330,000,000 million people in America, so we got about 3,030,000 folks a prepping. Now, here is the biggie, How many of those 3,030,000 actually practice their plan through and through until it is working to perfection. We’re talking, water purification, bugging out/in, night vision devices, weapons, food storage, the whole pizza, ok. Probably not even one percent of those of us that are prepping have a truly long range practiced to perfection workable plan,including me. Just my guess, but if that is true then this country only has 30,000, no more than 31,000 preppers with the honed skills and supplies to actually make it through the first year. That means the glorious 30,000 are going to have 329,270,000 long lost, best new friends wanting food, shelter, and clothing, and doing whatever it takes to take it from you. This post is not a condemnation of anyone, rather a wake up call to reality. I am not saying this to be a jackass, it is just an ironclad fact…ammo has just taken the top three spots on my can’t live without list…that’s a fact. I got self defense problems and they have to be alleviated b4 teotwawki, the non preppers and prepper procrastinators show up on my doorstep. What about you and yours…just a thought. thanks

  5. To those preppers that are aware… this will sound redundant.

    The most effective way to become motivated and proactive in getting prepared… is to imagine the electrical grid going down for even a week or so. Most folks have no idea how drastic and far reaching that would have upon their lives.

    And if that doesn’t spark any urgency to get prepared… just imagine a large portion of the country without power… for months or even years.

    The real tragedy would be sitting in the dark with a wad of cash in your hands…
    wishing that you had spent it on preparedness and survival stuff when your cash still was worth something more than just paper.

    As has been said many times…
    “Hindsight is 20-20”.

  6. Last month I purchased 1 72hr bucket for 4 people. I’m hoping to get something each month and also take a small amount of money out of the bank and hiding it…..just in case. Two months ago I bought the least expensive Berkey Water system ( the food grade plastic unit with 2 filters ). That purchase stung a little but I have PFD coming up and it will go on my credit cards. When there is a ” bogo” sale at the store, I try to put one of the items away. Sometimes I have to drag it back out again, but not always.
    I’m watching the news and I’m more determined to be ready ….or at least better prepped then a lot of people. The list is so long, I can’t see the end, but after January’s disaster, I believe that anything can happen.

  7. You always lead with your right. You just have to keep doing and delegating( to responsible family members). Thrift stores, side jobs and saving get the expensive stuff done. ALWAYS let the people you trust know about materials you need, they can help you save a ton if they know.

  8. I too have that mananna syndrome or as my father used to say “when I get ’roundtoit”disease. It’s a struggle. I get so discouraged when I think of the “big” picture. What I still have to get done and get put away for my family. I have a couple of family members that are prepping and give me encouragement AND you and my other friends I’ve found on-line over the last 2 years keep me focused and not too discouraged.
    Thank you Gaye

  9. This is so timely! While figuring my schedule for the upcoming week, a prepping task I have been putting off for well over a year now popped up again! Putting my important documents on the thumb drive, a really simple thing, but so boring. So, it’s scheduled, again, but this week I’m going to get it done!

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