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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.
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”
Linking to this in my newsletter tonight Gaye! (-: THANKS!
I have a sister who believes that God will provide even in the event of a major disaster. I believe in God but I also know we need to help ourselves as much as possible. My family was raised to be prepared as was our ancestors. Recently my sister attended some services and group meetings and each time the person leading the service or discussion said to everyone present, things are changing around us and it is time to start making provisions for survival whether short or long term. Now she is freaking out because she gave away many useful things and does not have the extra money to buy other items. My siblings and I have been giving her items the last year to have in the event of an emergency. Now she gets it. So all we can do at this point is guide her to make wise purchases and help out along the way with other items she may not be able to afford. The top 100 list of things that disappear first has her in panic mode but as I explained to her, cover water, food, heat, lighting, alternative toilet facilities, first aid, medication, warm clothing, boots and rain gear then branch out from there to survive in place. I also told her to pack a BOB with essentials in case she needs to leave her home. It took the church to open her eyes in less than a week where we have nudged her for 6 years to get prepared. Be patient everyone’s light bulb does not go off at the same time.
There are those who need to hear something from more than one source. I’m one, perhaps your sister is that way too. There are some of us who see things differently at different times. lol you’re right, those ‘aha’ moments happen and so do those ‘duh’ moments. 🙂 I’m still waiting on a few of my sibs, at least yours caught on. 🙂
That comment about God brought back a memory of one of the nuns in my Catholic grade school. She taught us that “God helps those who help themselves.” In other words, she taught us to do everything possible to prepare for life and that if it ever comes down to where we cannot do more and something happens, then God will be there to help us on. I think that is a good goal to keep in mind while we are prepping. “God helps those who help themselves.” Good luck to everyone in 2015.
I’m not bugging my family too much. Since we live in an earthquake prone area, I have been dropping subtle hints about what we should have on hand in case of an earthquake. And I’m getting backup from an elderly lady (80s compared to my 69) at church. She is the lady who told us about when she took an emergency preparedness class, that the instructor said we should plan for at least one to two weeks, not the three days as stated in the old pamphlets. And I saw some nodding their heads. So, subtle does it.
I will have to say that my sister has always been one to have a lot of food put away. But that is a habit she picked up 30 years ago when they started their own business and had four children (3 of them growing boys who ate a lot). Since they could not predict where they would be month to month — one month they had enough to pay all the bills and put some money away — another month they might not even have enough to buy bread and milk.
So she got used to stocking up in the good months to cover the bad months. Even though she does not have as much stocked up as she did then, she still has the habit of buying surplus, just in case that earthquake hits and she cannot get to the store for a while.
So it seems to me that throwing out hints one step at a time to family works better than trying to “browbeat” them into a prepping attitude.
Apparently, some are more concerned with “life and death” as an animal (such as a Jack-Ass)… than with the higher virtues of life as a human being. To ignore your Spirituality… and especially your Family… just to cover your own ass for the sake of living… is THAT really “living”? It’s interesting to see the broad spectrum of what really matters to folks. As they say, “Different Strokes for Different Folks”. Wow!
What would you have people do, when family don’t think anything won’t happen? Go drag them kicking and screaming to a better safe zone? Reminders are the best I can do. You’re right, I won’t sacrifice myself in that way. I won’t leave where I am to die with my family. They will not do it for me.
It’s harsh and they would not like to hear what I just typed….but then again, just maybe the harsh truth might awaken something in them….ya know?
I heard that elephant story a little.
Question: How do you eat an elephant?
Answer: One bite at a time.
Keep up the good work everyone.
Doing a little bit each day adds up to a lot completed over time. I always liked the saying, “Can an ant eat an elephant? give it enough time it can” … just do a little each day.
What has been said reminds me of what a lady at church told me. We had been discussing what we would do in a disaster — this was right after the Oso slide disaster here in Washington, so everyone was talking about what should be on hand if we had to leave our homes.
She said that she had attended one of those state sponsored emergency classes. (Note to myself: ask her for the information so I can take one). Anyway, when she asked the instructor about that three day preparation, he told her to have AT LEAST a week, if not two, on hand as in a really bad disaster it may take that long for the emergency agencies to get around to everyone.
That was an eye opener. I’m elderly with bad health, so a walking bugging out is beyond me. But I am storing up food and water and other necessities in the house. I also have what I call my “Vehicle Bug Out Bag” in my car. I have food, water, propane stove, propane, toiletries, etc. in the trunk. And now that the weather is turning I’ll be adding blankets. In the house I do have a BOB (bug out bag) that I can use if someone can come and pick me up. It has three – four days of food, toiletries, clothes, etc. That way, if someone does take me to a shelter I will have enough for a few days for myself so that the shelter can feed and clothe those who were not prepared. Even this little bit can help others.
Keep up the good work everyone. These blogs are part of my preparation as I can take the good ideas that will fit my situation and work on them one day at a time.