Ten years ago I remember the lively debate for a tax act now known as the Bush Tax Cuts. It finally passed with the caveat that it would expire in ten years. It was better than nothing and there would be plenty of time to make it exactly right. But just in case, the whole tax act would disappear on 12/31/2010—eons away.
So for ten years I’ve had a cheat sheet on my desk to see exactly how all the different laws would change and phase-in each year. And, for all of 2010, we have been waiting to see what would happen. Soon there would be some action. But here we are, 16 days to go and we’re still waiting. And, by the look of things, they’ll be two more years waiting for the fine-tuning because I guess 10 years just wasn’t enough!
But, before we start throwing stones, let’s take inventory of deadlines we’ve put off. How about that painful bill you try to pretend isn’t there? When it finally comes due, you still have the problem but now with added hours of unconscious worry and stress. Or, what about taking advantage of 0% interest for one year? You managed to wait too long and failed to meet the deadline (hopefully only once) and were hit with a year’s worth of high interest charges. Or, what about that distant retirement plan? Are you still hoping that somehow those retirement funds will miraculously appear?
What is it about distant, difficult and tedious deadlines that make us procrastinate? Are we optimists (it always works out) or pessimists (it’s too difficult to deal with)? Do we have our heads in the sands or our heads in too many other things? Are we too concerned with being right or wrong or liked or criticized? There are so many reasons to choose from, but it all comes down to no good excuse at all.
I’ll confess. Always in that overwhelmed place; never enough time—that’s my excuse. What’s yours?