SJ is part of a local writers group in Senoia that meets the third Saturday of every month at 10 a.m. at the Senoia Library. You can also follow more of her writing at

My father always had some sort of motto or adage for just about every lesson in life when I was growing up. It didn’t matter what the situation, if there was a teaching moment he had something wise to say that I could always take to heart to help me understand the meaning. It seems that most of the time I was either too stubborn, or too proud to recognize the wisdom he was providing. No kid wants to admit that their parents are actually right about something, especially if it means that the situation could have been avoided altogether if we had just listened to them, right? One particular motto that comes to the forefront of my mind whenever I was given an assignment or project at school, and still to this day when given a project at work is, “Prior planning prevents poor performance.”
I know that what he was trying to teach me was that procrastination is never the answer. The better prepared you are, the better your results will be. This is very wise advise, but as a child and sometimes even as an adult procrastination can get the better of you. I found this out the other day when I had a deadline I needed to meet and, for some reason or another, didn’t find myself to be particularly motivated to even begin the project. I don’t know whether I was feeling lazy and just wanted to watch more of my favorite television show, or I had a bunch of errands that popped up at the last minute, but whatever the reason I found myself delaying until the very last minute.
It never fails that once I have procrastinated to the point I can procrastinate no more and actually embark on the project I have been putting off, that some sort of obstacle gets in my way preventing me from finishing the project smoothly. In grade school it was usually the idea that I just wouldn’t be able to finish the assignment on time, and as a result get a low grade. In college it was all night cram sessions at the computer lab while trying to get a paper written for class the next day, only to find that once I had finished the printers didn’t work and I could not print out my masterpiece. As a professional it would result in me having to push back the deadline, all the while making me look incompetent. None of those scenarios ever sat well with me because I don’t like leaving things unfinished or late. My reputation is everything in my business and the idea of not finishing a project, or handing it in late is not an option.
I don’t know it is fate trying to tell me something or just a mere coincidence, but it always has the same result. I end up working till all hours of the night, cramming to finish the project on time only to end up with a growing sense of panic and regret rising in the pit of my stomach, the entire time my brain just shouting at me, “You should have started this project earlier and you wouldn’t have this problem!”
So the question I have to ask myself every time I get into this situation is, “Is it fate, or is it just poor planning that put me here?” The answer is usually the latter, poor planning. So the lesson to all, listen to your parents when they tell you that procrastination is never the answer. Prior planning will prevent so many headaches in the long run. Even if it’s a project you just don’t want to do, suck it up and start it right away. The sooner you start, the sooner it will be over.