First Things First

I have a terrible problem with procrastination. Not in everything, but in two areas.

First, I put off entering my paperwork into my work computer until the last minute, though I do get it done in time. Second, my car is a mess of working material and purchased items I carry with me, such as medical supplies, nonperishable food, empty drink bottles and food wrappers.

I am a home health nurse. I am in my car every day, all day. Years ago I used to be better about keeping stuff caught up, then I went to counseling and stress management therapy and got over being stressed out all the time.

Now I am more relaxed and enjoy the moment because my job is more flexible and less stressful than working in a hospital. However, my supervisor wants my car cleaned out in case we have a state health inspector ride with us to see a home health patient.

How can I get myself not to put off entering paperwork into the computer and keep my car more presentable?

~ Trish

Trish, your letter suggests that you are not less stressed, but that you’ve found a way to kick the can farther down the road. You’ve exchanged the stress of the hospital for the stress you can inflict on yourself.

Your inner procrastinator tells you it’s no big deal. It doesn’t matter that your car is messy and you delay paperwork because you are good at your job. But if you think about it, that’s not true. Your routines affect your job and how people perceive you.

People will judge your work by the state of your car. From your car people won’t think you are competent and relaxed. They will think you are sloppy, disorganized and haphazard.

You want to be laid-back, but how does leaving paperwork till the last minute accomplish that? What if the computer is down? What if the state inspector shows up? What about complaints from your boss?

The quickest way to remove tension is to do those items first. Instead of calculating the last possible minute to file your paperwork, calculate the first possible moment. Instead of letting your car become a pig sty, clean it up. The first cleanup may take time, but if you do it last thing every day, or do it as things are being used, it takes almost no time.

These two things relate to your ability to earn a living, and they can negatively affect that ability. If you don’t do them promptly, you want the stress. You are seeking it out. That gets to a deeper question. Why? What is your why? Why are you doing this to yourself?

~ Wayne & Tamara

Eyes Wide Open

I’m a girl in the early 20s. I met this nice guy while I was attending a religious function. We got to know each other and exchanged phone numbers. We texted sometimes and I got to like him, but the sad part is he told me he didn’t have a girlfriend and wanted a relationship with me.

After some thinking I told him I’m going to give him a chance, though I thought he had been playing around. Later on I got to know he has a high school girlfriend, and they’ve been in a relationship for a long while.

When I found this out from his sisters, I was hurt. Still, every time I’m around him I feel so lost. I guess it’s because I have a crush on him, though we’ve never gone out. I’m afraid he’ll end up breaking my heart.

~ Denise

Denise, you know he’s a player. You know he lies. You know he’s going to break your heart. Yet you still want to date him.

So who’s playing whom? He must think, I’m not playing her, she’s playing herself.

~ Wayne & Tamara

Column for the week of June 23, 2014

Send letters to: [email protected] , or Direct Answers, PO Box 964, Springfield MO 65801.

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