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Are you one of those people who is constantly making excuses for not arriving on time at appointments, even dinner with friends or loved ones?
Do you find yourself apologizing and offering explanations for projects turned in too late or shipments or undelivered favored?
Come on now, be honest.
Okay, maybe you make a few too many excuses. That's okay. Remember, no one's judging...We're exploring, uncovering, and improving.
If you don’t have an answer to the question or are sure you don’t fit the profile, try running these questions through your mind for the next few weeks, “Am I an excuse maker? Was that an excuse?”
During that period, watch yourself carefully.
Tune into the words that come out of your mouth. Watch for excuses you proffer to others to explain your behavior. Are excuses occasional, which is normal, or perpetual?
Upon observation, you may find yourself offering up a lot more excuses than you ever imagined.
Don’t be dismayed by this revelation, however, it is not unusual to discover bad habits that we never knew existed. Many of us operate on autopilot, in a state of blissful ignorance and/or denial, unable to see who we really are. (I’ll talk about that in another blog.)
If you are a procrastinator and are unable to get places on time or deliver things you promise on time, you probably are an excuse-maker. You have to be. You have to find some explanation that lets you off the hook each time you screw up.
Again, don’t dismay. We’re on a path of personal evolution, and disturbing revelations are the raw material of your evolutionary venture.
Remember this, however, while your explanations may seem compelling and hence forgivable to you, not everyone is disposed to pardon your transgressions.
One of my favorite sayings, that I've repeated good naturedly to myself, my kids, and others, is “Excuses don’t feed the bulldog.”
Sure, you have a perfectly rational explanation why you forgot to feed the dog, but the fact is, the poor bugger went without food for two days.
My kids used to procrastinate watering their pet ferrets or outdoor plants, that both suffered from their lack of attention to their chores. We never lost a pet but they did go without food and water unnecessarily from time to time. As for trees, I did have several newly planted and expensive trees die because one of my boys just decided to water when he had the time. A week late.
What if you are an excuse maker? What can you do?
Many of the tricks I’ve been teaching you about organizing your work schedule will help you end the constant string of excuses. You’ll become a doer, a person who gets his or her work on time.
So give them a try. If you haven’t already, buy a spiral notebook, start taking notes and keeping lists. Follow my advice about getting started – by picking the easiest tasks first. Take breaks to break the monotony. Use an egg timer to control you time. Work on projects a few hours a day, day after day. But be sure to start early. Use a timeline to manage your commitments over longer periods, and use it to prevent taking on more than you can possibly complete.
And by all means, don’t forget to feed the bulldog.
Contributing editor Dan Chiras is a renewable energy and green homes expert who has spent a lifetime learning life’s lessons, which he shares in his popular blog, Dan Chiras on Loving Life. He’s the founder and director of The Evergreen Institute and president of Sustainable Systems Design. Contact him by visiting his website or finding him on Google+.