Experiment time! Over the next week (or even two) make note of it any time you say to yourself, “I’ll do that later.” It doesn’t have to be a big, time-consuming notation because then taking the note will be something you put off, but just some sort of indication of when and what you decide to push until tomorrow (or the next day, or the next day, or the next day…). At the end of the week (or however long you decide to conduct this experiment), check to see if there is a pattern in what you delay.
For me, a clear pattern has emerged. Anything that is specifically related to me, and only me, gets delayed. Break a tooth—start to deal with it four months later. Rewrites on a script—start to deal with it five months later. Nobody else was impacted by my not turning to deal with those things right away, so I shoved them to the bottom of the priority list.
Now, you might say that these things also involved extended time commitments (or money), and that’s why they got pushed. It’s true that I tend to do things that can be done quickly first, and deal with the more complicated issues later—but not when other people are affected by my lack of diligence. Even complicated or time-consuming activities get accomplished when I know someone else is counting on me to get them done. No one else has to deal with me not making it to an exercise class (at least in the short run), so that can be done later (plus, eh, exercise).
I don’t think I’m alone in this. I think many of us tend not to make ourselves the priority. I’m not suggesting that you should live an entirely self-centered life, but at some point, you have to be important to you. At some point, I need to choose me when running down the list of things to do.
And that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to start to choose me. Really soon. Possibly tomorrow.