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Got debt? I could be wrong, but if you’re revolving a big credit card balance I’m guessing at least some of it is holiday-related.

Sadly, holiday debt can hang on long after the gifts are forgotten.

 

Young couple worried need help in stress at home debt bills bank papers expenses and payments feeling desperate in bad financial situation

So what’s the problem here? Procrastination. When it comes to Christmas, the longer you wait, the more you’ll spend and the more you spend the more likely you are to look to credit for the funds.

Everyone procrastinates a little, but some of us procrastinate about everything. Why do we do that? Internal conflict.

We feel overwhelmed

We put a lot of holiday pressure on ourselves. But then add to that the expectations of others and it can be overwhelming—even paralyzing. So we do nothing until it’s so late our only choice is to spend whatever it takes to squeak by.

We overestimate our time

From where we sit now, Christmas seems far away. We tell ourselves we have plenty of time—more than enough.

We overestimate our abilities

Procrastinators have an unrealistic sense of time. If we believe we can finish the task in say three hours, we put it off until only three hours remain. That leaves no margin, no room for error—no allowance for the law of life that says things rarely go as planned.

We have to do it perfectly

Experts tell us at the root of procrastination is perfectionism. Because we feel we have to do everything perfectly we do nothing rather than run the risk of failing.

We say we work better under pressure

Waiting until the last minute can provide quite an adrenalin rush. Procrastinators believe they cannot operate without that creative surge and so they sit back and wait for it to kick in.

The secret to overcoming procrastination is figuring out what’s behind the fear. Start by identifying the situations that have left you paralyzed by procrastination in the past.

As it relates to Christmas specifically, ask yourself: What price have I paid in past years for waiting until the last minute? Do I really want to pay that price again next year?

If the answer to the last question is yes, forget that I even brought it up. You don’t need to be thinking about the holidays yet.

If on the other hand, you are not willing to go into debt this year, here are simple steps to stop procrastinating.

Get started

Once you are in motion it’s easier to keep going.

Write it down

Reduce your plans to paper. Seeing things in black and white eliminates the unknown, which cause a lot of fear.

Work with the time you have

Make a simple timeline, and then break the project down into small, manageable parts. Even five minutes is enough time to get something done when you have a plan.

Set a series of small deadlines

As an example, give yourself a date one week from today to have your gift list written. Share your deadline with someone who will nudge you toward accountability.

Find the simpler way

Now, while you are still months away from experiencing the powerful emotions of the season, determine ways you can reasonably scale back and simplify.

Be opportunistic

Whether it’s picking up shells along the shore to adorn a picture frame or finding a bargain collectible at a tag sale during your fall travels, take full advantage of the opportunities.

Be realistic

Set reasonable limits both in time and money, and then stick to them.

For once, time is on your side. Here we are in January with eleven-twelfths of 2019 still ahead. Take a deep breath then determine that you’ll make the most of it!

Need help?

Feeling hopeless, buried under debt? I can’t promise to fix your situation, but I am available to listen. Write to me. I may be able to point you in the right direction to find the help you need—help that could turn your life around. No cost, no obligation and must of all, no judging.

I’ve been where you are, I know that lost feeling of hopelessness. By the grace of God, I am not where I was and grateful I’m not yet where I yet will be.

If you are or have ever been, plagued by credit-card debt, I can nearly guarantee that revolving expenses related to Christmas have contributed greatly to that miserable situation. The problem? Procrastination.

woman upset by Christmas credit-card debt

Face it, when it comes to Christmas, the longer you wait, the more you’ll spend. The opposite is also true: The sooner you get started the less you’ll spend.

Everyone procrastinates in some area. And some people procrastinate about everything. Why do we do it?

We feel overwhelmed. The holiday expectations we place on ourselves plus those that come from our families, the community, even the church can be so great we feel paralyzed. So we do nothing until the only choice we have is to spend as much money as it takes to get by.

We overestimate how much time we have. From where we sit here in July, Christmas seems so far away. We tell ourselves we have “plenty of time!”

We have to do it perfectly. Experts tell us that at the root of procrastination is perfectionism. Because we feel we have to do everything perfectly—and fear that we might not—we do nothing rather than run the risk of failing.

We say we work better under pressure. Waiting until the last minute can provide quite an adrenaline rush. Procrastinators believe they cannot operate without that creative surge, so they sit back and wait for it to happen.

The way to deal with procrastination is to identify why you do it. Ask yourself: What price have I paid in the past for the delay? Do I really want to pay that price, or even more, again this year?

If the answer to the last question is yes, you have lots of time; you don’t need to be thinking about the holidays yet.

If on the other hand, you are not willing to go into debt to measure up to others’ expectations, get started. Do something now even if all you do is stash $25 a week for Christmas shopping in December. Once you are in motion it will be easier to keep going.

1. FAMILY PHOTO

Whether it’s for your family Christmas card or to frame for a gift to friends and family, get that picture taken now. Then shop around for the best price on high-quality prints.

Costco. It’s hard to beat Costco’s prices and service, but you need to be a member. However, right now it doesn’t appear you can order holiday photo cards—if you want to go this route. You’ll have to check back in a few months to see if their holiday templates are available.

Snapfish. You can get 5×7-inch photo cards printed for as little as $1 each when you order a package of 20—and the price goes down if you order more. Even though it’s July, Snapfish has its holiday templates available for you to order and print.

Vista Print. A great source for a postcard with your photos, plus many other options. VistaPrint has frequent specials and sales throughout the summer, so check back to see if you can get a deal at VistaPrint.com. Caution: You will be hounded throughout the order process to buy all kinds of “add-ons.” Don’t waste your money. Buy only what you came to buy.

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One of the toughest things I battle in my life is procrastination. My natural response is I’ll do it later.

There’s a part of me that despises that procrastinator and wages a daily war to defeat it. That’s how I’ve come to rely on the power of habits and routines. If I can avoid having to make a decision, I lose the choice to put it off until later.

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Habits are those things we do so often, they become automatic. Take my MacBook Pro. You’d be shocked to know just how many hours a day I am on this thing. The keyboard is part of me. My muscles have totally memorized every stroke, the location of every key. Until something changes. 

Due to a series of technical complications, I was forced to move the dock from the bottom of my screen to the left side. We’re talking about a 90-degree relocation from horizontal to vertical. And I’m ready to be committed. 

Everything in me wants that dock at the bottom. Every muscle recalls exactly where each tool should be. For nearly three weeks I have battled this annoying change and it is driving me to the brink of insanity. My routines are disrupted, my old habit is screaming in torment. My brain, muscles, and fingers are trained to reach effortlessly to get what I need. It was so automatic I didn’t have to think about it.  Read more