How can I stop my husband from procrastinating so much?

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Dear Granny, My husband is the worst procrastinator ever. I can deal with the everyday procrastination but the big things like money are driving me nuts! HELP, what can I do?

“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.” William James.

  When I saw your question, the first thought that went through my head was, “I’ll answer this one later!!” Procrastination is one of those common human traits that we all struggle with at some point in our lives. Everyone procrastinates to some extent, but when the behavior affects vital things like finances and relationships it can become a real stumbling block.

Procrastinating on bill-paying can affect your credit rating, as I’m sure you are aware, and that’s most likely one of the reasons you’re ready to tear your hair out. I don’t blame you!! Perhaps a cast-iron frying pan upside his head would get his attention? 

No, seriously…Since you know he’s putting off paying things, maybe you could gently suggest that you take over the job. No need to put it meanly, merely say, “Honey, I see how hard you work; it’s not fair that you should have to handle the bill-paying too. I’ll be glad to help you do it.” And please try to say this with a straight face. 

Now, is this fair to you? Heck no! As a woman, I’m darned sure that your plate is overflowing as it is, and the idea of adding one more job to the pile is darned near nauseating. However, it is the ONLY sure way to get things done. And besides, this new responsibility will hopefully be merely temporary, because sneaky Granny has a plan to help your hubby take back the job and do it well.

What you’re going to do is model the desired behavior, and gradually draw him back into the task. For some people, deadlines are overwhelming things that gnaw on them. They were never taught to break down big tasks into smaller bits. First, go through all the bills and due dates either with Hubby or without him. Mark due dates on a calendar that’s in plain sight. Keep all the bills together in the same place, as well as stamps, envelopes and pens. As payday arrives, do the bills first thing. I know it’s depressing to watch the bank account dwindle, and that may very well be why Hub is having difficulty. However, it also helps to be grateful for the fact that you have enough to pay the bills. Attitude is everything. Once you’ve completed the bi-monthly bills, let him know how much time it took. “Wow, that only took 20 minutes!” It can help him to realize that the more quickly it gets done, the less time you spend worrying, and the more time you have to do enjoyable activities.

After a while, you can bring him back into the process itself. At first, it’s like spoon-feeding an infant; have everything set up and ready to go at your usual bill-paying time, then manufacture a task that tears you away. Ask him if he could just fill out the checks and put them with the bills. Can you see where this is going? Yep. Next time, he’ll do them, put them in the envelopes. And so on, until he’s back paying the bills, only THIS time they’re ON time!

At least, that’s how this whole scenario worked for Grandpa and me. I didn’t nag, complain, or yell; I simply took over the job and showed him how to do it without being condescending. And he’s a non-procrastinating bill-payer now!

If this doesn’t work, write back and we’ll figure out a different solution. Granny’s still got that cast-iron skillet handy for you.

 You’re welcome here anytime; Granny’s always glad to see you!



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The answer to "How can I stop my husband from procrastinating so much?"

Question asked on June 11, 2008at 5:35 am:: Comments (0)

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