Growing up, my family had an inside joke about a fictional person named Ben Gonna. It may be used like so: “The painter we hired after that big storm has Ben Gonna paint our house, but he hasn’t shown up yet.” This statement may be followed by muttering “Ben Gonna” in a frustrated manner. Of course “Ben Gonna” takes the place of “been going to” and was somehow elevated to an identity of its (his?) own. The act of procrastination, or even the lack of a definite commitment, takes on the identity of Ben Gonna. This phrase was mostly used by my grandmother, and I can tell you that she did not consider Ben Gonna a flattering identity.
You may also hear people refer to the things they are going to do “when they get around to it.” Well, I’m here to tell you, I received this little beauty in elementary school.
Sadly, I do find myself inviting Ben Gonna into my life at times. Perhaps it’s human nature to do those things first that we enjoy (or at least those things we don’t mind), putting off the dreaded tasks for last. (Or maybe it’s just me.) For me, sometimes it is uncertainty that hinders my action.
I have just taken care of something that I put off for a year! Last December, the zipper in my winter coat broke. I live in Minnesota, mind you, so a winter coat is a necessity. I made it through the rest of last winter by pulling it on and off over my head – thank goodness it was stuck in a position to allow that. After the cold weather had passed, I meant to take the coat to a tailor to see what it would cost to fix it. I would then need to decide if the cost of repair would be worthwhile, or if it would make more sense to buy a new coat. Just this week, I finally brought my coat to a tailor. Guess what it cost to fix it? $11.80. I have been putting this off for a year, and it cost $11.80. And if the repair had been too costly? So what? At least I would know that I would be better off to buy a new coat and move on. I should add, this never would have happened if it had been my child’s coat, so priorities come into play as well. At any rate, I can see why my grandmother didn’t think much of Ben Gonna.
In my day to day life, I have two main tools to help me avoid Ben Gonna. There are things that slip by sometimes, as illustrated above, but generally speaking, these help me. Let’s hope this little lesson will help me better deal with those items on the back burner a little more quickly in the future.
- Checklists – I write down what needs to be done and check things off as I go. It is so satisfying to check things off my list!
- Accountability – I tell someone about what I intend to get done. This is particularly helpful for a bigger or more dreaded task, not so much for the little things.
Do you have any tips for staying on task? I’d love to hear them!