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ASK MERRILY/Procrastinating packer

Merrily Preston
By Merrily Preston
Posted on Jan 30,2009
Filed Under Personal Development , Opinions,

Packing for a trip, long or short, is a real problem for me.  I don't know where to start.  I get paralyzed.  Friends call the night before a trip, late, and tell me that they know that I haven't begun to pack. Right they are.  Usually, I am prompt and efficient.  Not in this arena.  I am overwhelmed at all the choices.

Returning from a trip, on the other hand, is a cakewalk.  I simply put into the suitcase that which I have taken.  A no-brainer.  Any suggestions??

Dear Procrastinator,

When we look with curiosity at the procrastination in our lives, we find there is a reason for it.  So much could be learned if it were not swept under the rug of judgment.  We normally efficient humans all have areas where we procrastinate and feel overwhelmed.

Let’s investigate your late packing.  

  • Do you arrive at your destination on time with everything you need?
  • Do you pack most efficiently at the last minute?
  • Does late activity dissipate pre-travel anxiety and facilitate sleep?
  • Is your paralysis due to judgment that you “should” be finished earlier?

Are you packing at exactly the right time for you?

If you have doubts, playfully experiment with another approach.
Begin by packing early.  Break the job into little pieces. Work in 5-minute segments separated by generous breaks.  PLAY.

  • Open the suitcases at 10 a.m.
  • Pack underwear and sox at noon.
  • At 2 pack comfortable walking shoes.
  • At 4 pack 3 staple outfits that you couldn’t do without.  
  • Later, from “all the choices” that remain joyfully pack as many as space allows.

If this experiment was fun and was accomplished without paralysis, try it again.  If it didn’t work, allow yourself to pack at the last minute.  Know that this is what you do, and that it’s ok.

I would so enjoy hearing what you find out.

Merrily Preston is an Intentional Life Facilitator, who lives in Woodbridge. Her column is exclusive to Local Kicks. Email questions to, or use online form at

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