“Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination: never put off till tomorrow what you can do to-day.” – Lord Chesterfield
Procrastination is, in all probability, second behind fear in its menacing appearance of ominous-ness and ability to thwart individual success. Like Forrest Gump and Jenny, fear and procrastination are the “peas and carrots” of personal success roadblocks. This is because procrastination is a slow killer; patient, tolerant and unassuming. Its effects, however, are felt for long periods after the damage has been done. Sadly, when opportunity does knock for many people, procrastination is more than happy to quietly shut the door.
I like the way Dennis Waitley says it, “Procrastination is the fear of success. People procrastinate because they are afraid of the success that they know will result if they move ahead now. Because success is heavy, carries a responsibility with it, it is much easier to procrastinate and live on the “someday I’ll” philosophy.”
Can you take a cruise ship to Someday Isle? I doubt it. And if you could, it would be delayed in leaving. Maybe you could pay for it with the Visa Procrastination Card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill! (Get it? A procrastination joke!)
We are all acutely and intimately familiar with procrastination and its effects. So what, if anything, can we do about it? In almost all cases, procrastination can be eradicated by a change of perspective and by simply asking oneself a better quality question.
Steven Covey, in his landmark book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” states the process this way: “Begin with the end in mind.” In other words, focus on the reward instead of the process. We all know the process usually stinks; it’s the reward we’re after. I have a client in his early eighties who tells me that his friends ask him if he really enjoys working out. He tells them, “No. I enjoy having worked out.” He gets it! He’s after the reward. Can you relate?
Here’s a potential scenario: Let’s say you’re lying in bed one cold December morning. The temperature outside is about 34 degrees (if you lived in San Antonio, Texas like me that would seem dang cold!) and it’s raining. Your alarm rings at precisely 6:30 a.m. If you’re focused on the process of getting up, walking across the cold floor, driving in the rain to the gym and working out, you’ll never make it. It’s back under the covers you go!
However, if your focus is on the reward in the body, health and fitness level you want, living longer so your kids benefit from your existence, the work day you’ve got ahead of you and the energy you’ll need to complete it successfully, you will be motivated to get up and get going!
Success coach Mike Litman offers three simple steps you can immediately put into practice to stop procrastination dead in its tracks:
- Ask yourself, “What is one task that I don’t want to do today (eliminates denial) but if I completed it, would propel my life/business/health/whatever in the direction of success I’m looking to achieve?” This is a very important, specific question.
- Next, ask yourself, “What will I gain by doing it?” Creates focus on the reward and motivation to get the ball rolling.
- Do it now! In the words of Napoleon Hill, “Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.” What are you waiting for, get moving!
By implementing these simple steps you will overcome the urge to procrastinate and move like greased lightning toward any personal endeavor you set your mind to. I promise you.
Now, no procrastinating…go do it!
Yer Uncle Steve