The main topic of last month’s newsletter was “Procrastination”. Perhaps
you read it. Perhaps you wanted to but never got around to it. I can tell
you as a coach that it is a condition that slows people down on the path
to leading the life they want to live.
One of the suggestions I made last month was to simply take action. I am
going to talk about that this month but before I do I want to acknowledge
the fact that at the end of the newsletter last month I challenged
subscribers to write in with their thoughts about the cost of
procrastination. I challenged people to go beyond the reading of the
newsletter and into action.
When I write the content of these newsletters I wonder how many people
delete it before they read it, how many people read only part of it and
how many people read the whole thing? By challenging people to take
action at the end of my writing, I take the chance of limiting how many
people actually get the challenge. The good news is that people did send
me their thoughts. I will let you see what they said in this newsletter.
When Shelley MacDougall and I are working with people in the Happy,
Healthy, Wealthy Game or in our new program, The Extraordinary Leader, we
talk about three A’s that are key in getting different results. They are Awareness,
Action and Accountability.
Perhaps reading last month’s newsletter gave you some awareness about
some of the areas in your life where you have been procrastinating.
Having the awareness is the start; for once you have that awareness you
are in a position to take action. When you combine the two other steps, awareness
and action with a way to keep yourself accountable you are
setting yourself up for success.
Why take action?
Procrastination is a form of goal achievement paralyses. There is no
movement. By taking some action it is like taking a first step, and more
steps usually follow it. The action doesn’t have to be monumental, it can
be small. But no matter how small it is, it brings you out of paralyses.
Motion or movement is good. It brings on more. I have always loved the
metaphor of getting a rocket off the launch pad. It takes an inordinate
amount of energy to get the rocket off the ground but once the momentum
has been built, it takes relatively little energy for the rocket to go
its fastest speeds on its way to its goal.
When we set a goal we are using the power of intention. When we
take action we are using the power of attention. When we use both
we move toward the achievement of our goals.
For instance, say you want to plan a big trip. One small action can
ignite the excitement and inspire more action. Get a brochure, look for
info on the internet, start a fund for the trip, talk to someone who has
been there, watch a movie filmed at your destination, create a budget,
listen to music from the area. You get the idea! Take some action!
Every action you take is one less on the journey to get there. If the
goal looks big or daunting cut it up into bite size pieces. How do you
eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Are you willing to take enough action to achieve your elephant of a goal?
What action can you take in the next five minutes?
What actions can you take in the next day?
How many actions could you take toward your important goal in the next 90
Now lets take a look at the wisdom that came from three readers that took
action as a result of the last newsletter.
Yes, I have watched the Secret - I love it! Costs of being a
Missed opportunities and money, if you don't fill in forms for something
you want to do you could miss the deadlines or the early bird
registrations which have substantial savings.
Disappointing friends, family, co-workers or your boss (that could be
hazardous to your job!).
Losing touch with friends - "I'll get around to writing that letter
Becoming lazy because all the things pile up and become even more
overwhelming so you end up doing nothing.
I'd like to say I'm not a procrastinator, but that would be a lie! I do
however endeavour to get things done in a timely manner.
Nice newsletter, I always enjoy reading them. I love the phrase – being
How procrastination has cost me? Some people live by the belief, “Don’t
put off to tomorrow what you can put off to the day after tomorrow”,
which I would refer to as a “procrastination consultant”. To be honest,
over the years I have selectively chosen to do the things I like to do or
are good at doing. This approach leaves the “less popular” tasks to the
end and often undone. For me the cost have been:
Rushing to meet a deadline (in some cases one that I have set myself) and
delivering work that has not been my best
Working very late resulting in time away from family
Missed deadlines or requests for an extension
Loss of confidence from others
Disappointment in myself
Shall I go on? . . . . (I think not – I’m getting depressed just thinking
I have found the more time is not the solution. Currently, I have had
more time on my hands than I know what to do with. Yet, I always have
something to do. But I have learned that there is a big difference
between getting things done and just being busy. Working smart by
re-prioritizing and managing distractions is key.
Recently someone suggest that we all get rid of our “to-do” lists and
simply apply the task to our calendar instead. Simply put, when you
identify a task that needs to be done (or one gets put on you) just
assign a day and time to do it and do it when it comes up on your
calendar. Sure, sometimes you have to make adjustments because other
priorities come up, but I have found most of the time I can stick to my
schedule of tasks I have assigned.
Well, that is my $ .02 for the day. That and another $1.78 will buy you a
cup of coffee. I hope this is what you were seeking.
I am brand new to your teachings, thank you I'm enjoying it already.
I have a comment on the procrastination issue. No I have not watched the
Secret but plan on seeing it pretty immediately, thank you for the
Anyway, the cost of procrastination to me is the stress it would bring.
Until I accomplish a task of importance, 'I feel it on my shoulders' and
putting it off longer would almost be painful!
Perfect example was I had a rather uncomfortable task of surveying sales
for the last three years in three particular rooms. I was asked first by
this Board Member (the person you described in your newsletter) to do
this in December. I let it go through the proper channels (i.e. my
General Manager) then plotted along the project prioritizing my immediate
work first and in the end, it turned out to be about four hours a week. I
just handed in all three years itemized sales. I would consider the only
procrastination on my part is that I waited till it went through the
proper channels, even when I knew the outcome. By doing a little at a
time I could keep my 'shoulders rolling' and chunk it down.
I am 'anal' about returning phone calls and emails; I manage my stress
and life by prioritizing and chunking just about everything.
I am a Food and Beverage Manager in a country club with 600 families. I
have been there for ten years in June. I love my job, my career and the
world of clubs.