Do you ever feel like all you do is put things off? Things you know you need to just get handled, but for whatever reason you keep setting them aside?
I’m in my 10th week of a grueling exercise program called P90X. I’m a former Marine and I’ve been an athlete in one form or another all my life, but I’ve gotta tell you P90X is a killer.
One of my best excuses for not doing it each day is I’m in a hotel room and it’s too much trouble to bother with it. But, one way or the other I’ve learned to work it in. Thus in 10 weeks I’ve lost about 9 lbs, an inch and a half off my waist and gained some much needed muscle that’s so important to have at my age.
So what’s the connection? As much as I try putting it off, I’m always so much happier and successful when I “just do it.” When I put it behind me and it’s done I have a much more productive day.
One of the challenges we all have in life is to make decisions that need to be made in order to ultimately make us and those around us more successful. Be it exercising, cleaning your desk off or decisions on the direction of your company, the sooner you get it done the better.
In the mid 80’s my business partner Ashton Lewis introduced me to the Franklin Planner. You know the day planner book that you write everything down in. It’s the deal where you prioritize things you need to do with a letter A, B or C. Then you number them A1, A2, and so on.
This concept takes a few minutes of your time each day, preferably early in the morning or at the end of your day to prioritize those items for your next day, week, month, etc. It was astonishing as to how much more I got accomplished each day by doing so. There is something special about writing things down and checking them off.
And the fact of the matter is when I make use of it like I know I should I’m so much more productive. If you don’t write it down (and even when you do) your brain is constantly fighting with you to put it off to another day. Never forget how important the saying is “the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.” You’re going to have one or the other and you get to pick.
Can you recall a time when you wanted to do something important, yet you managed to make enough excuses to leave it for a later date? Putting something off once makes it easier to put it off again, and before you know it, several weeks have passed and you still haven’t done it?
If you are in a Leadership position don’t think for one moment that others don’t notice that you are either a “doer” or a “do notter.” (Yep I made that word up.) When others see you putting things off they tend to follow your lead and over time your organization develops a “do nothing” attitude.
See if this makes sense?
1. Delaying things becomes addictive. Even if your intention is to put it off “just this one time”. The act of putting it off sets a chain reaction that will make it easier to delay this task again. In fact, it becomes more likely that the task will be postponed again.
2. The more we make excuses, the more we buy into them, the easier it is to make additional excuses to support our mind-created beliefs.
3. The more we put things off the bigger the task becomes. It snowballs larger and larger, until the task becomes so big that you will never get it done.
4. Constantly thinking about doing something but avoiding the actual act of doing it takes energy. You end up spending more energy pondering it and making excuses for it than just getting it done.You’ll actually save time and attention energy by just doing it.
5. We can only move on with our lives when we can get past our internal conflict between our story of procrastination and our desire to get it done. You really start to be productive when you can change your attitude.
Isn’t it interesting that once you make a decision and move on that you look back and think “what the heck took so long to make the decision in the first place?” Life is so much better.
So my final point is I have a confession to make. When I started this article I was using the need to write to avoid doing my P90X program. Thus, after writing the first paragraph I stopped writing, did P90X and I feel so much better about myself. I’m off to a great start today…just can’t wait to make some more decisions. Let the fun begin. That’s all I’m gonna say. Tommy Gibbs