“You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.” Benjamin Franklin
I chose this quote from the ‘father’ of time management to reflect how much I recognise that procrastination can be an obstacle to my success, although I don’t do it as much as I think I do. I put procrastination off whenever I can.
I was recently at an event run by John Grant, the founder of the YB12 – Your Best Year Ever brand, the brand of which I am proud to be a part (see HERE) and as he was speaking I made the following note on my course workbook:
“I don’t have time to wait to be the best I can possibly be.”
I am 53, with a birthday next month. Optimistically, that’s only 4 years older than Stephen Covey was when he published The Seven Habits. Realistically, I am 35 years older than Jenson Button was when he entered F1, so that’s a dream that isn’t going to happen.
Back to my point. We all have futures, most of us plan for them. Some have detailed plans, others have an ‘idea’ of where they want to go and will get there. Some have no idea. (Some of those wear sports clothes but never break into a sweat unless running from the Law.)
For so many, me included, the recognition that we have a future, and accidents and illness aside a fairly lengthy one, means that we also subconsciously perceive that we can put things off ‘just a bit’, as if we’ll still have the same amount of time left to complete that action as we had when we put it off! A day here and there doesn’t matter, after all. Or does it?
In our culture, a day frequently becomes a week – something we put off on Monday was “better done on a Monday so I’ll do it next Monday.” A diet starts on the first day of the month, so that’ll be next month.” Or a birthday. Or “It’s November the 1st today. Year’s almost over, and Christmas is around the corner, lots of planning to be done, etc. etc. so I’ll set some New Year’s Resolutions and start on Jan 1st.” Except we also know that Jan 1st means coping with the feelings, chocolates and booze left over from the night before and the 1st becomes the 2nd, and in no time at all – “Where has the year GONE?”
The likes of Bill Gates†, Steve Jobs, Ghandi, Franklin, Lincoln, Churchill and so on (pick your own) didn’t procrastinate. They took action. They took action and achieved more than most of us ever will, in some cases with no computers, no Internet, and no electric light . They maximised their use of time through planning and by NOT putting things off.
We all have a future. For some it will be longer than for others, so there’s no equality there.
But we all have NOW.
Use it better. ‘Cos it just passed you by at infinity times the speed of light. Another one went while you read that. And that. Ad infinitum.
† I like it when personal development writers use Gates and Jobs as examples of people who succeeded without a degree. Pause. They were at Ivy League colleges. Clue: not cheap places, having money and connections helps, and they had to have passed seriously hard exams and processes to get in. The degree was a given, if they’d stayed.
*If you want to stop procrastinating, and live reasonably close to South Wales, consider this as a valuable opportunity to learn how to stop procrastinating and get what you want in 2016.