Here’s a question that my clients know is coming: By when?
By when will you send that email?
By when will you make that call?
By when will you send your application?
When I ask clients for a deadline on a task – like sending an email or making a phone call – they are most likely to say, “I’ll do that by the end of next week.”
Fair enough. They’re allowed to set their own deadlines, and it’s my job to push them a little because I know they are capable of more.
My response, when appropriate, is: “Why don’t you do it as soon as we get off of this call? Now seems like the right time to take care of it.”
Gulp. I can “hear” the hesitation in the brief moment of silence.
Hmmm. It seemed like such a good idea until I suggested immediate action.
Here’s the thing: There is usually no logical reason to wait, and waiting almost always has consequences. [Tweet this]
The biggest downside to waiting is that it postpones the results you're seeking.
Waiting to take action rarely yields a better outcome. So, instead of putting things off, wouldn’t it be better to do the hard thing right now, so that you can either benefit from the results or at least sleep better at night?
Another problem with procrastination is that the tasks that stay on your to-do list or in your head for too long can be poisonous. They fester.
Before you know it, that little email you were going to send becomes an oversized, hyped-up monster (in your head) with career-ending repercussions. That makes you want to put it off even longer.
Are you really going to cede that much power to any decision? Are you going to let the monster win?
What Are You Waiting For?
What have you been postponing?
Maybe it’s a difficult conversation with your gallerist or about a commission.
Or perhaps it’s a boundary you need to set with a friend or spouse.
By when will you do it?
These are easy to identify, and it’s harder to fess up to the action you could be taking toward a more promising career and business.
Yes, it was good that you read that business book or enrolled in that program, but what have you done with the information you gathered? You know that reading and learning is different from DO-ing, yes?
By when will you put your knowledge to work?
You aren’t doing yourself any favors by procrastinating. There’s no better time than NOW to begin.