Now Seems About Right

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?

©Lori Sokoluk, Paint Draw 6. Mixed media on paper, 18 x 24 inches. Used with permission.
©Lori Sokoluk, Paint Draw 6. Mixed media on paper, 18 x 24 inches. Used with permission.

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.

©Susan Purney Mark, Burning in the Night. Quilt, 24 x 24 inches. Used with permission.]
©Susan Purney Mark, Burning in the Night. Quilt, 24 x 24 inches. Used with permission.]

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.

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7 thoughts on “Now Seems About Right”

  1. Yes! I need to do this. DO IT. I have actually been unsubscribing to “Grow your business” emails and stopped reading articles (except Alyson!) because I need to put into action everything I “know”.

  2. This is so true! I put off submitting my work to a lot of shops I thought would be interested because I was too scared of rejection. Turns out, if I’d just emailed them a month or two ago, they would gladly have ordered from me, but now it’s too late in the season and they won’t be ready to buy until next summer.

    There’s so much power in taking action!

  3. Ooh, yes – putting off sending emails that involve me asking for something like a book to review…I even made a list called ‘ask tasks’ but clearly I would have been better just asking than making the list!

  4. Wonderful Alyson,

    I feel like I’ve been doing many things “now”, but there are
    always more brave steps I can take. Thanks for inspiring me.


  5. A great and very real challenge for many of us. Sometimes I give to quick a deadline to clients when Im feeling real ambitious. Then I fall short of the deadline, So I try to never give a quick deadline always give myself a few days even if I will have it to them in hours. This way I dont look as though Im not following through on what I say I will do.

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