Strive to be proactive in everything you do.

“Procrastination is like a disease. It develops slowly, often over a long period of time.”
It can be like an anchor around your neck. We have to learn how to deal with it if we are to become effective at whatever we choose to do. Procrastination is the breeding ground for incompetence. If we don’t learn to conquer it, we will not maximize our effectiveness and become everything we can be. Experts have written that only 20% of employees reach the level of effectiveness based on individual potential. I believe that procrastination contributes to that negative statistic. Procrastination can drain your energy, affect your attitude and suppress your creativity.

Five Common Excuses

These five common excuses are crutches. They are easy to use - don’t use them! Print these out and post them within eyesight to remind you of what they are: EXCUSES.

1. There’s never enough time.  
I don’t buy it. You need to make time to establish priorities that lead to your success.

2. There are always so many distractions. Everything is urgent.  
Learn to prioritize based on importance. Address things that are in alignment with your objectives.

3. I get tired of beating my head against the wall.  
Don’t lose your motivation. Be persistent - don’t give up. Success may be right around the corner.

4. What will my boss think? What will people say?  
Learn to ask for forgiveness instead of permission. If you have thought things through, done adequate research, go for it.

5. Lack of confidence. It’s better to do nothing than to make a mistake.  
Believe in yourself. It isn’t a crime to make a mistake. “Good judgment is based on experience and experience is based on bad judgment.” (S. Kauffman) A mistake is one of the greatest learning tools known to man.

The key to success for anything you attempt is your ability to commit yourself with a passion. A commitment with a passion suggests you are someone who would prefer to take action and make things happen rather than sit around and worry about what could happen. Without commitment you become someone who spends as much time avoiding the issue as others who just get it done. Procrastination is a waste of time - and time is something you never get back once you spend it.


Leadership is often measured by your ability to take action. Yes, sometimes that means shooting from the hip by taking a “calculated” risk. It becomes a function of how fast you can analyze a situation, take action and make things happen. The more proactive you are, the more productive you will become. This earns trust and respect. There is no greater reward than accomplishing a difficult task. However, you can’t complete a project if it never gets started. Effective leadership deals with procrastination by employing the following tactics:

  • Create self-imposed deadlines to keep you focused. Don’t create undue pressure, but do make timeline commitments. Create milestone markers to judge your progress. These can be termed mini-goals leading to your ultimate goal. 

  • Don’t be a perfectionist. Unless you are a brain surgeon, don’t let perfection or analysis paralyze you into inaction. Sometimes good is good enough. The slogan, “Good is the enemy of great” does not apply when dealing with procrastination. Remember, once you decide on your initial actions you can always go back and adjust or react to circumstance. Remain flexible.  

  • Don’t prioritize based on how difficult a problem is and leave it for last. Prioritize based on impact on your goals and importance. We face both easy and hard issues every day. Generally, it is better to get the tough ones out of the way first. Also, if you are in a leadership position, learn the art of empowerment and delegation. When confronted with a distressing problem or task, complete it immediately instead of wasting time avoiding it. This relieves your concerns, frees up your attention and allows you to move on to more productive activities. Taking on the easy tasks first allows us the opportunity to “lollygag” in our actions to avoid the more difficult tasks.

    Procrastination can become an immobilizer. Don’t allow yourself to become susceptible to procrastination. Build up your defenses by striving to be proactive in everything you do. Taking action is always the best way to conquer procrastination. Doing nothing should never be an option.