Humans have been putting things off for centuries. The problem with procrastination is that it’s been around since the beginning of time.
Hesiod, a Greek poet who lived in the 8th century B.C., once said:
“Do not put off your work until tomorrow and the day after. For the sluggish worker does not fill his barn, nor the one who puts off his work; industry aids work, but the man who puts off work always wrestles with disaster.”
Humans are awesome at making plans, setting deadlines, and creating goals but terrible at following through on them.
Our most persistent distractions always seem justified to us — so we keep resisting until the last minute or someone demands results from us.
Everybody struggles even experts.
Today, right now, is all we have to prepare for a better future — not tomorrow, next week or next month.
Deciding to be extraordinary today puts you in a better position to live your best life right now.
“If you take too long in deciding what to do with your life, you’ll find you’ve done it, ” says George Bernard Shaw.
If you are waiting for a better time, you are wasting your time
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” ― Abraham Lincoln
The habit of putting important tasks off can deny you of great opportunities to earn more, seal a deal, move on to that career or meet that person who could probably play a significant role in your life.
“Habitual procrastinators will readily testify to all the lost opportunities, missed deadlines, failed relationships and even monetary losses incurred just because of one nasty habit of putting things off until it is often too late,” writes Stephen Richards in his book, The Secret of Getting Started: Strategies to Triumph over Procrastination.
Most people know what is good for them. They know all the good habits that will make them happy, efficient, and live life to the fullest.
They don’t avoid fulfilling life habits because of ignorance of their value, but because they are waiting to feel motivated, inspired or feel better to get started.
The bad news is, you can never feel motivated enough to do anything. If you’re waiting for an external force to satisfy your psychological needs, you’d be waiting for a very long time.
If you rely on motivation to get build a better future, everything will take twice as long. If you’re relying on willpower alone to get things done or become a better version of yourself, you’re doomed to fail.
If you’ve ever said, “I need to read more”, “I want to start exercising”, “ I have to save more money”, or “ I want to upgrade my skills”, you have to take actionable steps (schedule it on your calendar) to improve your chances of getting started. And take small but consistent action every day to get closer to your goal.
To follow through on what you set out to do, James Clear recommends you reduce the friction of starting. Getting started no matter how small is everything.
Starting the work is always the hardest, so make it insanely easy to get started. Once you begin, it’s often less painful to do the work.
“Put all of your effort and energy into building a ritual and make it as easy as possible to get started. Don’t worry about the results until you’ve mastered the art of showing up,” says Clear.
To move in the direction of your priorities, take consistent action, no matter how small daily. You can reach big wins through a series of small wins. Every win is one step toward the end goal.
Procrastination, Victor Kiam says is an opportunity’s assassin. “Procrastination is also a subtle act of corruption — it corrupts valuable time” argues Dr. Amit Abraham.
The time to accomplish that task is now. The time to seal that business deal with a call now. The time to start that passion project is now. The best time to upgrade your career skills is right now.
“You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood. What mood is that? Last-minute panic” says, Bill Watterson.
Life is too short to wait for a great day to invest in better life experiences.
Opportunities come and go, grab what you have now not later and turn things around now not later. Make that career upgrade today if you really mean to do it. Start prioritizing and scheduling what needs done and sorted today.
Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Your life is happening right now. Don’t postpone a better future. Make a good attempt in the direction of your dreams, not a good excuse.
This article originally appeared in Medium.