You’ve probably heard sayings like, “No time like the present,” or “You need to live in the Now.” I think it’s safe to say that we can all understand and comprehend the meaning behind those sayings, but how many of us actually make a practice of being fully in the present? On the other hand, how many of us are wont to fall into a pattern of putting it off till later, with the most common result of saying to ourselves, “I really should have…” once that “thing” has passed its expiration date?
Even as I write this, while I am so much better at living in the NOW than when I was younger, I still fall prey to the grim reaper of procrastination; not dealing with some very important things until it’s too late, and sometimes with some severe financial penalties.
Take, for instance, the time I signed up for a data service when I was in a fledgling startup. As a member of the technical advisory board, we were expected to pool our resources in coming up with a strategic plan to help guide the company’s technology path. As we were analyzing patterns and trends within the entertainment industry, I signed up for a data service to call into its API’s to run various studies. Unfortunately, the company eventually floundered before it could take off, and I no longer needed the service. I thought to myself at the time that I needed to cancel the service, and I did that at least once a month for a year until it was too late. I got charged for another year when the subscription renewed. It wasn’t cheap.
A friend of mine calls something like that a “learning tax.” And believe me, over the years, I’ve paid a lot of taxes! And I’m not alone in this. I’ve heard countless stories of people losing thousands or even hundreds of thousands putting off various things. It’s not pretty and can be seriously damaging.
In this series of articles, we’ll delve into procrastination and the things that can cause it, and I’ll provide you with tools I’ve learned either personally or through participation in professional seminars. Truth be told, I’m writing this as much as a reminder for myself as it is a way to reach others.