Last Second Sam

There are people who claim to believe that procrastination helps them be more successful. To them I would say that once you become comfortable misleading yourself you can, and most likely will, mislead anyone. 


Procrastination will kill your opportunity for success. Maybe not today and maybe not tomorrow but eventually it most definitely will. That much is certain!


People who believe procrastination helps them because they think better under pressure are not being honest with themselves. People who believe they are more productive when working under stress are fooling themselves. 


Approaching deadlines do not make people smarter, calmer, more productive or more logical. They make everything more challenging.


The real reason many people procrastinate is that they see low value in the task. It’s either not fun enough or they see no reward for doing it. Some people procrastinate because they do not have confidence in their ability to complete the task. Fear of failure is a driving force behind many a procrastinator’s behavior. 


For some people procrastination is part of their personality. They are just more impulsive than other people. These are the people I call last second Sam or last second Sally depending on…well you know what it depends on.


One of the most effective tools for overcoming the tendency to procrastinate is a Prioritized Daily Task List. A prioritized task list is a to-do list on steroids. You list all the things you need to accomplish on a given day but you list them in order of importance. You DO NOT do the second most important thing until the most important thing is accomplished. 


Don’t worry about working on one thing all day if it’s truly the most important or most productive thing you could do that day. You’ll still be better offer than if you spent the day doing a bunch of unimportant or unproductive things. 


Many procrastinators put off doing things that are quick and easy to do. They don’t see a lot of fun or reward in doing them so they just put it off. Answering an email is a good example. A quick answer might take only a minute but they still open and read the email several times before answering it. 


So here’s a good rule of thumb to help stop at least some procrastinating. If a task takes a minute or less to do then do it immediately. No delay, no hesitation, and NO PROCRASTINATING! You will be amazed at how many things you do in a day can be completed in under a minute. 


Don’t kid yourself into thinking being a last second Sam or Sally has one ounce of benefit. You will not find even one very successful person who will tell you their success is due to putting off until tomorrow what should have been done today. 

And you’re highly unlikely to be the first.

2 thoughts on “Last Second Sam

  1. Two thoughts: (1) Yes, if one minute or less, do it immediately; it will free up your you thinking, getting it off your to-do list AND it might provide some positive motivation. (2) We all have multiple 3-5 minute periods in our day between or during our various efforts. The first use probably should be social – quick call maybe; but another great use is to rake this opportunity to investigate the things on the to-do list in terms of what’s probably needed and roughly how long it might take – enabling resources to be arranged and time periods for efforts to be scheduled.

    1. Thanks for your comments. You’re almost on to something. Except….I wouldn’t use a to-do list, they are usually counterproductive because people won’t use them the way you suggest. Instead I’d use a daily prioritized task list. I’d prioritize that list in the first 30 minutes of my day. (I do it from 5-5:30am) I’d also suggest NOT having multiple 3-5 minute between tasks. Maybe a few breaks during the day but I can tell you that for most people those 3-5 periods always turn out to be much longer. No one can reach their potential not productively using that much tome.

Leave a Reply