Procrastinators Have Too Much Patience

Successful people know the difference between procrastination and patience. One simply wastes time and one provides the opportunity to think, reflect, plan, and adjust. 

Patience can be productive, procrastination can’t. If procrastination doesn’t kill your chances for success today then it most certainly will tomorrow or perhaps the next day. But it will get you sooner or later.

Despite popular opinion procrastination is not only a lazy person’s problem. Some very busy people struggle with it too. In fact, one of the very reasons they struggle with it is the fact they are too busy. They attempt to do more than is possible and overload their calendars day in and day out. Their calendars  get so full they have no idea where to start, so they frequently don’t actually get started. 

There has never been a time in history when more “tools” were available to help with the scourge of procrastination. You likely have one of those tools in your pocket… or your hand, this very moment. Yes, the very thing that “helps” us procrastinate, our smartphone, can help us stop. 

There are 100’s of apps available to help us be more productive. I’ve tried many of them but my current app of choice is the native “reminders” app on my iphone. It syncs with my laptop and iPad so I have pings and dings and little red numbers popping up all over. It’s annoying but it also has really helped.

I avoid any app that looks like a simple to-do list. I don’t know a single highly productive person that would go near a to-do list. If you use a to-do list and you think you’re highly productive then  I would tell you you’ll be much more productive when you ditch that liar of a tool. 

I call a to-do list a liar because it fools us into thinking that our “busyness” is the same as productivity. We check something off a to-do list and feel good about getting something done. The question is, should we have done it at all. Maybe and maybe not.

I highly recommend any app that allows you to create a Daily Prioritized Task List. This takes your to-do list to a whole new level. You now do things in order of their importance. That requires thought on how you will use your limited hours in a day. You must decide which of the many things you have “to-do” will provide you the biggest payback and force yourself to follow the prioritization. It may even require you to stop doing some less productive things.

Of course there are a couple of problems with all these apps: I can simply turn off my smartphone (highly unlikely) or just choose to ignore it. (highly likely) I’d bet most people reading this are a lot like me.

That’s why the very best tool to help you with your procrastinating tendencies is a tool that’s been around forever. The “tool” is called a mentor. These days some people call it a coach. 

No one climbs a mountain without a climbing partner and for many people climbing a mountain would be easier than overcoming procrastination. So find a coach or mentor and ask them to help you climb the mountain of procrastination. Share your prioritized daily task list and ask them to hold you accountable to tackle each task in order of it’s importance. 

Virtually every person I’ve ever met could accomplish more than they thought they could and virtually every person I’ve met needed someone to help them do it. The right mentor will remind you of the vast difference between procrastination and patience and never allow you to substitute busy for productive. 

Apps are great but they still can’t replace interaction with a human that has the capacity to care enough about you to truly hold you accountable. I hope they never will.

What Won’t You Do To Succeed?


Years ago, while attending a Dale Carnegie convention I was watching a speaker explain the complexities of playing the harp, while playing the harp. He gave a complete talk on discipline and work ethic while playing classical music on the harp! It was and still is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.

I commented to a colleague sitting next to me that “I would give anything to be able to play a musical instrument.” He immediately replied that since I couldn’t currently play a musical instrument it was apparent that in fact, I actually wouldn’t give anything at all.

I disputed his viewpoint by saying that I knew what I wanted, not him. He calmly replied that if I would in fact “give anything” to play a musical instrument then I would be able to play the musical instrument of my choice.

I said I saw his point but said that I was just too busy to be able to commit to lessons, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to learn, I just didn’t have the time to learn.

It was then that he said the most amazing thing, he said “then actually it’s not that you would give anything to be able to play a musical instrument, it’s really that you won’t give anything up to be able to play a musical instrument.”

He went on to say that it was really a question of priorities. He said that if learning a musical instrument was truly a priority then I would stop doing something that was a lower priority so I could start doing something that was a higher priority.

I don’t really remember much of what the speaker said, I don’t recall the songs he played on his harp. But I do recall the lesson I took from my colleague seated next to me: What you don’t do will have as much impact on your success as what you do.

When was the last time you did a daily activity check to see what you could eliminate from your busy day? When was the last time you stopped to ask yourself is what I’m about to do going to keep me busy or make me productive?

Stop doing the low productivity things that we all do at times. Stop doing the urgent “stuff” that prevents you from doing the truly important things.

There is no question about whether you have the time to succeed, you do. You’ll just have to stop doing something so you can do something else. That means the real question is: What won’t you do to succeed?