Every one of us have some wishes to accomplish, some responsibilities to take care of, some activities in our daily chorus, some special interests, some dreams to fulfill, some aim to our lives. With many action items in our schedule it becomes very difficult to give required time to everything and all this needs a great time management skill.
It often happens that we aren’t able to accomplish all that we wish to by the end of the day. Hence we try to make sure that at least all the high priority tasks are done & then we push the low priority task to the next day. Over the period of time we form a habit of customizing the to-do list at our own convenience. And we have our reasons for the same. Well, at least let’s pick the right word, those aren’t reasons, those are “Excuses”. However we override the fact that tomorrow will be a fresh new day with its own to-do list where every task will have its priority and we’ll have to work accordingly.
With a complete understanding of our responsibilities and wishes we work on building up the best picture of our lives in our mind. We think about our career, family, social life, financial security and many more things, for which we research, analyze, plan, and then decide the course of action needed to accomplish the task. If we rectify in our past, many a times it has happened that we were ready with the route and we took no action for it. I am not sure if this has happened to you however it has many times happened to me.
But why does this happen?
Let’s look at few possible things that affect our behavior of putting our thoughts into action-
Waiting for the right time
One important cause of not taking an action is; we wait for the right time to arrive. Let’s say for example you are asked to give a presentation on some topic to all your team members in next week. You started your preparation for it and in two days you are ready to present. However can you present it before the scheduled day and time? Obviously NO. Hence all you need to do here is WAIT for the right time.
Let’s not neglect the fact that life is very uncertain and unpredictable. This is because you cannot control the action-reaction of anyone except that of your own especially when there are many external entities involved. This uncertainty can change everything in just no time and procrastinating is then not by choice, it’s by the circumstances.
In the stage of deciding
Every task that you would want to do definitely deserves some time to be thought about. Let’s take an example that you wish to save your money in a bank. For this you would need time to find out the best plan and time to invest. This thinking time cannot be definite because every task has different surrounding elements and different impact on your life. Now if this task is your priority, you will find time to research about it so that you are quickly ready with a decision. But if it not, your plan of saving money in a bank, can be found at the same place even after few months or years too.
So the baseline here is, the priority of your task is the deciding factor for the time you would need to come up with a decision.
Do not wake up early
Believe it or not; this is one major reason for taking no action. A person, who sleeps till late in the morning, starts his day when rest of the world has already finished up with many things of their to-do list. Such a person is then forced to focus on only doing what’s Urgent at the given moment of time. However there are many things which are important but not urgent. Say for example, your agenda for the day includes attending few meetings at work (important & urgent) and calling up your Parents (important & not urgent). It might happen that in office, you get no time to call your family and when you reach home, you might get too tired to do anything. When this happens, you carry forward your task in your next day’s agenda and this continues till the task breaks down to become an urgent task. Instead if you wake up early, you can start your day with all your important things so that later when you have unexpected urgent things on your head to be completed, your to-do list is ready to adapt to it and no important task is hampered.
While discussing about the Urgent-Important tasks, I can’t miss on adding the Time Management Matrix(diagram below)designed by Stephen R. Covey in his book- “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. He says, effective people stay out of quadrant 3 and 4 because urgent or not, they aren’t important. The Quadrant 2 is the heart of effective personal management because it deals with all those things we know we need to do, but somehow seldom get around to doing, because they aren’t urgent.
This is the biggest hurdle that makes us postpone our action. So what is this Fear? Fear is a self-assumption for something that’s never tried. Every one of us is scared of trying few things wherein we doubt our ability of performance. This is because our society, friends, media convey that “You can’t do this” and we start believing them.
According to me, the best way to deal with this fear is- know the worst case and be ready for it because if you are ready to accept the worst case, you are fine with every possible outcome. Let me explain this by my personal experience- In December 2013, We (Me and my Husband) went for a trip to Florida and visited Key West for water sports- Snorkeling. The idea seemed good but equally scary because I have a fear of deep water and don’t know how to swim. Even though swimming is not a prerequisite for snorkeling, it took me a lot of time to convince myself. Then I thought about the worst case which could be- I might drown in the water & never come back in my boat. After a lot of discussion within myself, my mind was ready to accept this case and I jumped in the Gulf of Mexico. I thoroughly enjoyed my time for the fact of having tried something different and difficult. This does not conclude that I no longer fear deep water however now at least I know, it’s not something that is IMPOSSIBLE for me 🙂
If my mind would have not been ready to accept the worst case, the baseline would still have been the same- I can never try something like this.
Habit of Procrastinating
Procrastination is a commitment that you give to yourself of working on a task some time later. People who have this habit might get the feeling of being at the same place in their minds all the time. This is because, you are aware of your wish, you have the will to work for it; you keep on thinking about it however you never let yourself act at the right time. Hence the queue of your plans never has room to accommodate new tasks. If you understand it clearly, the only person who gets affected by this habit is YOU. You procrastinate making calls to your family, your relations are affected. You procrastinate in replying to your official emails, your work or your image at work place is affected. You procrastinate going to the Gym, your health is affected. You procrastinate in paying bills, your expenses are affected. These were just few examples of how this habit can affects us; I am sure there would be many such examples.
Indian Poet-Saint Kabir has very rightly said – “Kal Kare So Aaj Kar, Aaj Kare So Ab, Pal Mein Pralaya Hoyegi, Bahuri Karoge Kab” which means “Tomorrow’s work do today, today’s work now if the moment is lost, the work be done how”. This quote clearly describes the importance of doing things on the right time.
Now let’s look at how much convincing the excuses are-
Whenever we find ourselves in a situation of not taking an action for something, very easily we get an excuse to escape. For example we have often heard people saying – “I am not able to find time” OR “I am too busy”. However it all boils down to your priorities. If your task is important to you, you yourself will work around things to find & manage time and if not, you will find an excuse.
Can you justify that you didn’t sleep since few days because your professional commitments keep you super busy? Do you think this reason is convincing enough? Or can we really do this? The answer is definitely NO. Hence remember whenever you observe yourself delaying to act, introspect within and see that you really have a valid reason for it.
With only thoughts and no action; you are missing a chance of feeling the satisfaction to have fulfilled your wish. With only thoughts and no action; you aren’t using yourself to the maximum potential and might feel that you are running behind time. With only thoughts and no action; your mind is always preoccupied with the same set of thoughts which gives you lesser avenues to learn and explore different things.
With this blog I would like to confess that even I procrastinate. In fact I have already delayed writing this blog by few months. Hence all the things mentioned above apply to me equally. I have rectified this shortcoming in me and have started working on it because I know this small change will have a big impact on my life.
Thank you for reading the blog.Wish you success with “Putting your thoughts into action” 🙂