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Busting a Performance-Killing Myth: “I’ll Do It Later”

“I’ll do that later.”

No, you won’t.


After all, how many times have you said “I’ll do ___ later”, only to not do it at all?

Whether you kept putting it off, forgot or otherwise- what matters is that it didn’t get done. Or perhaps you did it, but at the very last minute, and stressed yourself out– or you did it late, also therefore stressing others and creating a whole mess of unworkability.

See, that’s what “later” leads to- and I won’t get into dealing with so-called procrastination here; I’ve no need to provide a label with which people can explain things but still not impact anything. Consider that you’re not “procrastinating”- you’re simply not taking the necessary action.

The fact of the matter is, once you’re clear on what there is to do, you either do it or you don’t.

If you’re committed to a result and you don’t know what there is to do to accomplish it, then what there is to do is to find out/figure out/ choose what to do. Then do that.

If there’s an action required for a result that you’ve committed to, and you’re not doing it (and therefore are doing something else- we’re always doing something), then something else is just more important to you than that result being produced.

That’s it.

For example are you avoiding making cold-calls, and explaining that to yourself and others by saying that your fear is in the way? Or perhaps various things just keep popping up, leaving you no time to get to them? Or at least not “the right time”?

If not sales calls, perhaps for you it’s attending networking events, or monitoring and managing the finances, exercising, having a certain conversation with a teammate, etc. It’s anything that you’ve been avoiding, resisting and putting off until “later”.

It’s amazing how something always pops up, how something else always seems to be more important or urgent, and how easy it is to explain and justify not doing it– even though it is actually, obviously and absolutely crucial to the results you say you’re committed to.

Consider the possibility that the only thing in the way of getting it done is you not doing it.

By the way, when have you ever actually done anything “later”?

You’re reading this on a computer or mobile device, right?

Do me a favor: pull up your calendar and find “Later” for me. I’ll give you a minute.

Didn’t find it, did you?

I’m being a bit absurd here to demonstrate a point: there is no “later” in reality, in life as we actually live it.

(notice you also won’t find “someday” or even “soon” either)

Whenever you’re doing something, you’re doing it at some specific time for some duration of time. And it’s always “now”. No “later”.

Instead of saying (to someone else or yourself) that you’ll do (whatever it is) later, try actually saying when you will do it. OR, confront the fact that you aren’t actually committed to it– and say that.

Just clarifying that you’re actually not going to do something, or at least that it’s not something you’ll commit to or put attention on, can be a massive relief and will let everyone involved know exactly what to expect and where the situation stands.

So, my assertion is: “Later” is a lie, the speaking of which very often results in, with ourselves and others, deception, lower performance, disappointment and diminished trust.

Recommended practice: Pay attention to what you say and think, and eliminate “I’ll do ___ later” from your language. In its place, either (1) take that action immediately, (2) commit to a real, specific time that you will do it (and then actually do it), or (3) acknowledge that you’re not actually going to do it, and act/speak accordingly. The opportunity here is to use each time you catch it as a new opening, a tremendous opportunity, to clarify something, tell the truth and create the foundation for extraordinary performance and quality of life.

Get real. Talk straight. The truth will set you free.

Let us know how it goes and how we can support you.

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