Procrastination: the curse of leadership

By | March 2, 2019

[March 2, 2019]  One day upon discovering a cache of 1st Grade papers my mom had saved, I looked upon several marked papers with poor grades.  My wife, who I had been telling that I never got good grades in school, saw them and remarked how amazed she was at my ‘terrible performance.’  The reason was that procrastination was simply my way of getting along in life.

That’s right, I procrastinated about anything that had to do with school; getting out of bed in the morning to get there on time, studying (really bad), doing assigned projects, and asking the teacher questions.  My grades reflected my bad habit of putting things off as far into the future my mind could imagine.  And I could imagine things not getting done because I didn’t want to do them.

There are several persistent stereotypes about American students.  The most common is that they are lazy and like to sleep too much.  But this is not so much a problem as it is a long-term habit that will eventually have profound implications later in their lives.  Psychologists call this chronic procrastination.

“Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.” – Unknown

Bad habits are tough to break.  Getting rid of bad leader habits is even harder because the first step is being able to “see” that something you’re doing is a problem.1  If a leader has the discipline to walk a path to leave their procrastination habits behind, there are a wealth of ways to do so.  I wrote about it here (see link).  And, I carried my 1st Grade procrastination habits with me for many years and suffered for it.

I still have some of my 1st Grade habits.  I admit it.  The difficulties I overcame would have been easier if I’d changed my ways early in life.  Things would have been better if someone had sat me down and knocked some sense into my head.  Like so many young folks, that didn’t happen. 

There is a good lesson here for leaders.  Leadership means being responsible for those in your care and for yourself.  Recognize the signs of procrastination and be laser-focused on helping people overcome it.

 

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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

22 thoughts on “Procrastination: the curse of leadership

  1. Lynn Pitts

    “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” from the Bible, Proverbs 14:23

    Reply
  2. Otto Z. Zuckermann

    Hello. I’m new to this leadership website and have found it to be informative as well as entertaining.
    The subject today about procrastination couldn’t have been more salient as I too was one of those adults who was a procrastinator. I went to a psychologist for help and, yes, he did help some. But ultimately it was up to me to make things happen and now I do things in life that I never thought possible. The power of the individual will is great.

    Reply
    1. Dennis Mathes

      Welcome to our forum. Good to have you with us! 🙂

      Reply
    2. Bill Sanders, Jr.

      Yes, welcome Otto. Also, make recommendations. Gen. Satterfield reads these comments and will often incorporate them into future articles.

      Reply
  3. Army Captain

    An obvious favorite quote for me:
    “Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.”
    by Napoleon Bonaparte

    Reply
    1. Lynn Pitts

      Good is being destroyed by evil as we sit around and eat our cake.

      Reply
    2. Yusaf from Texas

      Thanks Max. You can always be relied upon for a spot-on comment. The disease being spread by SJWs is a terrible blight on our society. Their destination is a tragedy. Protect yourself from them.

      Reply
  4. Gil Johnson

    I too found that bad habits are not just hard to break but they too come with heartache as well. As a kid, I was a big procrastinator. My parents never really sat me down to explain the problem (there were 6 kids) and maybe they were too busy. I suffered greatly for it and today the attractiveness of procrastination tugs at my psyche.

    Reply
  5. Eric Coda

    Another quote from one of the most famous men in history. ““You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” – Abraham Lincoln

    Reply
  6. Willie Shrumburger

    I don’t know where you found that quote about “Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried,” but it is an appropriate and on-target one. Too many people whine about the lack of opportunity when I found it boundless. You must have an eye for it. And, yes, procrastination is what kills our ability to see it.

    Reply
    1. Jerome Smith

      Yes, I agree wholeheartedly. Procrastination kills opportunity. Cowardice is the big brother to procrastination so let’s not forget that it takes great will power to overcome obstacles of humanity.

      Reply
  7. Anita

    Sometimes I wonder whether it is ‘procrastination’ or outright ‘stupidity’ that is the real bane of leadership.

    Reply
    1. Fred Weber

      Smacked that one good. I laughed heartily at your comment because it was so well said in so few words.

      Reply
    2. Roger Yellowmule

      Great comment. I too haven’t decided between the two.

      Reply
    3. Drew Dill

      We all sorely complain of the shortness of time, and yet have much more than we know what to do with. Our lives are either spent in doing nothing at all, or in doing nothing to the purpose, or in doing nothing that we ought to do. We are always complaining that our days are few, and acting as though there would be no end of them

      Reply

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