That’s on My Plate to do …

By | June 30, 2019

[June 30, 2019] A seasoned Vietnam Veteran sergeant advised me long ago to be wary of people who tell you this; That’s on my plate to do. It is just another way to put off work to another time.  Sergeant First Class Jack McKinsey took no gruff of anyone. That’s why I liked him and heeded his advice.

Over the years, I’ve heard this saying from people of all ages, experience, and social status. The only folks I don’t hear it from are those who are highly motivated; those with plenty of get-up-and-go and are too busy getting things done.  They reject, outright, making up excuses why they aren’t getting something done.

My first platoon sergeant, McKinsey, was always on the go and created a wake of excellence behind him. It was a great pleasure to serve with him; the type of person you could go to war with and not have to worry about protecting your back. His replacement was the kind of person you had to drag to work and continually provide guidance and feedback. Anytime I asked about the status of a project; I would hear McKinsey’s replacement say, “It’s on my plate to do.”

Of course, those like this man never seem to get around to getting their job done. Is it a failure to plan?  Or, is it from being lazy?  Whatever the excuse, those who adopt this attitude (and that is what it is, an attitude) never seem to have the motivation to change. I don’t know why; this is just my long-standing observation.

You would hope that if you are going to be given excuses why some task is not getting done, then at least add a little comic relief. My cousin Mickey told me that his boss used to procrastinate and then dump extra work in his lap on a Friday afternoon. Mickey would do the work, but his boss would just smile and said that Yusuf (his boss) liked to joke at the same time. I guess that made it easier to swallow.

Sergeant First Class McKinsey was the kind of man you could not ignore. That was a good thing for me; I was his platoon leader. With a military man like him around, laziness simply did not exist. I never made the mistake of saying that’s on my plate to do … ever.

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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.

17 thoughts on “That’s on My Plate to do …

  1. Casie Wildenthaler

    Good work , very interesting post, have a wonderful day.

  2. Mr. T.J. Asper

    Right, this is just another bad habit that must be overcome if you want to have the good life. I see it every day with my students. They always have an excuse for not getting their homework done (the school board is considering getting rid of homework for this reason). Let’s not encourage bad habits.

    1. Forrest Gump

      Thanks Mr. TJ. I think you are spot-on in your observation. The scary part is that the leaders of the school systems (school boards) are not just complicit, they actively encourage the lack of responsibility students show by not doing the very things they are in school for. As I always say, “stupid is as stupid does.”

      1. Doug Smith

        Watch it, Forrest. You’re starting to make too much sense.

  3. Kenny Foster

    The phrase “that’s on my plate to do …” is more of a problem than one might think. As leaders, we have an obligation to see thru the masquerade and help that person change for the better.

    1. Dennis Mathes

      Kenny, you are correct. We leaders are on the edge of getting things done. That is a mindset in complete contradiction to those who would make excuses to put things off.

  4. Greg Heyman

    We can fight procrastination. I think this is more of a Western problem. We baby people who are failures in the misapplied idea that it really isn’t their fault.

  5. Max Foster

    Some people don’t just procrastinate occasionally; it’s a major part of their lifestyle. They pay their bills late, don’t start work on big projects until the night before the deadline, delay holiday shopping until Christmas Eve, and even file their income tax returns late.

    1. Janna Faulkner

      Yes! And, unfortunately, this procrastination can have a serious impact on a number of life areas, including a person’s mental health.

      1. Bryan Lee

        I never knew that. Thanks Janna. We all find ourselves at one time or another procrastinating.

  6. Wesley Brown

    Good article. Thank you, Gen. Satterfield.

  7. José Luis Rodriguez

    Procrastinators typically contend that they perform better under pressure, but research shows that is not the case; more often than not that’s their way of justifying putting things off. Procrastination also involves some degree of self-deception; they are at some level aware of the truth of their actions.

    1. Bill Sanders, Jr.

      Great point, Jose. I too have seen this occur with self-deception. I had an aunt that was the worst. I don’t see how she could even stay married. Her husband was a workaholic. I think it was because he had to make up for what she didn’t do.

  8. Eric Coda

    Ha Ha … I’ve heard this too. Yes, and I’ve heard it too many times. It is indeed just a phrase to put someone off while the procrastinator is happy.

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