Just Get Started

April 12, 2021

I have to share something personal with you. I’ve been procrastinating in sitting down and writing this blog all day. In fact, I’ve been in a blasé mood since I got up this morning. Part of the reason is that it’s raining out, and I tend to be a ‘sunshine’ person. I had planned to go to the driving range and hit a bucket of golf balls today, but that’s not happening now.

I went into my office and started doing some humdrum things-deleting emails, reading the NY Times, and finding anything to do rather than the things I need to do. I’m just not motivated to write the blog.

I went downstairs to the gym, thinking some exercise would help change my mood, but I found a ceiling leak by the outside door, and now I have another problem to deal with. You would be right if you guessed that I didn’t work out.

The Old Standby

It’s a rainy day, I’m feeling down, I’ve got a ton of stuff I need to do, and now I have a new house problem to deal with. What does a hard-driving guy focused on helping people and organizations build a culture of excellence do? Flop down in the easy chair and turn on the TV. You can always count on the boob tube to be a good distraction. And the Masters golf tournament is on! I’m not a great golfer, but I do like to see the game played well, and that’s all the excuse I need to justify my procrastination.

But the universe intervenes with a rain delay at the Masters. It’s my cue to get up and get going. I remember that I wrote about procrastination in my new book, The Flight To Excellence: Soaring To New Heights in Business and Life. Yes, I wrote it, but I decided it would be helpful to read the advice that I have been giving others.

Here is the excerpt from the book:

Some (if not most) people find it difficult to take action because it seems that it’s human nature to procrastinate. It’s a challenge that we will all face at one time or another. Somehow, we can invariably find innumerable reasons to do just about any type of mundane activity rather than attending to the important things we need to do to move ahead. Procrastination is the drag that keeps us from flying high in our lives.

Why We Stall Out

Why then do we procrastinate? The science on the subject gives us a number of reasons, and, as you might imagine, different people procrastinate for different reasons. Let’s look at some of the more common reasons to see if any of them apply to you. Then I’ll offer some suggestions that may help you recover from your particular stalled approach and get you back on course and flying toward your goals.

Stall # 1: Lack of Motivation

Lack of motivation is the most common reason people give for their tendency to procrastinate. Even getting motivated to do things that are obviously of personal benefit, like hitting the gym, can be a challenge—much less attending to things like cleaning the house or mowing the lawn. And sometimes, we just don’t feel like doing anything; dare I say, we just feel lazy?

The Lack of Motivation Stall Recovery

The only antidote to a lack of motivation is just to get started on whatever the project is. Just that one small step that begins the task will often give you the motivation that was missing before. So, your challenge is not to develop the motivation beforehand to complete the job. It is to start the task, and the motivation will usually quickly follow.

So, I took my own advice, and now the blog is done. I’m going to go back downstairs to the gym, get that workout in, and consider this a positive day.

A Quote To Consider!

“You don’t have to be great to get started, but you have got to get started to be great.”

--Les Brown