“Procrastination is the Thief of Time”, goes the well-known saying. When one procrastinates, puts off doing what should be done, one ends up spending more time than if one had done it right away.
However, often one loses much more than time through procrastination. Here are some of the costs of delay:
•Inefficiency: that mounting pile of papers that slows one down as one rummages for the document one needs
•Anxiety: one worries about what one might have forgotten, lying buried under the mess
•Loss of reputation through delayed response to queries, or missing deadlines
•Quality of work which suffers when, having procrastinated, one rushes through a project, doing it badly
•Money: from late charges on bills, to lost opportunities for investment.
Leaders find that when procrastinating about getting involved in a problem, others may fill the vacuum and take over. While at times that may be a good thing, usually one regrets not having nipped a problem in the bud before too much damage was done.
We all have stories of the problems we have created when we have allowed the habit of procrastination to prevent us from efficiently dealing with what we have to do. Leaders usually do their employees and their organizations a favour when they are intolerant of missed deadlines. And educators help their students by insisting that they develop the habit of timeliness.