How to Stop Procrastinating and Put First Things First

Photo by Hannah Reinhardt on Unsplash

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” -Chinese Proverb

Most people are hesitant in their actions.

Indecisive about their choices and as a result, just let opportunities pass them by.

Think for a moment about where you could be if you’d started what you’ve been putting off last week?

What about if you’d started it last month, last year or even 10 years ago?

There will always be a consequence for pursuing one thing over another; no choice is free.

Said Benjamin P. Hardy,

“When you say yes to anything, you say no to almost everything else. Every choice has embedded opportunity cost. Every choice is very costly. Saying yes isn’t free.”

Thus, the words of Stephen R. Covey couldn’t be more necessary, “Put first things first.”

If you do not put first things first in your life, things will fall apart. You’ll drift off in all sorts of directions and find yourself in some place you do not want to be.

Conversely, to stay a course, you need to get clear about what you want and say “NO” to almost everything else.

This article is about doing just that.

Here we go.

What is Important?

“Make sure every day you do what matters most. When you know what matters most, everything makes sense. When you don’t know what matters most, anything makes sense.” -Gary Keller

If you only had 6 months left to live, how would you live?

What would your priorities be?

How much time would you justify on low-level activities?

What would your days look like?

These are the things that are truly important. And the question is, how you can you live in that reality, today?

How can you live with a deathbed mentality and put first things first?

For one, it would require tight deadlines and a worthy goal.

As Leonard Bernstein has said,

“To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.”

Secondly, it would require making tough choices and discerning yourself from anything that doesn’t align with the person you want to become.

The remainder of this article will break it down.

Start Today — There is Only Now

“There is only now. When you think you have 24 hours in the day, you invite yourself to procrastinate. If you find the 2-hour block during which you can do 3x the work, you can’t waste a moment.” -David Kadavy

How you act in the past determines how you act in the present. And how you act in the present determines how you act to future.

So, to delay and procrastinate begets doubt and regret. While action creates confidence and momentum.

One will keep stuck while the other pulls you forward. Thus, it’s important to act now.

You should always make immediate progress on what’s important or momentum will be working against you.

Said Tony Robbins,

“You should never leave the site of a goal or an idea without figuring some way to apply it immediately. That gives you power. That’s how you build momentum.”

Don’t delay anything till tomorrow that you wouldn’t happily leave undone.

How to Make Definitive Decisions

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Most people make decisions based on what feels good in the moment, what’s easy, or even what other people expect of them.

But these are all wrong; it’s better to make decisions based upon who you want to become.

Why? Because when you assess decisions through this filter, you’re no longer seduced by the good but not great opportunities. You’re definitive about what you want and thus won’t settle for anything else.

Wrote Benjamin P. Hardy,

“Once you know what you want, it becomes painfully obvious what you don’t want. Thus, you won’t be seduced by the many good things in life distracting you from the better and best.”

Your time on this planet is very short. You haven’t a moment to waste on things that are not first things.

In Conclusion

Now more than ever, you could easily distract yourself from what’s truly important.

You could pursue what is urgent in exchange for what matters most, but you know that’s not a place you want to be.

There is only now. You haven’t a moment to waste on things that are not first things.

Decide who you want to become and say no to everything else.