April 14, 2011, 6:00 am

If Not Now, Then When? The Importance of Taking Action

by: MD    Category: Alternative Income
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When Will You Take Action?

You wanna be afraid, really afraid, take a look at what your life’ll look like not if you try and fail…but if you keep on keeping on for decades. That’s the real nightmare scenario for most people.

– Jonathan Fields.

If you’re not going to do something right now, then when will you? The other day after a night of drinking out on the town, my buddy and I went out for breakfast to laugh about what a fun night it was. Once we were done with laughing about our night, I asked him what his plans were for the next few months since he was out of school now. He told me that he might finally start working on his business idea at some point in the summer.

You know what that means, right? It means that he plans on doing nothing about his business idea. When we say “some day” it usually means never. That’s just the harsh reality. If you were truly passionate about something you wouldn’t hold it off until some random day in the future at some point. You would start working on it right away.

If you’re reading this then the odds are strong that you procrastinated on something at some point. I wish I had the answers for this problem. Today I’m going to try something a little bit different here. Since I don’t have the answers, I wanted to ask some important questions.

Why the delay?

What’s holding you back? Why have you not started working on that business idea that has been on your mind since 2008? It’s usually a combination of a full time job, real life responsibilities, and lack of energy once both are completed. Is there anything else delaying you from taking action?

Now that we understand that there’s plenty of reasons to delay, we need to address when action will be taken. Time goes by pretty fast. It’s mid-April, are you on track with your resolutions? Are you getting done what you expected in 2011? I personally expected to get more done and I have nobody to blame but myself. It’s just important that we keep in mind that delays will just keep on coming from all angles and for all different reasons. At some point we need to put our foot down and stop delaying what we want to do.

What excuses are you creating?

It’s really easy to think of excuses for not getting anything done. I wanted to start a personal finance blog in early-2008 but I kept on putting it off. Why? Because I would tell myself that I didn’t understand php and I didn’t know how to promote a blog. I used many other excuses. Then one day it hit me that I was just simply creating foolish excuses for myself. Are your excuses valid or are they as fictional as the reality shows on MTV?

Are your excuses enough to hold you back from pursuing your goals? Eventually we need to get to the point where we stop making excuses and start doing. There will always be more reasons why you can’t do something than why you can.

Can you find more time?

Are you that stretched to the limit that you can’t work on projects that interest you? If you truly are this busy then I feel sorry for you because that means you probably don’t even have time to brush your teeth or prepare breakfast in the morning. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a single 23 year old so I don’t want to pass judgment on those with kids and super busy lives. I’m just saying that it could be done. Many personal finance bloggers and successful entrepreneurs have kids and a laundry list of responsibilities, yet they still manage to get lots of work done.

If time is the reason that you can’t get certain things done today, what will change in the future? Will you somehow find more time at some later date? The funny thing is that I got more done when I was studying and working full time than I do now when I have a day off. The problem in my opinion is that we blame a lack of time too often more not getting things done. More free time doesn’t always mean that more work will get done. Waking up earlier or cutting something from your schedule can be a really effective way for creating more time in your already busy life.

As I conclude this piece, I want to open up a discussion. Why do we always put things off? What can be done to take action today?

(photo credit: artisrams)

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I find that I procrastinate quite a bit but that listing things help. Some of my ideas are out of this world and some are more feasible. Listing these out I try to go with the less risky feasible ideas. Somtimes you can’t help but put things off but more often than not goals can be accomplished.

-Ravi Gupta

I put off the things I don’t want to do! For example, cleaning out the garage. I hate doing it, so I put it off. I tackled that excuse last year and found a way I can deal with it. I do one small task every week. It may take me longer than doing it all at once, but at least I am doing something to work on it. It fits with my strategy of accomplishing goals. You take a big goal and break it down into small pieces you can accomplish.

My wife is the best at getting things done. She just powers through the jobs that I would procrastinate on. She’s much better adjusted than I am because by the time I would have built up enough dread to start the job, she would already be done. Procrastinating just prolongs the badness! I have a boss that was like that too, maybe even better. If he wanted to do something then he would simply start. I wouldn’t, because I wanted to figure it out first, see if it was possible, which way to do it, etc. Before I would be ready to start, my boss would have already framed it out, have a plan in place and gotten the team together, sold it to the sponsor, and working the plan. He was awesome.

Write your goals down then write down practical steps you can take to go in the desired direction. I get so frustrated my people around me who sit on their butts and don’t act on their dreams. JUST DO IT! I think Nike was on to something here 🙂

Lack of self-discipline. That’s the best answer I can come up with when it comes to procrastination.

Answer to the problem- find ways to make yourself more determined by focusing on the positive outcomes of completing what needs done. Don’t let outside influences make your decisions for you. Take control and do it in small steps. Learn to be more disciplined in a small area of your life, then work your way up to the things that really matter. Discipline is a habit, whether its a good or bad one depends entirely on you and only you.

The best thing that I have found to work for me to get stuff done and not procrastinate is to write down a task list. Don’t list goals but actually write down action items which lead to the goal. For example, if you are looking at starting a business one of the action items might be to investigate and list pros and cons of S corp vs LLC. Action item number 2 might be to register with the state and file paperwork or contact a lawyer, etc.

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Currently, I’m procrastinating my goal of investing in Canadian Dividend stocks for my TFSA. I’ve surpassed the goal I set for myself to have enough money to do this, but now I ‘don’t have time’ or I ‘don’t understand DRIP enough yet’.

I’m now scheduling into my calendar to investigate DRIP with Quest Trade and to ready TFB/Dividend Guy’s top Canadian Dividends!