Procrastination: The Thief of Time and Accomplishment

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I read a great book recently about procrastination and how to get it out of your life for good by creating new habits. This book is called “Eat This Frog” by Brian Tracy, and it is one that I have read before. But no matter how much we all think we are “cured”, I have found it is in reality an ongoing project for most people. I have also found that procrastination seems to crop up in completely different areas of our lives from time to time and causing us to need a “refresher course”.

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Why is Procrastination So Dangerous?

First, there is the obvious fact that if you keep putting things off you will look up one day only to realize you have left a piece of your life behind that “screams lack of accomplishment”. You will recognize that you have been hanging out with the thief of time. All those big goals you wrote down on paper at the end of the year are not really one bit closer to being completed than the day you wrote them down.

What did you see when you looked back at your first quarter goals? Did you accomplish all that you set out to do?

Secondly, because it “messes with your mind; this is especially true when it comes to comparing yourself to others. So many times we fall into the trap of assuming other people are doing things better than we are when in reality, they may just be doing things differently. They may have established good habits they follow every day which allows them to accomplish more and grow faster than most everyone else.

Success is rarely an accident; it is almost always by design. Procrastination works pretty much in the same way. We have to plan to get things done. And it is this plan that will set you apart from your competition.

Why Do We Procrastinate?

There is just no way I could say this as well as he did so I am going to quote Brian:

“A major reason for procrastination and lack of motivation is vagueness, confusion, and fuzzy-mindedness about what you are trying to do and in what order and for what reason.”

To paraphrase, we lack clarity.

The Plan For the Cure to Overcome Procrastination

Only about 3% of the people have clear, concise written goals or “their plan to get from A to B”. It’s not too hard to imagine why those same people tend to achieve 5 to 10 times as much as those without written goals. So once we have a plan, how to we create new habits that stick?

According to Brian Tracy, there should be 3 distinct parts to this plan or the Three D’s of forming new habits:

Decision, Discipline and Determination

  1. You have to make a decision to develop the habits needed to kick procrastination to the curb by developing strong focus and concentration on the job at hand.
  2. Next you have to discipline yourself to practice these habits until they become second nature. For instance; if checking email is the first thing you do in the morning, discipline yourself not to do that until your big frogs are checked off the list.
  3. The third part is having the determination to take these steps each and every day until they become a permanent part of your personality.

The Cure

Curing this habit of procrastination will increase your overall levels of satisfaction in every area of your life whether it is your business or your personal life. Here are the two most important steps he has laid out:

  • You have to “Eat that Frog” the first thing in the morning. Don’t sit and stare at the frog for very long; just eat it. So what is the frog? It is the biggest, most important job you have to get done that day.
  • And if you have to eat two frogs that day, eat the ugliest one first. It seems pretty simple doesn’t it? Just get it over with. How many times have each of us wasted a good portion of a day putting off something that we just didn’t want to do? It’s so easy to let busyness get in the way of growing our business.

Who Do You Want to BE?

It really comes down to just this one thing for all of us; you have to decide, “Who do we want to be”? We are back once again to clarity. Never mind what other people will think. When we are able to clearly visualize and articulate who we want to be, then we will have our “why” that will enable us to do the work need to be the best we can be.

I would encourage everyone to pick up a copy of Brian Tracy’s book, “Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time”.

Some of the things you will learn in this book are:

  • How to clearly decide what you want and how this will change your business
  • How to plan every day in advance on paper with your most important tasks at the top
  • How to apply the 80/20 rule to everything realizing that 20% of your activities account for 80% of your results.

This book will also make you realize that as one person, you just can’t do it all. You are going to need some help.

Photo: Photo Extremist

About Author

Sharon Vornholt

Sharon has been investing in real estate since 1998. She owned and operated a successful home inspection company for 17 years. In January of 2008 she took the leap of closing her business to become a full time real estate investor.


  1. Great article Sharon!
    I have not read the book, but I know a lot of people who highly recommend it.
    I have a lot of written goals, plans and affirmations I work on all the time. One if my goals is to own 100 rental properties. Ivthinkbutxsays get the most out of our goals they have to be challenging and force us to work and think hard.

    • Sharon Vornholt

      So true Mark.

      This book is a quick and easy read, but it is full of helpful actionable tips to help us all break free of procrastination once and for all. Where goals are concerned, they need to be written on a great big wall calendar where you can put down steps each and every month that will help you reach those goals.


    • Sharon Vornholt

      Brandon –

      You should definitely pick up the book. It’s a small book that’s quick and easy to read. I love his analogies of “eating the frog” and “eating the ugliest one first”. As I told Mark, he has a lot of actionable steps we can all use to break free of this cycle. Thanks for reading.


  2. Michael Woodward on

    Thanks for the article Sharon. That’s great information! I agree completely that success in life is not a function of I.Q. but it’s more about doing the RIGHT things at the right time. I have to continually remind myself to think about what I’m doing to make sure I’m doing the important things first. It’s easy to get busy with busy-ness. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Sharon Vornholt

      Michael –

      I think we all need a reminder. Planning your day the night before and sticking to it is probably the most valuable habit you can have. I continually struggle with that one. I don’t think BP was on my task list for this morning. LOL


  3. Great article Sharon, although I need to stop reading BP forums & blogs to get through this book back-log I’m building up from all the recommendations I see on here.

    This is a really timely article for me as well as just yesterday I was frustrated with my lack of progress. While laying in bed last night trying to fall asleep, I made the resolution to break up my big goal (finding a house to rehab) into small, actionable steps that cover a day or a week. Looks like I know what frog I’ll be eating today!

    • Sharon Vornholt

      Brandon – Me too!

      I had to get off the internet earlier. It is just such a balancing game. I have come to the conclusion that you need to save this sort of thing for a lunchtime break and then again after work or work never gets done. It’s about 2:00 here and I’m finally going to eat lunch.

      Get the book. You will really like it.

      Also, get a big wall calendar and write all the “pieces of the big thing” you need to attack down on it. Then attach a date to each one of those tasks. Keep yourself accountable.

      Thanks for reading.

  4. Thanks Sharon, I had heard about “eating the frog” first, and will get this book asap. Interesting thing for me at 52ish now…..I can’t keep my planner going the way I used to….and not as on task as I used to be….or maybe I’m just beating myself up….wife says I’m more focused than ever before…she knows best after 32 years together…..but with all these distractions from online , electronic, etc….my smart phone can do everything for me….if I keep feeding it the data….I went back to some old school stuff with a big white board on the wall…..seriously thanks for posting this ….planning the night before for the next day is an excellent idea and I am going to implement that today….thanks! Paul C.

    • Sharon Vornholt

      Paul –

      I am guilty of the same thing. No one beats me up as well as “I do”.

      I think a big part of the problem is that we do so much more than before. It’s 2:00 here and I haven’t eaten lunch yet. I’m always trying to finish one more thing. Focus gets to be a problem when we try to pack too much into one day. You will like the book, and I’m sure it will help.

      I love white boards and big wall calendars to keep me on track.


  5. Eat that Frog!!!!

    such a simple message, yet even harder to follow. I think a lot of people get caught up building their castles in the clouds and not putting those ideas down on paper and following them in order to have a set plan to reach the end goal. So thanks for writing an article to put that into perspective because I deal with procrastination on a daily basis.

    • Sharon Vornholt

      Robert –

      It’s a universal problem, but I think it’s a really big problem for entrepreneurs. We just have so many ideas flying around in our brains; so much we want to get done.

      Here’s a tip:

      Get the big picture or big goals down on paper, hang up a big wall calendar, then break your project(s) down into tasks. You probably shouldn’t have more than 3 or 4 big goals for a year.

      Put the tasks needed to complete your project onto days on the calendar. Commit to doing those few things on that date. Eat that frog! Choose just 3-5, because something always comes up that you didn’t plan on. If everything goes according to plan you can do more.

      It’s best to plan out your “big picture” about 3 months at a time.


  6. karen rittenhouse

    1. Write out your goals and your plans to attain them. Until you write out your goals and action plans, you just have a dream and dreams rarely come true.
    2. Be part of a group that holds each other accountable. It’s much harder to procrastinate when you have to explain yourself to others!

    Thanks for another great article, Sharon.

    • Sharon Vornholt

      Hilarious Glenn. If only this site was a little more boring….

      Like I told Glenn Schworm; old habits are hard to break. I am actually hanging out here for a few minutes until I have to go out in the rain and look at property. I hate looking at property in the rain! That’s my frog this morning.

      Have a great day.

  7. I really enjoyed this article Sharon. As Brandon Fokin said, sometimes one has to break things down into smaller manageable parts. For example, I have been working on a web site the last 8 weeks or so. And although I hired someone to do the work, I was very involved withe the process. It actually became a little overwhelming for a while with everything else going on. I separated the site out by page and attacked it that way and it went smoother from there. It is nice to have small victories or accomplishments every couple of days.

  8. Great post Sharon. Although I feel I have the goal thing down pretty good I still believe I can improve and get better at it. I don’t think you ever completely stop procrastination like you said it is an on going process for most. I do this graph I call the circle of life which is like a bicycle wheel divided by the spokes with different area’s in your business and personal life. The idea is to revisit from time to time when I feel it is out of balance which means the bike will not ride that well when the area’s between the spokes are not equal. I know for sure certain area’s are full and other’s are barely colored in but I have not put the pencil to it in a while because it will force me to deal with the ugly frog like you say or Brian Tracey says. Well after reading this post I am going to kick that frogs ass now. I will buy the book tonight on line. Thanks for this reminder of what I already knew but just needed to hear it from someone else.

    • Sharon Vornholt

      Mike –

      We all know what we need to do, but we all need to hear it again from time to time. I have seen the wheel you are talking about, and that’s a great tool too. Finding balance is an ongoing struggle that I am trying to solve with a VA. Let’s face it; we all need all the tools and the help we can get.

      Getting better at what we do and “who we want to become” is an ongoing process for most of us. The fact that we actually purposefully set pit to accomplish this is I believe what sets us apart from so many other people.

      Sites like BP that educate us, and push us to grow, and shove us outside our comfort zone on a daily basis make a huge difference. There’s no “sitting on the tracks waiting to get run over” for most of us here. Let me know how you like the book. Eat that frog!


  9. Sharon this is one of my favorites!
    Interstingly I just finiished listening to the audio book for like the 20th time today in the car.
    Need to keep beating the principles into my head to stay on task! 🙂

    I have been trying to resolve these principles with one of my other favorites “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. He actually ranks priority I think as the 4th screening criteria. Seems crazy until he points out it is about using the time you have to get done things that have to happen.

    Like your example of needing to look at a house in the rain. That is your frog. However if you had another appointment you had to go to in 15min you are going to be able to go out and look at that house, but you probably have time to make a phone call or write back to a few non urgent emails that have piled up or a host of other minor tasks that would be “B” level “Tadpoles” in Tracy’s thoughts.

    Anyway just more food for thought. 🙂

    • Sharon Vornholt

      Shaun –

      The 20th time; WOW. Now that’s dedication to learning a principle!

      I love the “tadpole” analogy too. Working in small jobs when you have a little time between your big “frogs” helps get rid those “tadpoles” that seem to be always growing in number.

      Listening to those types of CD’s in the car do a great job of imprinting ideas on our brain. I love doing that too.

      Thanks for commenting.

  10. Excellent article, Brian Tracy is very good. I read Goals by Brian about 8-10 years ago. That is when things started to really improve for me. I should read this everyday however, so I review my goals, what it will take to achieve them and provide some clarity. The result I believe will be more success, more time and less stress. All great things.

    One thing I began doing about 3 years ago, is when I read a book or any material for that matter, I summarize it. Before I would read tons of books and material, finish, forget and never apply what I learned for benefit. My goal is results, so now I review everything once a month in order to internalize things so I apply what I have read and learned. The results have been great.

    Sharon, you did an excellent job of summarizing a great book, I greatly appreciate it!

  11. Ryan –

    Summarizing is a great idea. I love all things Brian Tracy.

    Darren Hardy the publisher of “Success Magazine” says this is what he does;

    When he reads books, sees videos or other type of educational material he picks out just 3 – 5 things to take action on. He writes them down and begins to implement them immediately. Darren says that we all really “intend” to put all of those great ideas we see in place, but there are just too many to do that. So he says just to pick 3 bigger ones or even 5 small things and commit to doing them now.

    If you don’t subscribe to Success Magazine, you should. It is especially good for small business but is certainly relevant to all businesses. He has an action step for each article in the back of the magazine each month. You should check it out.


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