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A Few Words About Procrastination

Updated on January 4, 2012

A Few Words About Procrastination

I find the topic of procrastination to be so important I suspect I will write several hubs about it.

This will be Hub #1.

In his book, THE SECRET OF THE AGES, Robert Collier shares an account of how the great conqueror, Napoleon, ended his dreams of a world empire.

The reason?

Napoleon hesitated.

He could not make up his mind about his strategy. He wavered for weeks between retreat and advance.

Collier added that fate gave Napoleon every chance first. The winters were a full month late in coming.

Then winter set in. Napoleon was defeated.

All because of procrastination.

Out of all the pages I read in this excellent book, I have never forgotten the author's words, "Napoleon hesitated."

This past summer my husband and I had our living room remodeled. Since our china closet was big, fragile and in the way, the workers slid it into our bedroom. Because of its weight, I had emptied it out and placed all the dishes into plastic bins in the garage. As a result, the car, which I mostly drive (my husband has a truck), sat in our driveway throughout the summer and fall.

With the soon approach of winter I needed to put the car back into the garage.

The problem?

The bins filled with dishes from the china closet were in the way. In the meantime the empty china closet had been returned to our remodeled room.

The whole month of November had been unseasonably sunny, with record temperatures in the 50's and 60's. During this time I had several opportunities to wash the dishes and return them to the china closet. However, I kept saying, "I will try to do it tomorrow."

Suddenly, out of the blue, the words, "Napoleon hesitated" entered my mind. Winter was near! I did not want the car in the driveway when snow arrived. Winters in Upstate New York often leave crusted snow and ice on the windshield. Since I loathe unnecessary wasted time brushing and scraping off the snow there simply was no excuse for me to put off washing those dishes and getting the bins out of the garage.

By the end of November the temperature had already dropped into the low 40's. Snow was forecast for the following week.

I did not want to be like Napoleon!

It occurred to me it did not matter what routine duties I had to do. They would have to wait. I washed all the dishes, and I returned them to the empty china closet. I removed the empty bins from the garage, and I put them downstairs to fill with Christmas gifts.

I drove the car into the garage!

The following night, snow arrived.

I often wonder why I tend to put things off for so long? Perhaps it's because I allow my daily tasks to get in the way, and I keep waiting until I have a bigger block of time to perform a larger task. However, waiting is actually procrastinating, and that block of time never seems to come. I have to MAKE TIME to do what needs to be done. Now.

Also, I have found that once a project is done, I discover I completed the job in much less time than I thought I would. The end result is a sense of peace and accomplishment.

It's amazing how two words, "Napoleon hesitated," have been such a motivator for me.

Coincidentally, the same day I got the dishes out of the garage, I was reading the newspaper. I always check my horoscope for fun. Here is what it read:

"There are things you've always wanted to do but never acted on. There will be a perfect moment to make your move. It's yours for the seizing, but DON'T HESITATE OR YOU'LL MISS IT."

Coincidence or not, I know I must not procrastinate. Napoleon did, and his dreams of a world empire were ended.

Blessings to all, Sincerely, Sparklea*

*PS: Hub #2 on this vital topic to appear in the near future*


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Hi Daniel, your review was ptetry fair a recommendation to newcomers who need a solid goals book and a warning to those who had already done some goals reading.I already have the book and agree that Brian Tracy material can overlap itself. In his defense, I do think that he sticks to proven fundamentals and there's only so many angles they can be seen from. Maybe he should focus on a new or more specific business area beyond success, goal setting, and time management.Overall, good stuff! Perhaps in the future, include a more detailed description of the contents!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Hello CJ,Thanks for leaving this great cenmomt.Goals are important, but just as you say, setting them takes time, effort and a clarity of yourself and your dreams.I do feel that setting goals, just to get started, is more important than getting it 100% right the first time.You will always have to change your goals as your life and your dreams change, but getting started towards something that might be your goal is better than not starting at all.In the book Brian Tracy helps you find your true goals by a number of techniques and I myself am working on a series on how to set goals that should be publishable soon.Thanks again for visiting.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I liked your article about goals brian tracy. I agree with your premsie that it is important to set goals. The only problemis that I have no clue about what goals to set. This book is about how we can get everything we want. But what is it that we truly want? Defining goals accurately is the problem.~~Love gives us the fortitude to lighten the sorrow of others and ourselves. It soothes us like sweet cream and warms us into a gazing calm which makes us feel a sense of awe in the presence of something magical. Love helps us recognize the quiet grandeur or beauty of life. We notice the earth, the sky, a breathing, functioning planet, full-flowering gardens, and bending branches over silent walkways. ~~ C.J. Good

    • Sparklea profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      CM Sullivan: THANK YOU so much for your positive input! I just re-read this as I keep putting off cleaning out our cellar. The task will be overwhelming, but it has to be done. It is good weather now, so I must not be like Napoleon! Thank you also for following me! An honor! BLESSINGS, Sparklea :)

    • CM Sullivan profile image

      CM Sullivan 

      7 years ago from California

      Haha, awesome, I am now going to have that stuck in my head forever, "Napolean hesitated." Luckily you did not hesitate and have your driveway become your Waterloo. ;) I put the "pro" in procrastinator by the way. I always wait wait wait, and "I'll do it tomorrow" is my mantra. I needed to read this. Up and awesome, interesting.

    • Sparklea profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      A.A. Zavala, so true, what you said! Getting things done is SO important...especially if there is a deadline! Thank you for taking time to read this hub and for your response. Blessings, Sparklea :)

    • A.A. Zavala profile image

      Augustine A Zavala 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Procrastination leads to more trouble and more work later. Just get it down so that you don't have to worry about it later. Thank you for sharing.

    • Sparklea profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Unleashed Freedom, Thank you for taking the time to comment, so much appreciated! Coffee is so important to me in the morning I take a thermos cup with me on my early walk. The first sip is spectacular! Blessings, Sparklea :)

    • Unleashed Freedom profile image

      Unleashed Freedom 

      7 years ago from star dust, planet Gaia.

      Sparklea - I am too lazy to procrastinate, so I enjoy breathing fully. Just the other day, me and my girlfriend had to go someplace in a hurry. We had our first coffee and then I put water onto boil. She said, aren't we in a hurry? I said, yes. So why the coffee? Ah, I get what you mean.We are never going to be in such a hurry that we cannot enjoy our coffee. :)

    • Sparklea profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      YogaKat, thank you for taking time to read this! I get behind even with the hubs, so many wonderful people on this site including you...Glad you commented to remind me, again, that Napoleon hesitated! Blessings, Sparklea :)

    • YogaKat profile image


      7 years ago from Oahu Hawaii

      Love this hub . . . I am the world's worst procrastinator mostly because I would rather be on HubPages. Now I will always remember "Napoleon hesitated". Thanks for the useful, funny, beautiful, interesting and awesome advice. Voted up.

    • Sparklea profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      LailaK: THANK you for taking time to read this hub! Believe it or not I have to read my own hub on this topic to prevent myself from putting things off. I HAVE to remember that Napoleon hesitated, and it was a loss! I try to accomplish most things in the morning, that is when I have the most energy. THANK you for voting UP! Blessings always LailaK Sparklea :) PS: I love your questions and hope to answer more of them :)

    • LailaK profile image


      7 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Your hub is just too awesome, Sparklea! I love the "Nepoleon hesitated" parts! Unfortunately, I've been procrastinating more than ever this semester and I am

      searching for anyway to get motivated and this helped! Thanks! Voted up :)

    • profile image

      Larry Wall 

      7 years ago


      You have made your first misttake--I am not an organized individual. My desk is a nightmare. I get everything done, but not always on time. However, my wife is the organized one. She keeps the family calendar. Her desk drawer is neatly arranged. If you ask for something she can tell you what room, what cabinet, what drawer and on what side it is located. I thank you for thinking I am organized, but alas, that is one talent I lack.

    • Sparklea profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you Larry! Every day I make a list, which is a START. Love the feeling of crossing everything off it! Thank you for taking the time to read this. Blessings, Sparklea :) PS: You strike to be a very organized individual. You could probably be a professional organizer!

    • profile image

      Larry Wall 

      7 years ago

      I am very glad that you did not procrastinate on this hub--somebody had to do that joke. Seriously, you, as usual made some very good points. I am not a procrastinator, but I do delay some things--they get done, just later than originally planned. I always have a plan and make decisions quickly--implementing the decision is the tough part.

      Great job, as always.


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