By December 15, 2009 0 Comments Read More →

Procrastination is one thing, but are you a victim of the Event Horizon?

Procrastination is one thing, but are you a victim of the Event Horizon?

Are you a victim of the Event Horizon? Have you scrolled through your emails and found a long buried email that you were going to deal with the next day but weeks later it still isn't done and you're seriously thinking about deleting it because it isn't relevant anymore? Were you thinking about sending a thank you card or a follow-up email after a meeting, lunch or favor someone did for you but months later you still haven't?

Did you have a great idea you were going to act on or share but it's so long ago you barely remember what it is or why it was important at the time?

Were you meaning to talk to someone about an issue or event to give feedback that would help them or to give them praise, but you never got around to it?

Unfortunately, you've been a victim of the Event Horizon. It's even more dangerous than procrastination - As you get farther away from something, in this case the 'event',  it becomes hidden over the horizon. At least when you procrastinate, you eventually get it done. With the Event Horizon, you lose all desire to get it done and don't even bother to try anymore.

Event Horizon
Here's how to calculate your own event horizon, courtesy of this Wikipedia entry

That's what happens to your important email, thank you note or great idea. You put something off till tomorrow and the sky doesn't fall in, so you push it to the next day and then the next day. Pretty soon, it's so far away from the initial event that it's importance has diminished in your mind and it completely vanishes out of sight.

The best way to avoid this is to act immediately when there is something to be done that is somewhat soft and doesn't have a due-date or other trigger that forces you do it, yet it is otherwise important.

Of course, you may be thinking that if it was so unimportant to you that you lost sight of it over the Event Horizon, why should you worry about it now? After all, it may just be your subconscious approach to prioritization.

Give your head a shake. That's just self-justification kicking in and you need to fight it off.

After all, it's usually the little things that don't need to be done but are the right things to do that make the difference in your performance, relationship and success. That includes a quick response to an email that was important to someone else, a thank you that will be very meaningful to a colleague, a simple idea that could make a difference, your feedback to a member of your team to help them be better or praise that would make someone's day.

The next time you think about waiting until tomorrow to do one of these important tasks, remember the Event Horizon and avoid becoming a victim.

About Michel Theriault

Michel is the founder of Success Fuel for Managers. He is an author, speaker and consultant focusing on topics relevant to Managers and aspiring Managers in businesses of all sizes who want to get results, get attention, and get ahead. He is also a contributor to Forbes and AllBusiness Experts . Michel is available for speaking engagements, training and consulting. Connect with him or send an email.

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