Road Signs For Success – July 23, 2008

By Gerald Daniels

All over the countryside at this time of year you see hay cutters, hay rakes, and hay balers moving across the hay meadows. Making hay looks and sounds simple and in many ways it is, yet at the core of this enterprise is the understanding that there is a precise time of year the hay will be ready to bale and it will not wait. You gotta make hay while the sun is shining, had to originate with a haymaker who knew the value of not procrastinating. It is the same way for most of our enterprising endeavors where there is a precise time in the day, the month, or even the year that is best suited for the task at hand.

I like to use that old saying from time to time to remind myself and our employees about the importance of not putting things off. One of the most critical things I do is to supervise the honoring of commitments and completion of deadlines. There is only so much time in the day, and only so much energy in our bodies for a reason. Generally speaking we all need to know when to turn it off and go home for the day but unfortunately, that seems to be no problem for the majority of people. Our greatest challenge is not in finding a place to stop or go home, but in adhering to a time and a place to start whatever project we have planned or one that has been assigned to us.

I believe the haymaker was faced with the procrastination dilemma on a bright and sunny morning, and simply proclaimed on his way out the door, “You gotta make hay while the sun is shining.” So, off to the hay meadow he went.  Your procrastination dilemma may be at work on a Monday morning or at home on most any weekend as the list of “honey do’s” grows. Putting things off can be attributed to a few legitimate reasons, but more often than not it’s caused by not prioritizing and weak excuses. We postpone projects or assignments until a future time instead of struggling with prioritizing what’s most important — regardless of how distasteful the task may seem — and doing it. Failure to do so inevitably leads to getting behind, which leads to, “Maybe tomorrow would be a better time to start.” Repeated often enough that ultimately leads to, “What’s the use?”

When faced with the procrastination dilemma how do you respond? Have you established a pattern of putting things off or do you have a plan and a schedule to start and complete projects? Let’s go back to the haymaker and consider what kind of a plan and schedule he adheres to each year for obtaining his goal of getting his hay put up on time. If we procrastinate and are not careful the storms of life and despairing drought get us sidetracked and we get behind. The next thing you know your boss, the banker, your spouse, or the future is yelling, “What’s the problem?” 

The most successful people I know are not necessarily the most gifted, the most intelligent, the best educated or those with the biggest bank account. While success is the result of many factors I can guarantee it is rarely acquired by those who fail to learn the value of prioritizing and of not putting things off. Successful people get to be that way by starting and completing projects, tasks, and assignments with the understanding that their actions will affect their work, families and even the world in a positive and productive way.

You may not make your living in a hay field but the sun is shining on some other enterprising endeavor that is calling your name. So my advice is carpe sol ante carpe opportunnis! or seize the sun and seize the opportunity! In other words, you gotta make hay while the sun is shining

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