OK…let me be the first to raise my hand…I have been known to start a little too close to a deadline.

If some item isn’t getting through the noise of other stuff-to-do then it is either not important enough or you’re procrastinating.

Not important: fine. (You sure? Fine.)

Procrastinating: you’re in danger of being or becoming a last-minute junkie. (Not having enough time isn’t an issue – putting off doing something about not having enough time might be.)

So You’re a Last-Minute Junkie: How Come?

Tick any (or all) of the following boxes…be honest now.

  • It’s the client’s fault – they’re always late (really?).
  • Fear of failure (watch a Tony Robbins movie/buy the book).
  • The stuff is boring (so what are you going to do about it?).
  • Fear of success (that’s complicated).
  • Let’s hope someone else does it (lazy?).
  • Political gain (ouch).
  • Psychopathic tendencies (around 4 per cent of CEO’s have).
  • Secondary gain (being the hero who saves the day?).
  • ADHD/ADD (not good, but there is medication).
  • I live life on the edge and just love the kick of working late at the last minute and getting inspiration from the adrenalin.

If you’ve ticked any of them, I hope it was only the last one – addicted to the adrenaline, the sense of creativity, purpose and being in flow that comes from doing things just ahead of a deadline.

Being a last-minute junkie can be fun and provide the bio-chemical kick to get stuff done. If you work alone then maybe that’s not a problem. If you rely on others to get things done and their stress tolerance is lower than yours then there may well be a problem. (See my post on stress here.)

Important issues tend to bubble up the agenda into urgent actions that require immediate attention.

That is not the issue; quality is. Getting stuff done while it is important but before it reaches the urgent/panic stage is a useful life strategy for avoiding stress and having more fun.

The training time for a marathon is 16-20 weeks.


Chris Martlew’s new book, Changing the Mind of the OrganizationBuilding Agile Teams, is available for pre-order at amazon.co.uk, amazon.com, bol.com and other good bookstores.

Photo: MTA of New York via Flickr