We were always taught in school and college to be a proactive guy. Isn’t it? So what do you call a guy who is not proactive? A lazy bum, lethargic idiot, or a procrastinator! For some stupid reason, I used to fancy this word ‘procrastinate’ in my college days and used the word often. Maybe it sounded complicated, at the same time give a feeling of using some rich English vocabulary! Until I realized that I am one, recently :)“A procrastinator is a person who delays or puts things off — like work, chores, or other actions — that should be done in a timely manner. A procrastinator is likely to leave all the Christmas shopping until December 24th.”#Procrastinator comes from the Latin verb procrastinare, which means deferred until tomorrow.For obvious reasons, I used to wonder why procrastination is bad. There has to be something else to it, other than just being lazy or lethargic about an activity. The only difference I could see from a proactive guy or a taskmaster is that the latter completes the job on time. I don’t see any difference in quality of work, nor the competence being superior. So why do procrastinators actually #procrastinate? Do they do it with purpose, or it just happens to them? Can they do anything about it?I once read what Bill Gates spoke about the hidden talent of a lazy person. Not that I want to justify their acts, but it gave me an interesting perspective. I was right; after all, procrastination is not bad.


I was going around to find more answers (or justifications), when one day I was at home all day and my attention went to observing what keeps my homemaker wife busy all day. Bingo, I got my answer. My wife is actually an absolute taskmaster. You add something to her calendar or to-do list, it’s done. So, I jotted down these interesting differences that you might find useful, as well as meaningful.

Swetha: Taskmaster (Black belter):

  • Give her work and it shall be done. No questions asked.
  • She does one job at a time, but to it’s best.
  • Once thought about how it needs to be done, the focus is on implementation. She feels that the key to success is proper implementation/ execution.
  • She cannot work under pressure. Once she has more than one task on hand, she fizzles out.
  • Takes time to prepare and plan things in advance.
  • She is calm and cool during planning. But starts worrying soon after the implementation begin. The worry prevails all through the end of work or activity.
  • Delivery is more important that innovation. There cannot be any innovation in the middle of the process. The energy and focus is on executing the work meticulously.
  • She starts working well ahead of the deadline. More like a test match. They keep the panic button handy and use them for smaller escalations too. That’s because, they believe in quality implementation.
  • Quality of task doesn’t matter to her. It is the quality of execution that keeps her motivated.


Shivadhar: Procrastinator (Black belter):

  • Give him work and he will start thinking. He could do all possible research, except for its execution.
  • I generally have about 40 windows open in my browser and 5 word docs, 2 excel sheets and 3 PPTs at any given point in time. I like to multi-task. But am I going to do a great job in all the work? Bummer.
  • I would like to think more; but when it comes to execution I shit bricks.
  • You ask me for an idea, I would give you five.
  • Preparation is boring. I hate planning. I don’t know how did I survive so many in years in corporate though 🙂
  • Innovation is key; be it before the task, or during the task. I don’t fear to experiment.
  • I struggle hard and worry only till I identify the probably answer in my mind. Once I know that can be solved, I go back to my relaxed mood. To me, the thought solution is more important than the actual implementation or execution.
  • It is the quality of the task that motivates me and puts me on a high. The end result can be compromised.
  • I would like to work only before the approach of deadline. More like a T20 match. They press the panic button only on real emergency.

Taskmasters are best suited for operations. If you have someone in your team, you are absolutely lucky. They are the ones who drive organizations and they are great assets. You don’t find many people in this category. They are ‘The Doers’.

Procrastinators are typical sales and marketing guys. They are your thinking hats and you need them too. They are also your sounding boards. They don’t panic and they give alternates during crisis. They are ‘The Thinkers’.

Every startup needs people in both categories. The smartness comes when you identify who’s who and puts them in the right dept. A guy with operations mindset cannot perform in a sales role, or a sales guy in customer support. Like Jim Collins says, ‘are you a fox or a hedgehog?’


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