How not to be the last-minute manager?

ajitkpanicker/ February 14, 2020/ Personal Development, Uncategorized/ 1 comments

Do you want to know how not to be the last-minute manager?

“Time is really the only capital that any human being has and the only thing he can’t afford to lose” – Thomas Edison

Isn’t it?

But we still keep delaying our tasks to the last-minute.

Why do we delay completing our tasks?

Is it because we are lethargic?


Is it because we are not motivated enough?


Is it because we wish to become the last-minute manager?

Who is the last-minute manager?

A last-minute manager is a person who puts off his tasks to the last minute. Hence he either fails in completing the task and if he does, the quality of the finished job gets affected.


Tell me, if I tell you the reasons why you delay the things that you are supposed to do, will you be able to change your habit of procrastination, the habit of delaying the completion of your tasks.

Maybe yes. Maybe not.

All of us have 24 hours at our bay, and the key to succeed or fail largely depends on how productively we use them.

But before I go ahead any further, let me tell you a story. This short story is of a man who became successful because of not being the last-minute manager.

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

Who wants an introduction of this great man, the 12th president and the missile man of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam?

Let me tell you an incident of his life where he felt the need to managing time well and not to be the last-minute manager.

In 1955 Kalam did his aerospace engineering at Madras Institute of Technology. While Kalam was working on a senior class project, the Dean became dissatisfied with his lack of progress and threatened to revoke his scholarship unless he finished the project within the next three days.

Kalam met the deadline, impressing the dean.

But later in life, in one of the speeches, he mentioned how this incident changed his life forever. He highlighted, how accomplished, one can become, by not being the last-minute manager.

He went on serving organizations like ARE, DRDO, and ISRO mentoring and guiding his teams to meet deadlines well on time. It was this very habit of not being the last-minute manager that changed his life forever.

Where are you currently sitting?

Are you in your office?


If yes, look around and see who is the most efficient of the whole lot. Who is the one who is always on time, finishes his tasks, projects, and deadlines on time? Is he not active in almost every meeting at the office?

Do you know there are few practices this kind of person follows that every efficient worker should do to be successful?

One of the most important among them being, they do not procrastinate.

According to Wikipedia, procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished by a certain deadline. It could be further stated as a habitual or intentional delay of starting or finishing a task despite knowing it might have negative consequences.

It is a common human experience involving delay in everyday chores or even putting off salient tasks such as attending an appointment, submitting a job report or academic assignment, or broaching a stressful issue with a partner.


Why do we procrastinate?

Most of us delay starting or finishing or not doing a thing on time majorly because of these reasons:

  1. Laziness
  2. Too easy to complete
  3. Too difficult to complete
  4. Not knowing where to begin
  5. The task is not that important

Isn’t it? Are these not the reasons most of us think because of which we put off things to a later time?

Most of us think so.

The real reason

But the real reason we put away things for tomorrow or procrastinate is the lack of motivation to do a particular task in the current time than doing it in the future.

Example 1

Let’s say you have to reduce your weight and you know it can be done only if you follow a strict diet plan and exercise regime. Most of those who want to are not able to because they feel they can always start from tomorrow. It is not a one-day affair.

But they don’t realize if they don’t start today at the present time, they will never be able to accomplish what they want to in the future time. So there is a lack of motivation to start because they feel the result will anyways not come in the present time.

Example 2

Now let’s take another example where the action and the result both can happen in the present time, but we still procrastinate. Say if a customer service executive who is supposed to reply as soon as possible to an irate customer doesn’t do it and postpone it to an indefinite period.

What will happen, the annoyed customer will anyways come back to him and that too more irritated now.

In this case, if the customer service executive doesn’t procrastinate and provide the required solution as soon as possible without giving the customer a room to come back to him, the customer will stay calm and satisfied. So the lack of motivation of acting on it in the present time should be replaced with the motivation of reward he would get in the present time, a delighted customer.

“If you want to be more productive, you need to become master of your minutes” – Crystal Paine


“Not be the last-minute manager.”

Let us now understand how the last-minute manager shows up at his tasks. I am going to highlight the characteristics of the last-minute manager.

Characteristics of the last-minute manager

  1. The last-minute manager does not plan.
  2. He does not work on his Most Important Tasks of the day right at the beginning of the day.
  3. Stays without reporting the work assigned to him till the last minute.
  4. Makes excuses at the last minute for not completing the assigned task.
  5. Always look for external motivation to work than being self-motivated to perform.
  6. He does not work on a time-bound basis.
  7. Blames other team members for not co-operating to finish the given task.
  8. He gets up quite late in the morning, often rushing out of his place in the morning while going to the office.
  9. He says yes to everything that comes to him, to avoid displeasing those who gave the task to him.
  10. Doesn’t delegate or divide the work, often trying to finish the task all on his own.

Let us now understand how the last-minute manager shows up at his tasks. I am going to highlight the characteristics of the last-minute manager.

Now, that we know, what are the characteristics of the last-minute manager, let me share with you what to do if you don’t want to be the last-minute manager.

Ways of how not to be the last-minute manager

1.     Create a to-do list and a not-to-do list

I am sure you must have heard about a to-do list. What it means and how helpful it is if you want to finish your tasks on time. Make a broad to-do list for the day, at least a day in advance. If you cannot do that, a day before, do it first thing in the morning.

At the same time, prepare a not-to-do list also. A list that you will follow, come what may. This is the list of all distractions that can stop you or derail you from your task.

2.     Categorize the to-do list

Once you have created the list of to-do things, make sure to categorize them based on their priority to get finished. You can either use an A-B-C or 1-2-3 categorization method. Try completing the tasks that are at the top priority, the first and thereon.

3.     Chunking the bigger tasks

Look for bigger tasks, those that are more time consuming and involves a lot of complex steps. Then divide them into bite-sized tasks and complete them one at a time. It is always easier to finish a smaller chunk of the task than a complex task at one go. Easier and more comfortable you make the process of completing the task, more chances you have not to become the last-minute manager.

4.     Setting timelines for every task

Make sure to set timelines for every task with a specific timeline for even the smallest chunks of each task. Keeping up to the timelines will give you greater confidence in finishing all or the maximum number of the tasks of the day.

5.     Incentivize yourself for every task finished

Make sure to treat yourself to something you love, every time you finish a task. A break/ a cup of tea or coffee, a brownie, anything would do.

6.     Maintain a ledger of the tasks done successfully

Usually, most of us maintain a diary to create a to-do list. We can use the same diary to maintain a ledger of how many tasks we completed out of the total number of tasks we had. This too would give us a sense of achievement and confidence in not becoming the last-minute manager.

7.     Follow the not-to-do list

As I had mentioned in the first point, make sure to follow the not –to do list unfailingly. Keep yourself away from distractions like social media, checking unnecessary messages, watching videos or movies on mobile, mindless browsing on the internet, etc.

8.     Learn to delegate work both at office and home

You alone can’t finish every task assigned to you or that you are supposed to do. Identify how many, out of all the tasks you have, can be assigned to someone around you. He can be your junior, a colleague or some member of the family.

9.     Get up early

What I have read and heard about most of the successful people ever in the world is that they have been early risers.

You can also change your schedule. Get up, say just about half an hour before your normal schedule and see your world, changing like anything.

10. Learn to say no

I am sure most of you reading this post who work for others, often face this problem. Your supervisor often would come up with something that would be urgent and important, and that too anytime during the day. You get compelled to do because you dare not say no to him. This is where you have to learn to politely say no, making him understand the specific reason you are doing so.

I hope with the above ways you can overcome the habit of procrastination in a big way.

With this post, I am attempting to help you ‘my readers’ understand how you can, avoid being the last-minute manager. But despite this understanding, the action part dwells on you.

If you have found this post useful and motivating, please share it with the people it would matter the most.

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Top 8 must-read books on procrastination.

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1 Comment

  1. Great tips !! I often wondered how you managed everything well on time. Now I know, how you do it.

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