The Single Word that is Stealing Your Future

image of tomorrow

You can talk all you want about what you’ll write Tomorrow, next week, and next year.

It matters very little.

Tomorrow and next week and next year are not yours to spend.

You can talk all you want about what you’ll build Tomorrow, next week, and next year.

You’d be an arrogant liar.

Tomorrow and next week and next year are not yours to plan.

You do not see your life as the vapor that it is — how your hours curl up and away from that hot, black coffee on the table, dissipating faster than they appeared.

If you intend to write something, write it.

If you intend to build something, build it.

Each time you file that blank page away — to finish it Tomorrow — Tomorrow reaches deep into your wallet and takes exactly what it wants.

Tomorrow is a master thief, patiently waiting for you to lay down the pen. To walk away from the page.

Today is not always sexy.

Today does not always feel right.

Today has many demands, but …

Today is all you’ve been given. You can build everything you need with it.

What are you going to do today?

Say it in the comments …

About the Author: Robert Bruce is Copyblogger Media’s Chief Copywriter and Resident Recluse.

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Reader Comments (117)

  1. says

    This is an amazing concept, that really has changed the way I write. I have recently started getting up one hour earlier to focus completely on my writing. It is very motivating to seize the day first thing in the morning, so the entire rest of the day you already feel as if you have accomplished something.

    • says

      One fact that has inspired me to the same degree is when I heard that Stephen King strove to write at least 2000 words a day.

      It’s not a concept that I feel most people have to take literally, but it does ring true for me in one way: I should be writing every day, no matter if I publish anything.

      It’s something I’ve used and I feel like it’s really helped me, I now sit down and write every day, and some works turn into blog posts, some turn into guest posts, some get used for other content (video posts, e-books, whatever).

      But I always write.

  2. says

    Procrastination often leads to bad marketing. When you keep putting things off, you are essentially backing yourself into a corner. Sure, a little pressure is good sometimes but do you really want to be under such stress that you have to sacrifice quality for the sake of time?

  3. says

    Robert,

    It’s funny that you bring this up. Yesterday I was reading a previous post that Carol Tice wrote about doing something with your blog archives and creating an ebook from them. I decided that it was time to stop reading and take action. I assembled 25 of my best posts into a simple ebook and it will go up for sale on monday.

  4. says

    I have been working on a project and I also do freelance work. I am going to devote an hour solid with no distractions to my writing project.

    I also have to budget in time to curate for clients, tweet, and find people for them to follow. I also have two blog posts to write and editing to do.

    This is a great reminder that all we have is today. Tomorrow is not promised to us.

  5. Jay Warner says

    This article shocked my senses into action. I’m guilty, guilty, guilty of pandering to Tomorrow. The first thing I did was print this article and post it next to my computer. The second thing I did was sit down and write.

  6. says

    oh my gosh i have a lot of things that always get pushed to “tomorrow” or things i will do “next.” but, they always get pushed to tomorrow’s tomorrow or the next after next.

    time to break the cycle.

    thanks for the advice. just what i needed to get out of this rut!

  7. says

    There’s no time like the present. Saying you’ll do something tomorrow almost always guarantees that you won’t get around to it.

    Today, I’m working on building a few landing pages that links up to some of the best content around specific categories on our site. Then, off to finish creating a drip campaign for subscribers. Then, I think I’ll have some Sushi for lunch and get back to the grind 😉

  8. says

    Today has been a very productive day. I’m giving myself a prize for beating procrastination this week.

    I will print out your words of wisdom and leave it on my desk just in case things change tomorrow. 😉

    Thanks Robert!

  9. says

    Oh very nice. I like this. What most people don’t get is that procrastination is really a symptom of perfectionism, fear of success or maybe fear of failure. Procrastination is never really the problem – it is merely an excuse to not deal with the problem! Thanks for sending this S.O.S. message out today.

  10. says

    Very well said. Postponing things to tomorrow is like the proverbial procrastination. Although there is no black and white distinction between actually/intentionally leaving things to tomorrow or taking care of the more pressing priorities today so that tomorrow you can do what you want to do (I agree, sometimes it becomes a vicious loop but it doesn’t have to be). But yes, as Chris Brogan (it was him, right?) has rightly mentioned somewhere, you need escape velocity if you really want to do something other than spending your life in the daily grind.

  11. says

    This was a fantastic and succinct post. Procrastination isn’t as big of a problem for me as distractions are. I too often have good intentions but get off on rabbit trails – especially since a lot of my work is on the computer. But I am going back to my to do list now AND I am going to get my new training website worked on TODAY!

  12. says

    Love this post, Robert.

    People always laugh when they ask me to do something and say it can be done whenever, and I say no, I’m going to do it right now, because that’s the only time when it will get done. But it’s true. Otherwise it joins the giant pile of stuff I kinda wish I was getting to.

    Writers need to write. Just do it, today.

    The Kabbalists say to remember that we don’t kill time — time kills us. We have a finite amount of it, and don’t know the quantity we’ll have.

    So do the important stuff today.

  13. says

    Those words are so true. As a matter of fact, today I started taking my online classes that I´ve been putting off for the past 6 months. Classes that might take my career in a new direction – the direction I want it to go. Reading this post right now was the best thing I could´ve done to keep me going, keep me getting what I want. Thank you for that inspiration!

  14. says

    TODAY is THE “NEW” Beginning – Loved this post for it was intended for both me and my daughter. She is a dedicated writer and she writes everyday hours and hours of writing. It was intended for me for I am in the process of building – Building “FAST TRACK” housing for women and their children……

    So thank you for the reminder of not putting off what you can do TODAY!

    In gratitude,
    Nancy

  15. Doug Crouch says

    This is one of the best blog posts I’ve ever read and it applies to all artists, not just writers. Thank you. I’m printing it out and hanging it on my wall to remind me daily.

  16. says

    Hei Robert!

    Great post:) I always admire people who want to do things today and right now:) Just had such a case today when I was about to postpone an important activity to tomorrow but my friend asked necessary why:) So we did it today.

    Thanks for inspiration and reminding me the importance of TODAY!

  17. says

    Fantastic post and absolutely spot on. Hope you don’t mind … I posted a link to it on my own blog as it’s something EVERYONE I know should read, whether a writer or not. Bravo!

  18. says

    Today I will launch my blog even with just a few posts and do an outline for that article I have over due and need to file this week!

  19. says

    G’Day Robert,
    You remind me of something I heard Bob Proctor say on video about 15 years ago: “Do the thing to get the energy to do the thing.” Thanks

    Make sure you have fun
    Regards
    Leon

  20. says

    “Tomorrow reaches deep into your wallet and takes exactly what it wants.”

    What an awesome word picture. That’s one of those lines to which I think, “Wow, I wish I’d written that!”

    For me the illusion of Tomorrow, what I’ll finally do, be, experience one day (deep, expressive sigh), is born out of Fear. And Fear is a sneaky foe. It tells me, “You can’t do it. Look what happened in the past. You failed.” Or, worse yet, nothing happened because, “You didn’t even try.”

    Or, even more paralyzing is when I succumb to this Futility of Forecasting. How will I get this done? How can I afford it? Where will the funds come from? What if … (oh, crap. Yeah. the “what ifs.”) What if I write it, create it, design it … build it … and nobody comes? There’s no line of cars. Nobody notices. Nobody cares. It doesn’t make any money.

    I’ve just spent how many hours, days, weeks on it? What if THAT was the. totally. wrong. thing. to. do?

    Once allowed, these thoughts seemingly unconsciously push today’s todos on to tomorrow’s. And then again. And then it’s a habit.

    I have a quote on my desk. It’s one of those that’s been there so long that it’s a fixture that’s lost its immediacy: “The better I use today, the more likely tomorrow will be bright.”

  21. says

    Today is a bitch… But I’m going to bookmark this post and come back to it every time I find myself saying, “I’ll get to it tomorrow…” Thanks for the butt kicking!!!

  22. says

    Mr. Bruce: As my childhood chiropractor (half-joke) scared me straight into strengthening exercises at a very young age, you have instilled the proper urgency to always hold on to our paper and pen, through the elements, through the hours, as we type… today! I enjoy your posts regularly; thank you kindly for moving me to ‘must-comment’ on this your latest poignant remark! :)

  23. says

    I’m fishing out a story to revise for CWC – Redwood Writers’ public reading for this Saturday.
    Plus writing a new scene for book 2 of my Dog Leader Mystery series, and must shape up my 2nd draft on a blog post that I researched and started yesterday.

    Thanks for the reminder. Write, right, writing!

  24. says

    Great post Robert,

    I try to follow the same formula and each time I got successful. Tried many things to work on tomorrow but nothing worked so far.

    Another important thing, when you concentrate on today you enjoy the moment and don’t get stressed out about tomorrow. :)

    Thank you for sharing such an important point in a very inspiring way.

  25. Alexis Noire says

    This!
    “Today is not always sexy.

    Today does not always feel comfortable.

    Today has many demands, but …

    Today is all you’ve been given.”

    I shall tattoo this on some place visible. Ok, not really, but they’re definitely the words to write by

  26. says

    I know that I have been thinking of today/ tomorrow for awhile. That is why I decided that it was important to write a few blog posts to have on hand in advance. There will always be unforeseen obstacles somewhere down the road and the best way I know of to deal with those obstacles is to anticipate them as best I can and prepare when times are good.

  27. says

    Actually, we are mortgaging the future, and stealing the now when we say “tomorrow.”

    There is a certain arrogance involved that implies we KNOW what tomorrow will be. We don’t. Also a certain fear, and when fear walks in the door, adios creativity.

    Thank you for the wonderful post.

    Meredith Blevins

  28. Daquan Wright says

    Yes, I love this post!

    So many people get stuck in tomorrow, because we are perfectionist/creative types. But sometimes you just need to “get” a product out to a world. There’s always time for revisions and correcting errors, but you can’t get anywhere if you fail to even get started.

    I don’t have my website up right now, but I am developing up. I’m blogging as soon as My three primary pages are finalized. :)

    As for what I am doing today….some Left 4 Dead/programming some basic JavaScript. =P

  29. says

    I’m guilty of putting off my e-mail campaign (seems to be pretty common), so today, I think I’ll find enough e-mails for the next 2 weeks, and schedule them to be sent.

    Thanks for the nudge!

  30. says

    Yikes! It is nearly ll a.m. and I haven’t begun on the chapter I need to write to meet my deadline. Too many interesting things on email and the internet–like yours. Thanks–I am going to click on my chapter and get with it!

  31. says

    I will do it all. Like Larry Bird used to for the Celtics. Because that’s all there is to do – all of it.

    One thing at a time though!

    I love the urgency, Robert. Thank you for reminding us.

    Peter

  32. says

    Excellent article. Most people don’t achieve their goals because of the excuses and fears that exist in their own minds. These insidious roadblocks are created within their own minds. Fear of failure or ridicule. Or perhaps a lack of confidence and conviction.

    As they saying goes “why put off till tomorrow what you can do today,” is still relevant as ever, and is the difference between people to do.. and those who never will.

  33. says

    I wish to finish my article , because I have great ideas, but what can I do when the article needs documentation and I can’t seem to find what I need, it drives me mad 😀 so this when procrastination appears, any suggestions are much appreciated 😉

  34. says

    As I wrote earlier that one of the biggest things I get out from reading copyblogger is the “coaching factor”. It is the enthusiasm that I get from reading the posts.

    This time you are late though.

    I opened your e-mail and read this entry only after I finished and published my latest blog entry.

    Thank you anyway!

  35. says

    Love this and needed it!

    What am I doing today? .. working on an eBook at the moment …

    Thanks for the motivation to keep going and not leaving the work for tomorrow :)

  36. says

    Today is my birthday (30) so I am going to sit back and enjoy it with the most important person in the world, my wife.

    Live and love life fully each and every day!!

  37. says

    What a kick in the butt of a post – thanks for it!

    I start each day with showing gratitude for what I have as this helps me focus on things I have vs. things I don’t. It’s also a great way to put yourself in a positive state to accomplish or do work that really matters.

    Today:

    I’m going to inspire 2 friends to do what inspires them.

    What I’ve done today already (did work that matters on a passive income biz, finished a proposal for a client project and did my daily morning meditation and Kettle belt workout).

    Loved this post, I’m going to remind myself of this each day before I kick start my day.

  38. says

    I really needed to read this. From now on, I don’t have any Todays or Tomorrows left to waste. I keep on saying that I’ll get back to writing after I finish reading this, that or the other blog post. I’m glad I read this one, but it’s the last I’ll read today before I get back to my writing..

  39. LaughsHeal.com says

    Robert, I love this post!
    You did a superb job of conceptualizing thoughts into a powerful message!
    I am motivated and inspired by both what you wrote and how you wrote it.
    Well done!

  40. says

    Robert,

    This is fantastic. I’m going to give it another read before I print it and post it by my desk.

    Thank you!

  41. tj says

    In brevity and inspiration, this post is an art.

    Bravo, Bruce. I’m off to take care of some things …

  42. says

    I do not like leaving one line comments, but TJ above me is right. It is art in it’s brevity and inspiration. It is succinct and needs no comment from anyone- its that good and succinct in its delivery and message.

    I’m blown away.

  43. says

    This post reminds me of the old saying in the music business:

    “The audition is today!”

    Meaning, how well you perform in your audition (whenever it is) all depends on how well you practice today.

    Thanks for the post, and thanks for the inspiration!

  44. Jen Belyea says

    I believe in always pushing myself a little further than I feel like going. This goes along with that. Make at least one step toward your goals every single day!

  45. says

    What a great post to remind us that procrastination will lead to the poor house. It’s usually at its worst after a vacation or national holiday. I still have trouble with Tomorrow’s two cousins: Soon and Later. :)

  46. says

    I’ve always said how much I don’t want to be one of those writers who is known, not by her books, but known because she is always writing that novel, but never completing it. So I’m writing. I’m doing. Great blog!

  47. says

    Robert, you have inspired me! The printed post is posted on my computer for daily reading. Thanks for sharing!

    Oh, today I will be shoot the video for my online course for small businesses.

  48. says

    Great article Robert – very though provoking. I skim through a lot of blogs during the day, very few make me stop and read the whole article – I read this one three times so far – far fewer make be feel like stopping to comment. Thanks for sharing, focusing, and inspiring.

  49. says

    Great post Robert. You have struck a nerve today. I will be printing this out as a reminder to myself to get off my butt and write. I am sick of turning up at my Writers Group meetings with nothing to share. That and dragging my feet on finishing my new website. Thank you for a very powerful message.

  50. says

    Hi Robert,

    Excellent!

    It’s difficult to grasp this concept: time is an illusion. Time is man’s way of adding some form of order to his day, based on the movement of the sun and the moon.

    There is only Now. Now is all that ever existed. The future will always stand you up. Live and act in the present for the present is all we have.

    Bears do not check calendars to see if it’s time to hibernate. Birds don’t do the same, to migrate. Only people, with their consciousness, create the concept of time, and proceed to put off things according to numbers on a calendar or watch.

    Thanks for sharing your inspiration Robert!

    RB

  51. George nosa says

    Great article,i think every one of us knows quite well about that but the problem is acting on it -it’s always easy to act on what we feel than what we think is right.Well i believe since we’re the ones that’s going to have to do it,let’s summon courage and do it anyway and remember not tommorow;today.
    …and miss sonia,i didn’t get all the articles sent to me.

  52. says

    It’s not the word.

    It’s the investment of energy in the concept which the word represents.

    Drop the concept, and there is no tomorrow.

    Which I think may have been your point.

    Zen aside though, this is a cool post.

    Thankyou Robert

  53. says

    Right now I am going to work on my TITLES! The title of this post alone is inspiring…very intriguing, made me want to read the article. Thanks!

  54. says

    When I finally sold my book to a publisher last year and they gave me 3 months to complete the manuscript (!!), I quickly learnt that the best way to conduct my day was to get out of bed, make a cup of tea….get back into bed, pick up my lap top and start writing. No mucking around, just straight in there. By 9am you’ve done something good and it sets you up for the rest of the day. So, I concur!

  55. says

    Someone once told me that procrastination is the biggest country in the world. It is my worst problem and a huge barrier to my writing life. How do I put action into practice on a regular basis and grasp today? Thank you for reminding me.

  56. says

    It seems I hold some sort of record here. I not only don’t put it off until tomorrow, I put it off until a new week begins, next Monday. What sort of an arrogant liar does that make me out to be? One of the worst I suspect. Thank you for the jolt Robert, I have also shared this with quite a few of my friends on Facebook and they are in awe of your abilities to cut to the chase and give us all a mental shake up. Thank you for this!

  57. says

    Great post Robert!
    I live each day to it’s fullest.
    I set goals, I fail, I work towards new horizons, I succeed, I inspire, I get inspired, I love, I don’t cry (ha!), I challenge myself and see what I can accomplish while I’m here.
    I have no limits except in my mind.
    When I meet my maker and he asks if I lived up to my potential, I will be able to say “YES!”
    -AJ

  58. says

    Procrastination is a sneaky enemy to deal with.

    Great article, and appropriately blunt.

    Tonight I’m editing the first chapters of my novel, because who knows what tomorrow will bring.

  59. says

    this post might be 2 days old, but it just hit me today. I always to do the tomorrow thing. It’s constantly a to-do list for when I wake up. and it never ends. No more tomorrows.

  60. says

    I’m going to find out what I need to do to get Medtopicwriter transferred to my hosting company, build on Genesis. It’s something I’ve been putting off because I perceive it as a daunting (and expensive) task. Your post inspired me. It’s not going to get any less daunting or expensive by continuing to wait around and make excuses. Thanks, Bruce! Love that your bio says you’re an ‘amateur recluse’. How does one actually pull of ‘amateur recluse’?

  61. says

    I just did my post for the week, and a couple of valuable comments! I did it! I would not do it without this post. Yes, it is true. It was itching me, biting me, I felt like I am worth nothing until I finished my post.

    I do not know if it is good or bad, and I do not care. What is important is that I am now moving along trying to see how to do all the bells and whistles to collect more audience to my blog. And this is the next step, and agin I do not care NOW how many people I will get, I am not at that point, I just keep on moving. Thank you!

  62. Amy McCoy says

    =-) I love this. We put off so many things. All we have is now…

    Thanks for this little inspiring reminder.

    amymccoymusic.com
    facebook.com/fb.music.amymccoy

  63. says

    Great article – thanks for sharing. I’m a pastor and I’m going to use some of this in an upcoming sermon – much appreciated.

  64. says

    I’d like to comment, but I must go write. (Which is a bit of a fib, because I just spent 20 minutes reading as many Robert Bruce stories as I could before conviction set in! But now, I really must go write.)

  65. says

    I have some business ideas and plans I needed to put into place and I need to call a couple of people to get the ball rolling. Just about everyday for the last week, I have been telling myself “I will do it tomorrow” NO MORE!! I am going to get it done TODAY!!!


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