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How to Defeat the Siren Call of Procrastination

April 7th, 2011 No comments

We have all fallen victim to the procrastination bug.  I call it a bug, because like the flu it can make us sick and tired.  Sick and tired of not excelling, not making enough money, not having our projects done on time, and stress.

People procrastinate in different degrees.  From a once in a while thing, to complete break down of results.  Why do people procrastinate?

One reason may be, they don’t see a value or adverse consequences in having something done in the time frame it needs to be completed.  For instance, If a teacher gives the student a credit for a paper even if it’s a day late, is there an urgency to get it done on time?

Many times, procrastination stems from not being able to see or visualize the end result.  If we can’t see the end result and how good it will be, or feel, when it is completed, where is the motivation to do it?

Another reason for putting things off  is not being invested in the outcome.  When it’s something we really don’t care about and haven’t invested any part of ourselves in the outcome, do we feel compelled to follow through?

Habitual procrastination can be a lack of self discipline or laziness.  Or, a lack of motivation to start or complete the project or task.  I know people who put off things they say they really, really want to do.  They can’t force themselves to make the time to do it.  A hundred other things seem to have a siren type hypnotic call; the unwashed dishes, laundry to fold, checking email one more time.  We follow the call and end up doing nothing about what should matter most.

Procrastination becomes a form of self sabotage.  When someone is overcome too many times by the call of procrastination, they realize it has resulted in a life of unfinished projects and mediocrity.  Then, out pops the cat o’ nine tails and the self flogging begins.  This results in a downward spiral of disastrous consequences.

Here are three things I have found which help me recover from the sickness of procrastination:

WRITE IT DOWN

I write down on paper what needs to be accomplished.  This is a way to clearly and concretely picture my project goals and tasks.  When I write down my list of things I want to accomplish, I become more invested in the outcome.

PRIORITIZE IT

After I write it down, I prioritize it.  There are, often, many things needing to be done.  If I write it down I can prioritize  the important tasks.  It helps create the steps needed to accomplish the task.  Prioritizing helps to weed out the less important tasks and focus on what needs to be done.

DO SOMETHING!

The most important step is to do something! Take action!  Anything to create a forward motion.  The hardest step in getting anything done is starting.  I know when I start a writing project, I pull up my notepad and stare at the white virginal screen.  I will stare indefinitely at it with nothing appearing on the screen, unless I move forward by typing something….anything…to get me started.  By starting, I gain focus and a sense of forward momentum.  If it’s not how I want it to read, I can always go back and fix it, but there won’t be anything to fix if I don’t get started.

Next time, when confronted by the bug of procrastination instead of fallen ill to its siren song, try writing it down, prioritizing it, and start doing something.  You may find the path cleared for excellence and less stress.  Try it, you’ll like it!

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11 Behaviors That Make Time Management a Nightmare

October 25th, 2010 5 comments

Time management is a subject we all deal with.   Each of us have behaviors that can make managing our time a night mare!   Time is a  free commodity which can seem plentiful, especially when we are doing something we don’t enjoy.  It drags by, second by second, as if Father Time was dragging an elephant around on his coat tails.  I remember watching the clock in school as it slowly made its way to the dismissal bell, thinking I was stuck in the twilight zone of frozen time.

Equally as confusing is when we are enjoying ourselves or crunching to meet a deadline.  Time flies by in a blur.  Harvey MacKay says it best,
“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.”

Where does our time go?  To find out where our time goes, we must first recognize the behavior that’s stealing it from us.  Here is a list of eleven notorious time thieves.

1.  Improperly prioritizing our work
2.  Letting less important task such as email consume our time
3.  Unable to say “no” to others
4.  “I’ll do it later” mindset or procrastinating
5.  Poor crisis management skills
6.  Not finishing something before going on to the next
7.  Day dreaming
8.  Feeling guilty and defeated for past unfinished projects
9.  Stress
10. Lack of quality sleep
11. Sucked into other people’s drama or letting other people distract us.

Do any of these seem familiar?  It is easy to become unfocused and off track when we have any of these nipping at our heals.  Setting goals can help us focus and get back on track.

Time really isn’t something we can manage.  We can’t control the passage of the hours and minutes of our day.  We can only manage our use of time.  The eleven points can  only be overcome by using self discipline.  But, none of  this will happen without, first,  identifying your own personal self limiting behavior.  If this feels like a challenge, you may need a second set of objective eyes in the form of  a coach or mentor.

After we have contemplated and located our own personal time thief, we can start behavior modification to get back in control of our time.  Leave me a comment and let me know what you do to overcome these time bandits.

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Time Management Are you the Master or the Slave?

July 7th, 2009 No comments

hourglassOne of the most precious commodities you have is your time.  You can use it wisely and be its master, or you can be a slave to it.  It is perishable and irreplaceable.  It can’t be saved it can only be reallocated from other areas of your life.  Once it is gone it is gone.  How you spend this precious thing is your choice.  Taking a few moments to think about how you use it is a wise use of your time.  Here are a few tips to help you.

Be Clear About Your Why

All work requires time.  All meaningful relationships also require time.  That being said it’s time to  reflect on what is important to you.  Once you have developed your list of important things, you can begin to set your goals around them.

There are three major areas of your life.  The first should be your personal and family goals, better known as your “why goals”.  After all, isn’t this the reason why you get out of bed in the morning?  Why you go to your job to earn money?  Isn’t this why frustration occurs,when there isn’t enough money for what you want to do?  Isn’t there some frustration about the demands of your time that is taking you away from this important area of your life? The essence of time management is to achieve these personal and family goals.

Decide on Your “Why” Goals

What are the tangible and intangible goals of your family, and for you personally?  The tangible goal could be a bigger house, a newer car, your dream vacation, a boat, a healthy retirement, or anything that cost money. The intangible goal could be building a better relationship with you partner and children, which means spending more time with them.  As the saying goes, “How does your children and spouse spell love?  It is T-I-M-E.”  Or, maybe, you would like more time to yourself to read, or take long walks.

Achieving Your “How to” Goals

The second area is your “how to” or better known as your business and career goals.  The “how to” goals are the way to reach your “why” goals.  This is the area where you would improve your skills for your money making abilities such as a job or career.  You will need to decide how much money you will need for those “why goals” and what you can do to accomplish those money making goals.  This is where you can become unbalanced.  If you spend all your time on making money and your career and don’t pay enough time to your personal and family goals you risk distancing yourself on the most important things in your life.  Business and career goals are absolutely essential, but must be balanced with family and personal goals.

Growing With Personal Development Goals

These goals are about the inner you.  Your life is a mirror of what is going on inside your mind.  You will never get further in your life if you don’t develop the inner you.  You can have the life of your dreams if you are willing to put in the work and the time it takes to make yourself into the person who those dreams are a fit.  This is where self improvement comes into play. You must build yourself if you are going to build your life.

The key to having the life you desire is to be clear on what you want, put the things in place to support your goals and developing yourself as a person to fit that life.  Managing your time is a crucial aspect to all of it.
If you don’t master your time it will make you its slave.

The purpose of this blog is to enrich your life with self improvement information.  Please leave me a comment about what you enjoyed in this posting and maybe, what you would like to see covered here!

After all, freedom comes with responsibility.