Picking up right where we left off with last week’s article….
#4: From Deadlines to “Dumb-lines”
Procrastination is in large part “putting off the doing of” something that is significant but perhaps it is perceived to be completed or evaluated at some point in the future.
The brain convinces the mind it doesn’t need to do “it” now because it is not required RIGHT NOW.
This can be a good reason to re-prioritize.
It can also be an excellent reason to DO IT NOW.
If the priority is high and the value of the project is quite high, then it probably makes sense getting it done now vs. later.
But because people almost always live in the moment (vs. the future) it becomes easy to postpone projects until “deadlines” come into view.
A nice reframe on deadlines is “dumb-lines.”
Waiting til the calendar has been turned to yet another page is not smart if a task has a high priority.
Determine for yourself how you can best see the deadline as being moved up to tomorrow or today or next week, instead of the end of the month.
In managing your time, there is one specific necessity….
Remember, Time is an Asset
People in the business world have a saying that time is both your greatest asset and your greatest liability. With each tick and each tock, time passes by and you can never get it back. Time should not be wasted, it should be OPTIMIZED.
#5: Take Action and Set Big BUT DOABLE Targets
After you have created your own lists and produced a time management plan, it is time for you to ACT. Words or thoughts alone would not produce any significant changes into your current situation and only through acting on what you have planned out can you hope to see a better result in the future.
It is one thing to acknowledge a problem, and quite another to be willing to stand up and take control of your life.
There’s no point in saying, “Yes I have a problem”, and not taking any action to curb it or cure the problem.
It is simply a matter of having a “DO IT UNTIL IT IS DONE” attitude.
Don’t think in terms of procrastinating, think in terms of getting STUFF DONE NOW, regardless of the fact that YOU WILL PROBABLY FEEL STRESS OR DISCOMFORT in jumping in and taking action.
You have a dozen tasks to complete, but you need to pick one.
I’ve learned that when 20 things need to be done and you feel overwhelmed, the answer is to GRAB ONE and DO IT NOW.
Draw up a GET DONE TODAY list, and mark each item as A/B/C/D Do the A/B tasks that are most important first. Plan your time wisely and allow for short coffee breaks, which are just as important for you to unwind and relax your mind so that you don’t get too stressed.
I like 15-minute pillow stops every few hours.
I can pound out a lot of words or stuff in a half day but my brain can become mush easily. When it does, I get up and find my pillow and bury my face in it for 15 minutes, then get back to what’s at hand.
There is everything good about taking 10 when you need it.
#7:Make Sufficient Sleep and Rest a Priority too
Sure, you’ll pull an occasional all-nighter, especially if you’re early on in your entrepreneurial ventures. There was a time I pulled a couple of all nighters per month.
But that’s fine, as long as sleep matters.
Most adults need, and I mean need, 7 hours of sleep each night.
I’m not going to stay on this forever, but sleep is crucial to creativity, productivity, clear thinking and good decision making.
You can only go so long with a screwed up sleep schedule before your work suffers.
I generally don’t sleep but a max of six hours each night, but I often can get a nap in half-way through my day where I can get some REM sleep.
And it does matter.
Even for people who are getting seven hours each night, a 15-minute break every ninety minutes or so can be a good idea.
How do you know when to break?
You break when you have read the same paragraph five times and you don’t remember what it said in any of them.
Your brain is full, memory loaded and you are in need of a memory dump into your pillow, rebooting the system and coming back with nothing in your cache.
(I think we nailed that metaphor, eh?)
So, let’s just say 7 hours of sleep each day or night, or whatever. But don’t be running around sleep deprived for a week or your productivity will stop as if you were simply being inert again.
Simply put, everyone needs sleep but yes, you can have the occasional skipping of 2-3 hours of your sleep but if you turn that into a habit, your lack of sleep will eventually catch up with you and you will find that you no longer are operating at your optimal performance. And no matter how much harder you work, there is a cap to the quality of your work performance.
With this said, I am not enforcing the doctor’s prescription of 8 hours of sleep daily with no interruptions and variation of sleeping patterns, rather, it is about knowing what your sleep patterns are.
Some people need that solid 8 hours of sleep before they can perform optimally in work the next day, whereas for others, they can do the same with just 6 hours of sleep. Others prefer to spread their nap time throughout the day, taking short naps now and then.
The late nights/early mornings may be due to business meetings, product completions or functions or whatever, be it personal or for your business, but you have to remember that health comes first.
#8: Be Flexible to Change
Maintaining a ‘GET STUFF DONE’ list is essential for every successful, productive person. You need to write this stuff down and you need to line it out when you complete a project, task or appointment. The process keeps you on track and acts as a bit of a reward system as well.
You do not have to wait for years to see the results, Just weeks or months will do and after which, you can tweak it slightly or modify it after reviewing its performance for that period of time. This way, you can come up with the best plan for yourself and maximize your time and productivity in everything you do.
Especially for businesses, DO NOT cast your plan into stone right after producing it, business markets are not fixed and are liable to change, and obviously your plan has to change with them! Be flexible when running your own business and you will enjoy your business and your life even more than before.
#9: Reward Yourself
It is impossible to suddenly stop procrastinating. Understand that it is as much a bad habit similar to smoking or drugs, and you need consistent protracted effort to overcome this problem. Set yourself realistic goals, and draw up a chart to show yourself improving.
Give yourself rewards for finishing IMPORTANT tasks on time and before deadlines. With regards to your responsibilities, make realistic plans on how to go about doing them. Do not expect yourself to finish a 10,000 word project in a day. Space out your preparation and actual work over a reasonable amount of time.
#10: Leverage Negative Drivers
I’ve shown you the research before. There is nothing to suggest that a magical avoidance of all your (realistic) fears and anxieties will help you to keep them at bay. And in fact the very avoidance of those thoughts could create failure to take the necessary and effective action.
So, if there’s some negative consequence you really want to avoid.
Let it DRIVE YOU!
Turn that fear up and let it COMPEL you to ACTION!
#11: Be Well Equipped
Part of getting any task done is having the right tools to do it. Make sure that you are well equipped mentally as well as physically. If it is an assignment that is due, make sure that you have done your research, or spoken to the clients, supervisors, tutors or superiors that you should have spoken to. Draw up a schedule to help you plan out what needs to be done, and what you have to do to accomplish your task.
Make sure your physical environment is set up to support the activities you need. Organized, clean, attractive, ergonomic….whatever you need it to be.
#12: Manage Distractions
Some people can move forward, be focused, stay focused and accomplish projects, regardless of the distractions around them.
This is in fact one of the KEY predictors of success in life.
Right now I’m watching a McCartney concert as I write this. It’s from the tour I saw a few years ago at the MGM in Vegas. It gives me energy, makes me feel good. Sometimes I take my eyes off Coffee for 30 seconds and my fingers keep typing. The better I feel the more I get done. The better the final product.
Now, if you find yourself going to the DVD for an hour, then you’re going to have to set up your work space so that you are not distracted.
If you work in a “cubicle,”face your desk away from the door to your cubicle so that you aren’t constantly distracted by people walking by or by things going on outside your work space. Chit chat will steal time from you need to get stuff done. There are people who love you at home that want to see you. You can talk to them…or Mildred at the office.
Take your pick.
If you can plan to make phone calls during certain times of the day, do so, and for the rest of the day send your calls to voicemail and turn off your pager. I don’t take or make phone calls except in rare cases. If you can avoid the same, do that.
If you like to work with music in the background, bring a CD player to work. Wear an iPod. If something gives you juice, turn it on! Chances are, your boss won’t care if you make him more money.
If ambient noise distracts you in a library or at work, plug in to your head phones and listen to your favorite music (just make it productive music that isn’t too loud or distracting).
Sip your favorite drink, and bring a healthy snack to munch on while you are working. This will ensure that you are not tempted to take too many breaks and waste time or get into conversations with others when you should be working.
Keep your desk and work space clean. Buy a few folders or files and label your projects or topics. File them in a file drawer or desk so that they aren’t all over your work surface.
If you are easily distracted then be certain to put blinders on and filter out everything but the project you must work on and accomplish.
The distraction is always more interesting than the task at hand so you might need a LOT of filters.
Practice doing tasks through distractions and compel yourself to work UNTIL you have COMPLETED the task.
Ignore the distraction. To look at it. Don’t listen to it. Don’t consider it. Think only of the project at hand and do IT.
#13: Master the art of delegation
The art of delegation, it can be both a boon and a bane. There are people who use it as an excuse to slack off and eventually push away all responsibilities from their shoulders to those whom they delegate tasks to. If you do not take notice, this may eventually happen to you as well. The temptation of shrugging off the responsibilities you are required to carry out may be great, but remember, it is still your family and your life at stake here.
Don’t be stupid.
Delegate wisely by sharing responsibilities strategically with others who can effectively carry out the tasks.
If done correctly, it can greatly help you to free up your time and also optimize your time and capacity. Furthermore, one of the positive things about delegation is that there may be other people who are better at doing certain things than you.
In fact…there ARE!
For example, when you delegate jobs to people who work for you, it is evident you would be finding people that are competent in that particular area that you want to delegate to him or her. This way, you not only can free up your time for other things, you also ensure that whatever was delegated is placed into good hands.
Doing otherwise is a big fat headache producer.
Which brings us to:
You are human and remember – they are, too!
- People you delegate to will make mistakes.
- Stupid mistakes.
- And often it will be your own fault.
- You weren’t great at training or management.
It’s often hard to accept that fact, but it is very real. Accept that mistakes will happen and do everything possible to ensure that things get back on track and fixed fast.
This brings us to the end of our series on CARRYING THINGS TO COMPLETION.
Make sure that you are able to plan out the best action plan for yourself, and also produce optimally.
- Get your rest
- Take breaks when needed
- Take a walk every day
- Get focused on WHAT MATTERS in your business as far as PROFITABILITY, and your LIFE as far as success
- Spend time with the people you choose inside and outside of work
- JUMP in and ACT, regardless of how uncomfortable you feel
You do that – and you’ll not only be productive, but you’ll have a good life, too!
I’ve identified 12 of the life patterns which cause us to trip up – and make the same mistakes again and again. To discover which of the 12 patterns you have been the victim of and how to eliminate self-sabotage in your life (or those of your clients) you can pick up the CD program and workbook, LIFESTORMS: The Paradox of Overcoming Self Sabotage to Achieve Love, Power, Money and Happiness.
Lifestorms: 12 Obstacles to Achievement: The Paradox of Overcoming Self Sabotage to Achieve Love, Power, Money and Happiness.
Discover why life often brings you exactly what you don’t want…and how self sabotage can hide around every corner. Some people have guessed at the bizarre nature of self sabotage. Guess no more. Self sabotage is very real in everyone’s life. It is completely devastating and 100% resolvable!
- Do you ever know you should start on a project but don’t?
- Do you have projects that you have started but never finished?
- Do you ever say the one wrong thing at the wrong time?
- Have you ever had things going well in life only to have everything blow up in a day?
- Have you tried to be so careful not to make a mistake that you were shocked when you made a truly costly one?
- Have you ever promised yourself to stay out of trouble in some way only to find yourself in the same trouble or worse again?
Now you can discover your own life patterns so you can eliminate unconscious self sabotage immediately. This program will break the heavy chains that hold you from your dreams and your goals.
This program is the first program ever made public that shows you how to identify specific self sabotaging behaviors and negative life patterns. Better? You can ultimately erase those life patterns and rewrite new “schemas” into your brain that will allow you to meet your goals and experience fulfilling relationships.
Here is what you will learn:
- How to identify which of the 12 negative life patterns you live.
- How to find the triggers of the lifestorms that you just can’t believe you experience.
- How to change the self sabotage into success, happiness or something productive.
- How to remove almost all obstacles between you and your goals.
- How to understand those around you so you don’t push their buttons.
- How to predict your behavior and that of others.
- How to actually achieve your goals so they are more than just a dream.
No one anywhere has ever put such a program on CD. There is not one person anywhere who can’t utilize every minute of this insightful information. These three CD’s are packed with the most powerful tools for getting past life’s roadblocks and personal sabotage ever imagined. Anyone can utilize this information and I personally guarantee that if you follow the instructions you will not experience self sabotaging behavior anymore. Your goals become reality at speeds faster than you ever imagined.