Dealing With Procrastination

Today is Wednesday, so this post is on outstanding performance.

As you know, all outstanding performers have three things in common.

  1. Outstanding performers are technically competent.
  2. Outstanding performers set and achieve high goals.
  3. Outstanding performers are well organized.

Well organized people manage time well.  The other day, I came across an interesting quote on time from Luanne Oakes, PhD: “Time is within your control”.  My first reaction was “maybe in your world, Luanne, but try mine for a while and then we’ll see what you have to say.”

However, as I thought about it, I realized that Dr. Oakes is right – time is within my control.  I know that we live in a crazy information age where business life and home life are a blur of activity, deadlines, pressures, and projects. 

In this always available, always on call age, it’s hard to believe that time is within your control. But it is. You can control your time if you work at it. 

I realize that emergencies and requests for bosses, coworkers and customers can throw off even the best planned schedule.  However, if you allow a little slack in your day, you can usually handle the occasional emergency without too much upset. 

When it comes to time management, I agree with Pogo – “we have met the enemy and he is us.”  In other words, I find that I am the biggest cause of my own time management problems.  Procrastination is my biggest time waster.  Here is what I do to combat procrastination.

First off, I spent time figuring out when and why I procrastinate.  I learned that I tend to procrastinate when I have a big project looming.  I sometimes (often) find it difficult to take the first.  This happens because I sometimes find myself feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the task – like beginning a new book.

Once I figured out why I procrastinate I decided to do two things.  First, I break all large projects into small chunks.  It’s a lot easier for me start writing the introduction or first chapter of a book than it is t start writing a book.  I realize this is a semantic difference that exists only in my head, but it works for me.  I have learned that if I think of a large project as a series of smaller ones, I am less likely to procrastinate.

Second, I always begin big projects late in the afternoon.  I’ve learned that early morning and late afternoon are my most productive and creative times.  Therefore, I start big projects late in the afternoon when my energy and creativity are high (I guess I catch a second wind).  If I’m at my office, I even leave my work up on the computer screen.  That way, I get right back to it the next morning.  This works for me for a couple of reasons.  First, I build momentum for the following day in the late afternoon.  Second, picking up where I’ve left off is always easier for me than starting anew.

I realize that all I’m doing is tricking myself.  But I have been able to beat procrastination by tricking myself for years.  It works for me.  Common sense says I should keep on doing it until I find something that works better.

What works for you when it comes to beating procrastination?  Use the comments section to let me and the folks who read this blog know.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website www.BudBilanich.com to subscribe to my monthly ezine and for more common sense.  Check out my other blog: www.CommonSenseGuy.com for common sense advice on leading people and running a small business.

I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.

Bud

PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand – my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to www.FirstGiving.com/TheCommonSenseGuy to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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