Are you always running late on time? Do you wish for a couple of extra hours in a day? Are you always loaded with a TO-DO list which has so few check boxes ticked so far?
Well well well! You are diagnosed with a ‘disease’ called procrastination.
What is procrastination?
The word procrastination comes from the Latin word, ‘Pro’ meaning “in favour of” and ‘Cras’ meaning “Tomorrow”. It is defined therefore as, “The act or the habit of delaying or putting things off”. No doubt it is a one way ticket to stress, anxiety and pressure.
Procrastination is present in most of us and leads to a problem every now and then. It has become a major issue for students as well as professionals alike in managing time. Nor only we end up wasting the present time we have in slumping around for unimportant things but end up in a havoc situation with tasks done hastily and carelessly. (And in some unlucky situations, receiving the tag; REDO).
H Jackson Brown Jr once said:, ”Don’t you say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vince, and Albert Einstein.”
The key to happiness, satisfaction, joy is to develop the habit of eating our frog first thing in the morning (doing the deadliest first.).
Brian Tracy says this is a learnable skill and we can acquire it by practise. According to him here are the great ways to stop procrastinating and get more things done faster:
- Set the table : Decide exactly what we want. Write out our goals and objectives before we begin.
- Plan every day in advance : Think on paper. Every minute we spend in planning can save our five or ten minutes in execution.
- Apply the 80/20 rule to everything : 20% of our activities will account for 80% of our results.
4. Practice creative procrastination : Since we can’t do everything, we must learn to deliberately put off those tasks that are of low value so that we have enough time to do the few things that really count.
5. Focus on key result areas : Identify and determine those results that we absolutely, positively have to get to do our job well, and work on all day long.
6. The law of three : Identify the three things we do in our work that account for 90% of our contribution, and focus on getting them done before anything else.
7. Prepare thoroughly before we begin : Have everything we need at hand before we start. Assemble all papers, information, tools, work materials etc. we might require so we can get started and keep going.
8. Take it one oil barrel at a time : We can accomplish the biggest and most complicated job if we just complete it one step at a time.
9. Leverage our key skills : The more knowledgeable and skilled we become at our key tasks, the faster we start them and the sooner we get them done.
10. Identify our key constraints : Determine the bottlenecks or choke points, internal or external, that set the speed at which we achieve our most important goals, and focus on alleviating them.
11. Put the pressure on ourselves : Imagine that we have to leave town for a month, and work as if we had to get all our major tasks completed before we leave.
12. Motivate ourselves into action : Be our own cheer leader. Look for the good in every situation. Focus on solution than problem.
13. Get out of the technological time sinks : Use technology to improve the quality of our communications, but do not allow ourselves to become a slave to it.
14. Slice and dice the task : Break large, complex tasks down into bite-sized pieces, and then do just one small part of the task to get started.
15. Develop a sense of urgency : Make a habit of moving fast on our key tasks. Become known as a person who does things quickly and well.
I am sure you must have come across several articles teaching us how to stop procrastination. Sometimes, we follow it, and some other times we loose track after a certain time. It’s all about being disciplined and strong willed regarding managing this crucial aspect of our life in an efficient way. The best way to do it is just start the new regime with immediate effect. Once we are successful in overcoming procrastination – ” the real Monster in time management “, we will find more time at our disposal and we will emerge as a winner in every phase of our life.