Recently, I’ve received several requests for training in Time Management. In exploring the situations, each client has talked about the fact their people just have too much to do. What’s interesting though is that when we have participants complete the Time Mastery Profile, what surfaces as their #1 area for improvement is Procrastination.
Certainly one of the greatest barriers to success is procrastination. Not dealing with procrastination leads to a pile up of work and a sense of being overwhelmed with too much to do. But once identified, and you have a genuine desire to address it, there are strategies to help you reduce if not eliminate it.
The three primary causes for procrastination that keep surfacing are that we tend to put off:
- 1. things that are difficult,
- 2. things that require tough decisions, and
- 3. things that are unpleasant.
Have you ever noticed how much energy you wasted worrying about completing a project - how repeatedly putting it off caused guilt and stress? And when you finally finished it, you wondered why you had put yourself through all that anxiety? If so, maybe you are interested in finding a few ways to reduce your procrastination habit:
- 1. Analyze why you are putting off doing a specific thing. Are you afraid you don’t know how to do it? Are you avoiding it because something about it is unpleasant? Do you really believe you work better under pressure?
- 2. Get in the habit of organizing your TO DO list into “Important” and “Other” projects.
- 3. Review your TO DO list and see if you can reduce it by delegating any of it to others.
- 4. Break down your largest, most important project into smaller tasks. Focus on one step at a time.
- 5. Set your timer and start on the smaller tasks and see if you can’t create some momentum.
- 6. Set yourself some realistic deadlines and reward yourself when you meet them.
- 7. Understand when you have the most energy in a day and schedule working on your biggest projects during that time.
- 8. Remember there are only two ways to achieve anything. One is to get started, and the second is to work until you finish it.
Well, I guess it’s time to stop procrastinating and get to work on the RFP that has been on my To Do list for the last two weeks – and is due in two days!
Dale Wilcox is co-owner of WATMEC. Dale is a respected board member, former volunteer of the year, and inaugural Chair of the Canadian Society for Training and Development.