Two weeks ago, a client and I were discussing (1) his inability to prioritize his work and (2) how he spends his time. We came up with a to-do list and set deadlines. He met one deadline, but he didn’t complete the other three things on his to-do list until this week.
He delayed the work because he didn’t want to do it. He finally completed the remaining tasks less than an hour before we met—because he didn’t want to have to tell me that the projects weren’t finished.
I like to motivate people, but not like that.
Procrastination is an art form for about half the U.S. population. Procrastinators, and I am one, are pros at putting things off. Why do something today when you can put it off until tomorrow?
For procrastinators, the Internet is like a candy store. It’s virtually unlimited in terms of finding stuff to do rather than do what we should be doing.
So, where’s the help for procrastinators? Here are a few ideas that might work.
Set 2-3 achievable goals every day and meet them. Don’t try for meeting 8-10 daily goals. That’s what the other half of the population does. A procrastinator needs to learn to handle two or three things well before adding more to the list.
Successful people use their time well. When an urgent task threatens to pull them away from what they’re doing, they don’t rush into it just because it seems urgent. They always ask: Which of these two things is higher on my list of priorities?
They turn off the phone from time to time. Can you get more done by leaving a voice message and turning the phone off during certain periods of the day? The telephone is one of the most insidious thieves of our time. It’s urgent but rarely important. It shoves out the less urgent but more important things.
Only check email three times a day—when you get in, at lunch, and an hour before leaving. Don’t let the email lure you away from meeting your daily goals.
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