Time management: Two words that strike fear in most people.
You buy a special diary, sync your calendar with that of your colleagues, and plan every minute of your day, but it’s still not enough.
No matter how much you try, it’s quite possible that you don’t get everything done in time. You run late for a meeting, pull an all-nighter to meet a deadline, and wolf down a meal as you commute to work.
Why does this happen? Do you have too much to do, or are you procrastinating?
The Stories You Tell Yourself
We all need to motivate ourselves in some way. It’s true for work, running errands, and doing household chores.
Sometimes, we don’t want to do an activity, so we put it off. We opt to procrastinate. Procrastination could even take the form of doing other tasks instead of coming up with an excuse to not do something.
Other times, we might decide to do something that shouldn’t be a priority. It infringes on our time and quickly ruins a day.
To placate ourselves, we come up with stories (excuses, really) to justify why time isn’t being spent a certain way. Let’s take a look at some of these ideas—they might even be applicable to your life.
The Reward Is Worth It
If you have ever looked at your to-do list and decided to do some quick or easy tasks instead of working on the one item that needs your attention, then you aren’t using your time optimally.
You might feel good ticking off items rapidly because it gives instant gratification, but it isn’t a productive use of your time.
A Heavy Workload Doesn’t Last Forever
You are busy, and you know when you can’t add anything else to your schedule. Yet, it can be tempting to think that the situation is only temporary, so taking on additional responsibilities isn’t such a big deal.
Be realistic with yourself. The busyness will probably continue, and then, you are overreaching.
It’s Only Difficult Once
It’s a common misconception that greater time investment is only necessary once. With every new project or activity, you have to learn about it from scratch.
In reality, each project will present its own challenges. You need to schedule enough time for it; otherwise, you will be too busy.
No One Else Can Do This Work
Another common story is that only you can do specific work at a certain quality level. You refuse to delegate or let others help you, but in the end, you are overworked, and the quality may suffer.
I’ll Put in Extra Time Tomorrow
It’s probably the biggest lie of all: The idea that you can procrastinate today, and catch up on work tomorrow. You will fall behind in your tasks and spend days catching up with it all.
Do You Want a More Productive Day?
Most of us seek a productive day where we get tons done. After all, it’s no fun playing catch-up all the time.
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Focus On Self-Awareness
How many of the previous stories have you told yourself?
It’s okay if it’s one or all of them. You know what they are, so you can start taking action.
Think About Yourself
Take a minute to think about yourself and your time. Consider how you are feeling about your daily responsibilities and how you are coping with everything.
You might feel anxiety or panic about your day, you could feel everything is too much, or this might be the sign you have been waiting for that you need to slow down.
Identify Your Faults
As you reflect on your time and responsibilities, be honest with yourself about what you have been doing wrong. Identify the areas of your life that have been suffering due to your actions.
It can be hard to admit to these things, but you have to do it if you want to move forward in a better way. You need to focus on the future and get the most from every minute of it.
Sort Out Your Day
Now that you know where you are going wrong, you are ready to change the situation. This is an exciting moment! You are finally taking control of your time.
Pay More Attention
Before you do anything, become more mindful of your time. So many times, we run through life and from one activity to the next that we forget all about what we are actually doing.
It’s time to change that; it’s time to make each interaction and task meaningful so that you can get the maximum fulfillment from life.
Identify the Neglected Tasks
First off, think critically about all the responsibilities you have neglected in the past. Make a list of them—even if they are menial—because they could still be important. Understanding what these tasks are allows you to create a plan for dealing with them in the future.
For example, it could be paying bills late, not putting in the hours you promised at a local charity, or not training your staff properly.
Whatever it is, make a note of it. You might even find that some of these tasks only pop into your head days later, so keep a list that you can refer to at any time.
Understand Your Priorities
As you create your list, also take note of all the important tasks you need to do and the responsibilities you may have. You could even jot down activities that you would like to get to but don’t have sufficient time for currently.
Reflect on your responsibilities and tasks. Determine if each one is important, urgent, or not really that vital. Rank them in importance, and determine which ones should be your top priority.
Live With Purpose
You can take back control of your time so that every activity you do is done with meaning and proper effort.
At our Winning the Game of Procrastination training, you will learn the techniques to manage your time better so that you can be wealthier, happier, and more motivated than ever before.
Improve Time Management With Planning
Planning is the one thing you have to do to manage anything in life. It starts with your core values, goals, and creating an action plan to achieve them. From there flows all your other decisions and responsibilities.
Plan in Advance
It doesn’t help to plan your time when you are about to start a week or project—you have to do it in advance.
Determine when you will get to each task that you have on your list, and schedule it in your diary. Consider how frequently you will need to work on it, how much time it will take, and whether it is a routine task that has to be done weekly, monthly, or annually.
As you fill out your schedule, you will see your time starting to take shape. It will reveal to you whether you can take on more responsibilities or whether you have to pull back.
Add a Buffer
After determining how much time each task or project will take, add some extra time. You might think it isn’t necessary or that you have planned sufficient time, but you never know when a delay will take place.
It’s better to overestimate the time needed than to schedule too little. If you do get the item handled quickly, then you have some more time to catch up on other activities or to relax.
There is no way you will get to every task on your list. You have to delegate some of your responsibilities to other people.
If you expect things to be done in a specific manner, then give the other person clear instructions about the task and your expectations. It might take some time to train them, but it will pay off in the future.
Where possible, give the other person some freedom to complete the task. You might be surprised at their ingenuity and abilities. They could even find a faster or better way to do it.
Finally, some responsibilities might not be worth your effort, or you could realize that you simply don’t have time for them. Let the relevant people know that you can no longer assist them.
The same is true of offers from new customers, charitable positions, or other places who want some of your time. Decline respectfully and offer to assist in another way. You could always make a donation or refer them to someone else who could be of help.
Beat Procrastination for Good
The power to change your life lies within the hidden potential of your brain. It is full of ways to improve your life one minute at a time.
We invite you to our once-in-a-lifetime training that will help you to Win the Game of Procrastination. It’s time to say goodbye to procrastination and hello to productivity.