Have you noticed that suddenly everyone “wakes up” after Labor Day? I call it the “Back to School” mode. During the summer months, and especially in August, most people are in “Vacation Mode”, so when September hits, everyone realizes we only have four months left of this year and we better get moving.
Are you ready to re-engage and get the most out of this year? The first eight months are gone and the economy is not going to change in the next four months, so what are you going to do to complete the year on a positive note?
Procrastination. We all do it to some extent, but did you know that the degree to which you procrastinate can keep you from success? When coaching my clients on time management issues, undoubtedly procrastination comes up as one of the stumbling blocks to getting things done. Do you make any of these statements?
I work best under pressure.
I’m much more creative when I do things at the last minute.
I have plenty of time. My deadline is not until tomorrow.
So why do we do it? People procrastinate for different reasons. Do any of these ring true for you?
Poor time management, often associated with a distorted sense of the time available
An inability to prioritize tasks
“Biting off more than you can chew” – creating an overload of tasks at a specific time
Not knowing what is required to do the task
Feeling overwhelmed by the task(s)
Fear of failure or not meeting your own standards
Fear of success and its possible consequences
Perfectionism, having unrealistic standards
Boredom – task is not interesting or not important to you
Avoidance of things which are disliked or difficult.
How to Overcome Procrastination
Procrastination is a habit and to overcome procrastination you need to create new habits. As you know, habits are hard to break. Before you can create new habits, you need to take an honest assessment of how you manage your time; identify the reason(s) you’re procrastinating (see list above); and examine the typical procrastination excuses that you use. Once you have a clearer understanding of your behavior patterns, you’ll be able to develop new behaviors that are related to your specific issues.
A misconception is that this is a one size fits all solution. Only you can discover what obstacles are in your way so that you can overcome them. Your reasons for procrastinating are personal to you, and once you bring them to your awareness level and create a plan of action to make changes, you will see results that will work for you.
Tips to Create New Habits
Think about the consequences (identify the negative results of not completing the task).
Get organized. Make a “to do” list of what needs to get done.
Schedule your activities that need to get done when you are at your peak productivity time. So, if you are an early bird or a night owl, take this into consideration.
Don’t over schedule yourself. Be realistic in what you can get done.
Break large tasks into smaller, more manageable projects.
Visualize yourself completing the task successfully and how you will feel at that time.
Research what you don’t know.
Delegate it to someone who can help you (get some coaching).
Motivate yourself with a reward for completing the task (make it exciting — something you wouldn’t ordinarily give yourself).
Dwell on your strengths on tasks you have accomplished.
Stop trying to be perfect. Are your standards too high? It’s better to produce something rather than nothing!
Make a decision. Sometimes it is better to risk the possibility of making a mistake than to not make the decision at all.
Minimize distractions. Turn off the email notification sound on your computer; silence your phone; or hang a Do Not Disturb sign on your door.
Implement the “Do it now!” mantra. Whenever you catch yourself thinking, “I can do this later,” think “DO IT NOW!” Every time you follow through and do it now you are reinforcing the positive habit of action.
Success = Action
Successful people take action. They manage their time by planning for the future and setting goals and action plans. Habits of procrastination will keep you from taking action and acquiring the success you deserve in your life.
The challenge is to consistently practice new behaviors and overcome self defeating habits that keep you from your goals. There is no magic wand. Increasing your awareness and having clear strategies to stay focused will show results.
If you have any stories or comments about dealing with or overcoming procrastination, please place a comment below or go to my Facebook Fan Page and post it there.
How many times have you heard this phrase? As we deal with a sweltering heat wave in half of the country, headlines scream how hot it is, and if the heat’s too hot…tips on what you should do to stay cool.
So I thought about how that relates to business relationships and the times when things really can get you “hot under the collar.” Deadlines, irate customers, bully bosses, unreasonable clients all can contribute to making a situation one that can get the best of you. Here are four tips to help you stay “cool” when things heat up.
Take a deep breath – yes, breathe, because under stress we stop taking in enough oxygen and forget to breathe deeply.
Take a new perspective – it’s not all about you, so make sure you take the time to listen and understand all points of view. Ask yourself, “How important is it?”
Communicate clearly – this may be the time to pick up the phone or meet face-to-face. Text and email messages (or Facebook or Twitter) do not help you take in all the informaton you may need since you don’t have the benefit of hearing someone’s tone, seeing their body language, or shaking their hand
Get humble – our egos easily get in the way before we even know it. Take a moment to put someone else ahead of you. It will matter.
So, if the heat’s too hot…remember that life is too short to sweat the small stuff.
Will the world end tomorrow? If you haven’t heard, “judgment day” is May 21, 2011. Harold Camping, an 89-year-old California multimillionaire who runs one of the largest Christian radio networks in the world, believes the world will end at 6:00 p.m. with a massive earthquake. Did R.E.M. know something when they wrote their song “It’s the End of the World as We Know It?”
While we can allow ourselves to get caught up in such silliness, (sorry to anyone who actually thinks the world will end this way – but it is silly), when I hear of such proclamations, it does make me pause to consider the “what if” and have I lived my life in such a way that has made a difference.
Do I live my life with purpose, passion and values? How do I want to be remembered? Have you ever written your own obituary? When I was in college, one of my professor’s had us write our obituaries. Granted, this was used as a writing exercise, but I have remembered how powerful it was to write down the things that I hoped would be a part of my legacy.
So while we can ponder if the world will really end tomorrow, I challenge you to think about how you are living your life, and if the world were to end for you, have you really lived your life’s purpose?
Answer these questions –
If you could have anything you wanted in life, what would that be?
What could you do to improve the quality of your life?
What could you change to improve the quality of your life?
What are your strengths, talents and gifts?
What is your purpose in life?
You exist for a purpose. What will your obituary say? Write yours today – and if you don’t like what you see, you still have time to change it. The world is not ending tomorrow, but there is one thing we all know, it will end for all of us at some time.
I invite you to share your purpose or obituary in the comments.
Have you ever wondered how athletes break records? How millonaires make their millions?
Simply put, they accomplished what many of us think is not possible by believing they can do it. We are conditioned from a very young age to accept patterns of limited thinking – much like “the world is flat” or ” no one can break the four minute mile“.
We are all a product of our past, which may have resulted in a limited belief system. We have many beliefs that we have accepted over time as true and have never challenged whether they are valid or not. If you don’t believe you can break a record, you won’t. If you don’t believe you can earn what you are worth, you won’t. We allow our beliefs to stop us without even challenging them.
Here is a three step process to break free of outdated mindsets, practices and limiting beliefs.
Question Your Belief – Just because you believe it doesn’t mean it’s true. They are only true because you’ve decided and agreed they are true.
Change Your Belief – If it’s not true, change your way of thinking. This may mean you’ll need to also make an attitude shift. Beliefs are formed through repeated thoughts that you most likely learned from an early age. Now that they are a part of your subconsciously, you need to make a conscious effort to think differently.
Take Action – Roger Bannister did not break the four minute mile because he simply believed he could. He practiced! For you to achieve your goals, dreams and aspirations, you need to take some form of action.
What are some of your examples of how your beliefs and limited thinking stop you from achieving what you really want? Add your comments and ways you’ve overcome them!