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WHY PROCRASTINATION IS THE THIEF OF TIME and what to do about it!

If you are in business you must get the most out of yourself and maximise productivity.

If you question that, you must question why you are in business for yourself.

Introspection over, how do you maximise productivity?

Well, clearly, one of top killers of productivity is PROCRASTINATION!

Be productive, don’t procrastinate

or

Don’t procrastinate and you’ll be productive.

Easy to say (or write) but perhaps not so easy to put into practice.

How to eliminate procrastination?

Firstly, let’s develop some strategies to eliminate time wastage. Strategies that will resonate, that you can implement. Not theoretical crap that you know from the first step that you will never do.

The headline of this article is that ‘time gets stolen by procrastination’.

In our life we each have, give or take, depending on genetics, lifestyle (people reading this article don’t spend their time lying on the couch) and luck, about 723,000 hours.

Time is only a concept but, regardless of your acceptance or otherwise of that truism, it is self evident that it cannot be retrieved. Time marches on. And as an armchair philosopher once proclaimed to me, “Life is like is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to end the faster it unrolls.”

The key number here is 168.

Why?

If you don’t know or haven’t worked it out, the answer to this is at the bottom of this article.

The key idea is to make the most of this key number. Simple, don’t procrastinate. So, let’s not procrastinate about spelling out these strategies, these key ideas.

The seven steps to eliminating procrastination are:

  1. Determine your priorities/master your calendar.
  2. Be in the right emotional state.
  3. Create a checklist.
  4. Remember the purpose of the task.
  5. Banish fear.
  6. Plan your time.
  7. Aim for completion, not perfection.

I will go into detail about these seven steps shortly (for the cynics among us that is not Procrastination, merely setting the scene).

To understand the importance of why you need to crush procrastination and leverage your life, let’s talk about the following:

  1. What is Procrastination?
  2. Why we Procrastinate?
  3. Procrastination Warning Signs.
  4. The Impact of Procrastination.

If you have been with me to this point you have read 390 words about procrastination. Time to make use of those words.

What is Procrastination?

Procrastination is the delaying of a task or tasks that should be a priority. Most successful entrepreneurs overcome procrastination – they complete the most impactful tasks. If you are procrastinating your business is suffering!

Why we Procrastinate?

Not knowing where to begin.

Inability to prioritise or sequence tasks.

Lack of clarity, vagueness and/or confusion about tasks.

Waiting to be in the right mood.

Intimidation by the perceived scope and/or difficulty of a task.

Poor organisational skills, perceived or real.

Disconnection from the task or its purpose.

Failure to recognise the importance of the task and its impact on the business.

Lack of confidence, fear of failure, distorted feeling of inadequacy – a fear of judgement or criticism, either directly or indirectly.

Warning Signs that you are Procrastinating

Scheduling low priority tasks.

Allowing distractions (for example, phone calls, visitors, social media notifications).

Reading or re-reading an email/request without starting work on it.

Assisting others with unimportant tasks in lieu of your high priority tasks.

Delaying or avoiding the commencement of difficult tasks.

Being unfocused (for example, making a coffee or phone call soon after commencing a high priority task).

Impact of Procrastination

The ramifications of procrastination on a business can be many – low productivity, dissatisfied customers, delayed delivery of products and services, frustration, stress, anxiety and more.

When procrastination is negatively impacting your business it is time to act.

HOW TO ELIMINATE PROCRASTINATION?

Master these seven steps to eliminate procrastination from your life.

1.   Determine your priorities and schedule them in your Calendar

In determining your highest value activities assess:

  1.       what tasks only you can do;
  2.       what will make a difference;

 iii.       what is the best use of your time;

  1.       what tasks will create a tangible result for the business.

2.   Be in the Right Emotional State.

Review Why we Procrastinate to confirm the importance of this. If you allow yourself to be in state where you’re not ‘ready’ you will continue to procrastinate. There are many ways to achieve the ‘right emotional state’, including:

  1.       breathing techniques;
  2.       mantras;

 iii.       physical/verbal cues;

  1.       NLP resource anchors.

Other actions that will assist are:

  1.      take regular breaks;
  2.      stay hydrated;
  3.       visualise completion of the task;
  4.  listen to music;
  5. smile regularly to activate ‘happy chemicals’ such as dopamine and serotonins
  6. say powerful affirmations out loud (embarrassment aside – they work).

3.   Create a Checklist

Intimidation resulting from the perceived complexity or scope of a task is a major cause of procrastination so removing this obstacle is crucial. By breaking projects down into small tasks, and these tasks into sub tasks even the most complex and daunting of projects takes on a different appearance.

Having determined the elements of a task the next step is to put them into a logical sequence. You have now created a Checklist.

Checklists make tasks more achievable.

4.   Remember the Purpose of the Task

Why is it important?

What will be the benefit to the business when completed?

What will be the impact on the business if the task is not done?

Reward yourself when you complete the task.

5.   Banish fear

Fear of failure an internal projection of reality and it is not actually a rational, logical reason for delaying something.

The likelihood and consequences of failure are often exaggerated.

Realise that fear only goes away when we take action.

Choose to accept the fear, and do the task anyway.

6.   Plan Your Time

Use a planner, a diary, a journal, a wall chart, a white board, or an App (Trello, Asana, Evernote) to plan your day, week, month and year.

When you invest time to plan your time, procrastination is crushed, your effectiveness skyrockets, and your ‘available time’ increases.

7.   Aim for completion, not perfection

This could also be rendered as make first, edit later.

Quality work is a laudable aim but don’t let the need to continually produce perfection restrict your output. Completion of a task generates results but the quest for perfection can lead to paralysis where nothing is produced.

Be like Nike and Do It!

There are 168 hours in a week. Choose how many you wish to work, to recreate, to sleep, to WASTE.

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