Procrastination: The Thief of Time

How much do we actually accomplish when fully engaged in avoidance mode? What does it take to get back on track?

                               Five frogs are sitting on a log. Four decide to jump off.
                                                     How many are left? FIVE
                                  That’s the difference between deciding and doing!

Even the most motivated people are not always on task. Often the most seemingly busy people, those constantly occupied, are in reality accomplishing very little. Yet, the TV watcher, who we can readily identify is perhaps the most honest of all…doing nothing.

When you are in action; cleaning, reorganizing, or purging the space, you feel industrious. Activity like this is measureable, producing immediate results, unlike the outcomes from other endeavors that may not be so obvious.

One client, who dreaded tax season, always scheduled a major home renovation simultaneously, compounding her anxiety. Her assumption was that as long as she was going to be sequestered in her home office anyway, she could also supervise the other projects too. After the “dust” settled, we looked at the consequences of her actions and how this compromised her relationships, health and overall well being. The physical upheaval around her made it easier to avoid focusing on the task at hand, her tax filings, which were the priority. Once she was able to see that it was possible to do some preparation monthly, her calendar became her most effective tool. With long term goals in place for the year ahead, she was able to space projects, arrange her time commitments accordingly and vow never to have a contractor near her home in the spring.

•What are you procrastinating about?
•What is one small step that you can take now?
•Write it down
•Put it in your calendar
•Do it!

©2015 Maureen Weisner

REDO Your To-Do List

Long-To-Do-List-shutterstock_106155491-e1350582020988You probably use some version of a to-do list. They seem look a good idea, but they simply catalogue tasks yet don’t help you accomplish them.

If all you do is make lists of the projects you need to finish, odds are good they will remain unfinished far longer than you like. Decades of research on goal pursuit shows that when it comes to execution, there are 2 major pitfalls that keep us from doing the things we intend to do.

1. We aren’t specific enough about exactly what needs to happen. There are actions we must take to reach our goals. If your goal is be healthier, you must break that down into component actions, like walking every day for 30-minutes at 7AM, packing a gym bag the night before M/W/F, eating breakfast, etc. So, to-do lists CAN work, if they contain specific actions.

2. The problem that lists don’t solve is finding the opportunity to take action.
• Did you really have NO time to work on that project today?
• No chance at any time to return that phone call?
You probably had the time but were preoccupied with something else or simply forgot.

Achieving any goal means grabbing hold of those opportunities before they slip through your fingers. One solution is IF-THEN planning. Not only decide WHAT you need to do but WHEN and WHERE you will do it in advance. So, if ____ occurs, then I will ____.
For example: When it’s 3PM today, then I’ll stop whatever I’m doing and work on that project. If it’s M/W or F, then I’ll go to the gym before work.

This kind of planning trains your brain to be ready for a certain action at a certain time. On an unconscious level, you are scanning your environment, waiting for the situation, 3PM to occur, so you are much more likely to notice 3PM when it happens and seize the opportunity to take the action you included in your plan.

With each action on your to-do list, add a when and a where. You can transfer your to-do list to your calendar/phone/device- just be sure to pair WHAT you need to do with the details about when and where you’ll do it.

MINI-Plan The Power of Habit

1. Create a routine- teach your brain a routine

2. Set small goals- habit formation is built on small wins

3. Choose a reward- you’re training yourself to associate a behavior with something you enjoy

4. Write it down- Identifying your routine significantly increases the chance that a habit will take hold

What’s one goal to focus on today and break it down into components?
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