Procrastination is the Thief of Time

slowdown500How 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, it feels like you are 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 never 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!

©MWeisner2017

Magically Finding Time

imagesCAU3C46QProcrastination may be the thief of time, yet the upside for many people is that they accomplish SO much in avoiding the primary task. I know that I can be highly efficient in a short period when I am doing my very best to dodge an action that may be as simple as making a phone call. “Just do it!” is the mantra of relief after you’ve, “Just done it!” and of course, the recriminations that often follow. “That wasn’t so difficult, why did I make such a big deal about calling ___? Thinking about it took up so much of my time. I’m sure I won’t let that happen again.” Ah, yes or is it simply a matter of wishful thinking?

Is there a learning curve? Will a positive result after making the dreaded phone call or having the difficult conversation ensue? It depends on what the real payoff is in procrastinating or is it just a matter of not managing your time efficiently?

Begin keeping a log of how you are spending your precious time. Use a desk top style calendar and colored markers to track your daily activities. We know that people who record their food intake daily in a food diary are far more successful in losing weight than those who guess at the same. Seeing is believing and with 24 hours in each day, your goal is not to simply use up the hours, but with a calendar, you have a strong visual record of how the hours were spent.

Look at the downtime you really have. Is it 2 or 10 hours weekly? What have you been missing out on? Is it only a dream to learn a new language, read more novels, take up a new sport or pursue a hobby? Only you know what’s missing and what you are willing to discover about your “time habits”. When you turn your attention to something that you want to do, time will no longer disappear. In fact, you may sense that you have discovered something entirely new and actually expanded the minutes in a day to accommodate your newfound interest.

©MWeisner2016

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

Attack the Hardest or Easiest Tasks First?

458You glance at your to-list and it’s overwhelming. Your initial thought might well be to run through the easiest, yet time consuming actions first. These may feel like many small annoyances; t he call you need to return or the quick review of a client project. Yes, we all know how good it feels to check off multiple tasks, send those e-mails out and lo and behold, your morning is gone. Instant gratification is seductive and the busyness feels like you are engaged in a series of worthy accomplishments. After all, these things need to be addressed and you are fresh in the A.M. However, according to Piers Steel, PhD, Professor at the University of Calgary and an expert on motivation and procrastination, this approach wastes your prime performance hours. “People have more attention and focus in the morning, so tackle the hard stuff first, while you have the most energy to do it.” As the day continues our energy is depleted, there are other demands on our time and so the list gets carried along with new additions.

Let’s try another slant on your typical plan of action. Getting started is key and tweaking your approach helps. Begin with a challenging chore that can be handled quickly. Like suiting up for a run or diving into cold water, the first few moments may feel awful but your body quickly adjusts and you are on your way, invigorated as you move. The same can be said for your to-do list actions as momentum takes over it helps you make more progress. How satisfying is it to cross things off your list, both major and minor and relax, if only for a moment of reflection.

• What’s you favorite approach?
• How successful has that been?
• What are you willing to change?
• Renumber your list for tomorrow, adding a challenging chore first

©MWeisner2015