Benjamin Franklin, who knew how to conquer procrastination as well as anyone, said that “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” How do you plan your work?
Procrastination, if left unchecked, can turn into a bad habit which could eventually be very hard to break. Most people don’t seem to realise that the habit of procrastination can cost them a lot. Get a free 14-page PDF report No Procrastination.
If you don’t plan, how do you know if you’re reaching your goals? It’s time to find out.
Make a list of everything you’ve been putting off at work. Not just the big things, but all the little things, too. If you can’t think of anything right away, walk around. It won’t be hard to fill a page with projects that have been talked about, but not carried out.
Make another list of things you’ve neglected to do in your personal life. That includes letters, emails, phone calls, visits, family trips, and vacations. Then make a list of all the things you’ve put off doing for yourself – a class you want to take, an exercise program you know you should start, or a bad habit you want to eliminate.
Don’t worry about priorities. Just get the juices flowing and write everything that comes into your head.
It may be hard to get started, but once you start, the ideas will come more easily. Keep writing them down; you’ll be amazed at how one thought triggers the next. Words will flow onto your paper or computer screen.
Now let me explain why I asked you to do this exercise. First, you’ve probably been putting off more things than you realised. That’s the first step toward defeating procrastination-recognising it as a problem.
Procrastinators go to ridiculous extremes to explain their inability to take action. Accepting the truth that procrastination is a problem is the first step toward overcoming it.
Second, this exercise will teach you the importance of getting started. Failing to take action breeds doubt, doubt gnaws at your self-confidence and increases indecision.
The result is paralysis-and the vicious circle of inactivity keeps turning. After you recognise that procrastination is a problem, the next step is to focus on one thing you’ve been postponing.
Take one thing you’ve been putting off and make something happen. You started your list with one thing; it led to another. Take one action and that action will trigger another.
Work out how much time you waste in a day. Keep a log of how you spend your time. How do you plan your work to ensure that deadlines are met? Always ask yourself if the work needs to be done at all.
According to research findings, we spend as much as 80% of our time on tasks that do not contribute to the success of our projects – many people load themselves down with work that is unnecessary, or that could be justifiably postponed.
Learn what all successful people know: If you’re failing to plan, you’re planning to fail.