Effectiveness Tip no. 1 – Procrastination

I’m a bad example of procrastination. I tend to put away everything that’s big, seems confusing, or I don’t like doing.

But that’s exactly what helps me figure out what needs to be done.

What’s Procrastination?

Procrastination is defined as the bad habit of constantly postponing things that need to be done.

Why you should NOT be afraid of Procrastination?

1. Because if you can put it away, it means it’s not critical enough.
2. Because it’s usually linked to the big, ugly stuff that needs to be organized. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do next.

Step 1. Is it THAT important?

Figure out if it’s really important, or if you continuously postpone this, no one will notice. If the answer is Yes, it’s that important, move to Step 2.

Step 2. What is the needed end result?

Are you clear on what’s expected from you? If you’re to clean the house, does that mean put things in order, or do the yearly general cleaning?

Step 3. What’s the next action?

Getting-Things-Done guru David Allen says this is the single most important question which would

solve most of the world’s Time Management problems.

What’s the next step you need to take for a big presentation that’s coming up? Is it “prepare the slides” or is it rather “call Jane for the report which I need to include in the starting slide”?

And if the next step takes less than 2 minutes, do it right away.

That’s right. A single small step that got you closer.

Step 4. Book a time for it.

If you’re somehow not able to do the next step right away, chances are, you’re going to postpone it again. Got’cha? And if you’re at least a bit committed to do the thing you’ve been procrastinating, the best thing to do is book a time.
In your agenda or in your calendar. And it has to be a booking, not a reminder that comes just before your important meeting.
Put a No Disturb sign on your door.

That’s it. Now you can focus on the task. Doesn’t that feel much better?

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1 Comment
  • Ioana
    December 20, 2009

    Good point, Mer! I’ll remember that the next time when I’ll feel the compulsive need to sink into procrastination…so I will be thinking about you quite a lot!

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