Monday, March 12, 2007

The Greatest Thief Of All Time - Part III

My plan and desire is to complete this series with this post. I hope I succeed

Let me start with what I consider a very profound statement. “Life is NOT a dress rehearsal –it is a live show!” You owe it to yourself to put in your best possible performance. There may be no second chance to make a first impression. To do this really well, you’ll need to bid farewell to the bad habit called procrastination. Period.

How then do you break free from the grips of procrastination? Here are a few tips

Break down tasks into Bit-Sized Pieces.

I advice strongly that you should break down big tasks to small chunks so you can have an inertia to get started. By doing this, the task never has a chance to take on gargantuan proportions in your mind. Looking at the whole task something leaves you with an overwhelming feeling and this boosts your ego to procrastinate. Take writing a paper for example. You can say to yourself, "Right now, I'm going to write the introduction. That's all, just the introduction!" And you may be more likely to sit down and do that, than you will to sit down and "write the paper."

Think of starting one small piece of the task instead of mentally feeling that you must finish the whole thing. Replace, "How am I going to finish this?" with "What small step can I start on right now?" If you simply start a task enough times, you will eventually finish it.

Be realistic about time

Procrastinators tend to be heroic about time; they estimate that it will take them two hours to complete a task that would take most people four. Once you have determined that procrastination is hurting you, begin taking notice of how long it actually takes you to do a task. Make some allowances for interruptions and be clear in your mind how long the task will take.

You can also use the principle of time-boxing. Here's how it works: First, select a small piece of the task you can work on for just 30 minutes. Then choose a reward you will give yourself immediately afterwards. The reward is guaranteed if you simply put in the time; it doesn't depend on any meaningful accomplishment. Because the amount of time you'll be working on the task is so short, your focus will shift to the impending pleasure of the reward instead of the difficulty of the task. No matter how unpleasant the task, there's virtually nothing you can't endure for just 30 minutes if you have a big enough reward waiting for you.

When you timebox your tasks, you may discover that something very interesting happens. You will probably find that you continue working much longer than 30 minutes. You will often get so involved in a task, even a difficult one that you actually want to keep working on it. Before you know it, you've put in an hour or even several hours. The certainty of your reward is still there, so you know you can enjoy it whenever you're ready to stop. Once you begin taking action, your focus shifts away from worrying about the difficulty of the task and towards finishing the current piece of the task which now has your full attention.

Have fun – Rather “Want To” than “Have To”

When you tell yourself that you have to do something, you're implying that you're being forced to do it, so you'll automatically feel a sense of resentment and rebellion. Procrastination kicks in as a defense mechanism to keep you away from this pain. You need to realize and accept that you don't have to do anything you don't want to do. Even though there may be serious consequences, you are always free to choose. No one is forcing you to run your business the way you do. All the decisions you've made along the way have brought you to where you are today. If you don't like where you've ended up, you're free to start making different decisions, and new results will follow.

Notice that there are certain areas of your life that you rarely procrastinate? Some people will never miss a TV show or a football game no matter what. Why don’t you procrastinate about this? I bet it’s because you enjoy doing it! You have fun doing it! You want to do and don’t have to do it! Procrastination becomes less likely on tasks that you openly and freely choose to undertake.

Set Realistic Goals

It is important you set realistic goals for yourself if you want to overcome procrastination. Setting goals that you cannot reach in the short term is a good way to put off things you need to do. Don’t try to do everything perfectly. Rather than perfection, aim for progress. Any small step towards completion is an accomplishment.

Just Do It!

Do I have to explain this again? Well….just do it. If it needs to be done, then go do it! Yes, do it….and do it now!

I think I will pause on the subject of Procrastination until another opportuned time. I strongly recommend that you read the Part I and II of this article if you’ve not already done so.

You can’t be stopped. You are a miracle going somewhere to happen!


Anonymous said...

I quite agree with the point about overcoming procrastination by having fun. I rarely procrastinate on things i enjoy doing. The more fun in it, the faster i am likely to do it.

Great piece

Fola' said...

I like the part on breaking the task into smaller pieces, that's an easier approach definitely. Since the bigger picture almost always overwhelms.
Then on being realistic about time, how true...
I'd also like to say that accountability also helps us handle the temptation to procastinate.
Very Realistic Tips, Thank You.

adeola said...

This article was such a blessing to me. I need to fight procrastination to a standstill and the thoughts shared here will surely help

Adeolu said...

Solid! These are powerful nuggets that need to be printed and ruminated over immediately!

You are destined for the top of the topmost top! See you there!!