Category: multitasking

There’s one more way to use procrastination as a stepping stone.  We can do nothing.  Yes, I said do nothing.  Our tendency is to push ourselves and to push hard.  We don’t slow down, so there’s no down time.  We need to be clear about what we want to accomplish and the strategy for doing so.  To keep that clarity, we have to have down time.  It could be a few minutes at a time, a few hours or you might need a weekend.  Whatever the length of time, take it, and then go back to the task at hand.  There has to be balance.  This is definitely something that we are not used to doing, but something that is necessary for us to do to aid us in our productivity.

Remember, in these instances, you are making a conscious choice to put something off in order to positively impact your productivity.  This is distinct from procrastinating in a destructive manner.  Be careful and be clear about what you are doing and why and this will keep you on track with your goals.

Let’s go back to your to-do list.  Continuing to look at the things you’ve been putting off, you might realize that there’s something that you need clarity on, or maybe you need additional information.  Take the steps necessary to get clear about the task.  Consult the appropriate resources for the information that you need.  If it’s clarity that’s missing for you, do what you need to do in order to get a clear picture.

Get your thoughts down on paper or try two of my favorites, mind mapping or creating a vision board.  Each of these processes works wonders and gives you great insight.  While you’re waiting for clarity, focus on other goals and activities-there’s always plenty to do.  Doing so might lead you to just the right solution; meeting the right person, coming across the right resource, being in the right place at the right time to hear something that you need to hear, seeing an idea, being at an event that stimulates you to move forward.

You may look at your list and realize that you aren’t ready for something that you’ve been putting off.  Maybe the opportunity is just not right. Or perhaps you’re struggling with things other than strategy, logistics, an action plan or timeline.  You might just need to wait, which is truly opposite of what we’ve been taught to do, so you may not feel comfortable doing so.  There’s the illusion that we’re doing something wrong if we don’t do it yesterday; 24/7/365 productivity.  When we seek clarity, things can be revealed or become more apparent to us.  There is internal activity that we don’t realize takes place when we do this.  That activity is important to the task at hand.  Once again, remember, you’re purposely choosing to wait on something, not procrastinating in a destructive way.

Consciously Procrastinating

As I mentioned in my last post, there are things that you can do to use procrastination as a stepping stone.  The first way is to consciously put something off.  If you look at your to-do list, you’ll probably see some things there that don’t need to be accomplished immediately and some might not ever need to be done although you might consider everything there to be important.

Take a step back, relax, and look closer.  What do you see?  You might see your responsibilities as the important things, but what about the personal items on your to-do list?  They can be important too.  Look at the things that you’ve been procrastinating on.  As you do, you might see things that aren’t related to your values or intentions.  There might be a better way for you to reach your intention.  In this case, it’s time to stop and think about other ways to reach your intention.  This would be more productive than having something on your list that you are destructively procrastinating on.  Here, you’re making a conscious choice to put something off to find a more suitable goal.  Doing so contributes to your productivity.  Remember, this is a conscious choice to put something off for a specific reason, not to procrastinate in a destructive manner.

Of all the challenges that people come to me with, procrastination is one of the top two.  Research shows that people spend most of their time and effort working on activities that have nothing to do with the success of their projects.  It’s the biggest reason that people fail to reach their goals.  In one survey, almost half of those surveyed said that procrastination cost them money.  Not a good scenario.

Believe it or not, there are ways to use procrastination to your advantage to feed your flow of productivity.  Understand that this is different from procrastinating in a destructive way.  That type of procrastination will disable your level of productivity and keep you from reaching your goals.  But there are ways to use procrastination as a stepping stone to reaching your goals and in my next couple of posts I’ll share a few ways that you can use procrastination as a stepping stone to get things accomplished.

Interruptions can really derail your day.  You stop once to take care of the person who walked into your office and before you know it, an hour has gone by.

How do you handle the daily interruptions of the phone, people arriving at your door or cubicle or a request from someone?  Interruptions are bound to happen, but there are ways of handling them so that you can stay on point during the day.  Here are a few tips to help you.

  • While you’re working on some of your top priority tasks, close your door for a chosen length of time so that you can stay focused
  • At times when the phone seems to be ringing off  the hook, use that handy “do not disturb” feature.  Then go back and check your messages and return calls before the end of the day.
  • When someone enters your office stand up to greet them.  This may discourage them from sitting down.  If they need something that’s going to take less than 5 minutes, take care of it.  If it’s going to take longer than 5 minutes, promise to get back with them at a time that’s more convenient for you
  • Place a personal item in the extra chair in your office or work space.  People are less likely to move something personal to sit down
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