advice you can use — short and to the point — every Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 technology  research  practice

A Practice Tip

  • Practice

This is the first of two tips dealing with personal time management.

There are two big difficulties when it comes to time management and trying to fit in all the tasks that we have to do in our lives.

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One is procrastination (trying to start a task) and the other is dealing with interruptions (trying to finish a task).

This post deals with procrastination.

In order to start dealing with procrastination, you need to come to an understanding when you are procrastinating on a task in order to start to take steps to correct it.

So: How do you start?

First, recognize that you are procrastinating.  This is taking ownership of the issue and admitting to yourself the difficulties that you have with this aspect of your life.

Next, if you haven’t already done so, separate your tasks into four categories:

  • important and urgent,
  • important but not urgent,
  • urgent but not important, and
  • neither important nor urgent.

Looking at the lists of tasks so divided, decide which of your important and urgent tasks you should be tackling but are not.  Self-awareness of the tasks in which you are procrastinating is the first step to self-correction.

Now ask your self: why you are procrastinating?  It could be that you find the task unpleasant.  You may find it daunting in scope.  Or – you keep giving it a low-priority on your list with the hope that someone else will do it.

Once you know the why you can take steps to figure out how you will deal with it.

Is the task unpleasant?  Promise yourself a reward once it is done.  Also realize the consequences that may come to you if you don’t do it are probably worse than doing the task.

Is the task too daunting? See if you can break it into smaller parts and do the first part now.

Does the not have a deadline by which it must be done?  If not, set yourself a deadline. It is always better to work towards a defined finish date than allowing tasks to gnaw at you and consume your time while you fret.

By setting a deadline, you are making a promise to yourself that you don’t have to deal with this (unpleasant) task once the deadline is met. That itself should be a positive reward!

By meeting your procrastination head-on, you can start to take care of those tasks that are sitting on your to-do list and feel better about how you have used your time each day.

The next post in this series will discuss dealing with all the interruptions that come at your once you have started in on your important and urgent tasks for the day.

 

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