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5 Practical Steps to Stop Procrastination for Good

5 Practical Steps to Stop Procrastination for Good

5 Practical Steps to Stop Procrastination for Good

I have a confession to make. I am a procrastinator. Yes, that is right, I am a super lazy procrastinator, and I want to fix this to live the life of my dreams. Reading lots of self-help books have thought me that the first step to solving any problem is acceptance. I needed to accept the fact that I have a problem hence the confession to the dearest people I know, the readers of this article.    

Second step to solve the problem is researching the solution for the problem. After watching many educational videos on YouTube, (some about procrastination) I found one TED Talk that came close to solve my procrastination problem. I am sharing the details of the Ted Talk below and I highly recommend you to watch this one as I believe it will resonate with most of us procrastinators.

Tim hilariously explains how the brain of a master procrastinator is different from a non-procrastinator. Based on this completely non-sciencey talk I have understood my shortcomings and I have developed five steps plan to stop procrastination once for all.    

In the talk, Tim Talks about the mind of a master procrastinator and I believe I am one, well if the shoe fits. Tim says the master procrastinators have an additional operator in their brains called as an ‘Instant Gratification Monkey’ beside the ‘Rational decision maker’, which everyone else has.

Long story short the procrastinators lose control of their time as the ‘Instant Gratification Monkey’ takes charge of their brain and wastes our valuable time and energy on anything fun and easy also completely unnecessary. This ‘Instant Gratification Monkey’ ruins most of our rational plans and sabotages most of our projects by wasting our valuable time on illogical monkey business.

The only time this monkey gives up control is when we get into the panic mode just before a deadline. Tim calls this panic mode as when the Panic Monster wakes up and scares away the ‘Instant Gratification Monkey’. This gives the ‘Rational decision maker’ a chance to take control. The problem with this situation is that we are left with a fraction of the time to do our project. This also means we end up with a hasty poor performance also sadly lower than our true potential.

The procrastinators face a serious problem when there is no deadline. In absence of the deadline, the Panic mode never strikes and hence the ‘Instant Gratification Monkey’ never loses control of our brain wasting away our life on meaningless fun and games.

Enough is enough my fellow procrastinators. Let us take back the charge of our brain again. Let us learn to control the monkey by imposing some discipline in our life. It will be hard but it will be worth it as we will complete most of our projects and live a rewarding and content life.   

“If you wait until you feel like doing something, you will likely never accomplish it.” ― John C. Maxwell, How Successful People Think

Five Steps Plan to Stop Procrastination for Good:

Step 1: Outcome:

Focusing on the Outcome than the tasks of the project can work as the right encouragement or fuel we need to drive our projects.

Step 2: Map:

We are good planners for sure but we lack in execution. In this step, we should focus on the most realistic plan that will work for us. We know our strengths and weaknesses, we can make a feasible roadmap keeping in mind all the hurdles. A detailed map will help us anticipate most of our challenges in advance so we can prepare for them.  

Step 3: Deadlines:

As we saw earlier, deadlines are crucial for procrastinators. Even if we are doing, projects that have no deadlines we need to set them as per our roadmap we prepared in the second step. These deadlines have to be realistic but not lenient. In a case of longer projects, one must break the projects into small chunks and give deadlines for every piece.  

E.q. If your project is writing a novel then you should have a deadline for every chapter or significant segments of the novel.

Step 4: Resources:

Once we have our Map and our deadline the next step is to collect all the necessary resources required for the project. If internet research is required then it makes sense to find out all required information and save it on our computers so we can work offline and avoid distractions like Facebook.

Preparation of resources as per roadmap stops delays helps us finish our task as per the plan.

Step 5: Reward:

A completed project is a reward in itself but we need to have a small recreation, reward or celebration after every successful completion to keep the playful side of our brain content. The tasks that get rewarded have high chances of getting repeated.  

TED Talk: Inside the mind of a master procrastinator by Tim Urban (Blogger at Wait But Why)

https://youtu.be/arj7oStGLkU

20 Best Time Management Tips from Brain Tracy – Part 3

20 Best Time Management Tips from Brain Tracy – Part 3

20 Best Time Management Tips from Brain Tracy – Part 3

In the last two parts (20 Best Time Management Tips from Brain Tracy Part 1 & Part 2) we saw 10 tips that can turn around our life by improving our time management skills. In this post we are going to see some few methods that can help us become more productive and get a firm grip on our success by getting time on our side.

11. Interruptions: We cannot avoid disturbances while we work. The phone will ring several times, someone might like to come and talk to us about something happening in their life or some technical causes that can bring your work to a complete halt. We simply cannot avoid interruptions but we can minimize their impact on our work. We cannot do much about the technical pauses other but Mr. Tracy gives an easy tip to minimize our phone calls or chatting with visitor time. Mr. Tracy tells us to make a habit to stand up for every call or visit. By standing up and talking on the phone you do not get loose track of time and reflect the urgency to keep the call purely work related. You remind yourself to keep it short and also about getting back to work. Do the same with a walk in visitor and that person will not take much of your time.

12. Key Result Areas: While planning for a day’s work one should have a complete awareness about their Key Result Areas. Answering following simple questions can help us understand the important areas or tasks that are vital for us.

. Why do I get paid? (Or) Why am I on the payroll?
. What are my bread and butter?
. What are the goals or core functions of my job?
. Will it critically affect my goal if I miss any of the tasks?

We should give priority to these areas and spend reasonable time on them. If any task that you normally do does not qualify as your Key Result Areas then we should spend less time on them gradually eliminating the task for good.

13. Batching Task: Another very effective tip from Mr. Tracy to manage time. We can effective segregate our tasks into batches. This is taking the To-Do list to the next level. Make batches of tasks that go together. Assign specific time frame for these batches. Like if you like to check your mails after lunch or first thing in the morning then set aside checking mail, answering them and filling up your calendar and related tasks that you do every day for that specific time. Concentrating on one batch of task at a time helps us improve accuracy and reduce panic.

14. Neatness: It is not a secret that organizing your desk or office can improve your productivity. Mr. Tracy tells us that neatness can actually increase productivity by 20 to 30 %. Spend your first few minutes to make your workplace tidy before you start for the day. You can use the simple TRAF method to separate things in your office.

TRAF stands for Toss, Refer, Action and File.

15. Chunks of Time: Just as we make batches of time you can simultaneously separate chunks of time as 60 mins, 90 mins, an hour or 2 hrs. As per the requirement of the specific task assign chunks of time for that task while planning your day. When we allot a concentrated blocks of time for one important task we tend to complete that task within time. This helps us make a very effective use of time.

16. Transition Time: Never forget to keep aside an hour or so for learning. Mr. Tracy tells us if we need to earn more, we need to learn more. Sharpen your skills daily. Make yourself irreplaceable. Learning is forever it should not stop after getting a degree.

17. Telephone: Telephones are mostly interruptions as we discussed in the 2nd part of this series. Limit your time to less important calls. If you have to make calls assign a work batch and chunk of time daily to make calls. Stand while you make calls this will help your body with a much needed stretch.

18. Punctuality: Successful people value time and are punctual. If you agree to reach on a specific time then respect that agreement and it will build up a positive reputation for you. There can be many reasons for being late sometimes though it is always good to be punctual more than being late.

19. Work Simplification: We tend to do the same or similar work over and over again. Our core task is mostly repetitive. When we do the same thing many times we naturally find out ideas that can shorten the time span or simplify a process. Organizing things needed for the job can improve speed.

20. Say No: Many people fail to turn down requests from colleagues. Doing a favor to someone once in a while is good relationship building but if it starts happening frequently then you should not hesitate to say no.

    Leave a Comment below or by clicking “Comment” link under the Title of the Post, I Would Love to Know Your Opinion on This.

20 Best Time Management Tips from Brain Tracy – Part 2

20 Best Time Management Tips from Brain Tracy – Part 2

20 Best Time Management Tips from Brain Tracy – Part 2

In the last post we discussed 5 tips for Time Management from Brain Tracy. For those who really want to master the art Mr. Tracy has given some more tips. Some or all these ideas can help us improve our productivity.

6. Deadlines and Rewards: Mr. Tracy instructs us to maintain deadlines. It is my personal experience that I work effectively if I have a set time limit to complete a project. Deadlines give us a sense of urgency to finish what we start. It is convenient to prioritize our projects as per their completion date. To make this effective give yourself a nice fully deserving reward after completing a major project with set time frame. Rewards work – carrot is always better than stick.

7. Time Log: If you have trouble completing projects in time. Then to understand your weaker areas it is a highly recommended technique to maintain a record of time spent on every small task you do. With the help of this you can do self analysis and find out where most of your time is used. Mr. Tracy tells us that successful people keep records of time in minutes while others in hours or even days. Start with whatever you are comfortable with. It may feel tedious to record time of every little thing you do but once you find out where most of your time is getting used or wasted you can make some serious changes that can result in achieving most of your goals.

8. Procrastination: Procrastination is my biggest weakness. I struggle the most with starting of any projects especially the important ones. I am learning to get over this using few tips from Mr. Tracy such as understanding the difference between urgent and important and choosing important over urgent whenever possible. As we saw in the part 1 of this post the 80:20 rule can help us in spending more time on important tasks. Developing a ‘Do it Now’ attitude can create a sense of urgency for important tasks.

9. Delegate: Appointing someone to complete a task sounds good. If you are a perfectionist you’ll find it difficult to accept the work done from others until you make some suggestions and changes in the output. This can result in rework and end up losing time. One must learn to let go on little things and focus more on the bigger picture. Don’t fuss on unimportant issues or tasks. Do not waste productive time on things that can be done by someone you can hire. Think through what you want done, pick the right person, check, review, inspect and be on top of it till it is done. Once you find the right person for the right job maintain a good relationship keeping your future projects in mind.

10. Meetings: When I was working in a bank I noticed that the meetings were highly productive whenever someone from the top management was present in it. These meetings had a set agenda with PowerPoint presentations, time spent on every slide of the presentation was predetermined. Everyone had printout of the presentation so no one generally suggested to go back on any previous slide. In absence of some high ranking manager the meetings had a trend to go not as per plan and end up taking more time than scheduled. Why did this happen? Simply because successful people value time and they never allow themselves or others around to waste any. You don’t have to reach to the highest position of your career to get serious about your schedule. Start getting serious of your schedule and you will start climbing the ladder towards success. Do not waste time in meetings, have a purpose for the meeting, meeting is an investment, agenda or list of things to be discussed be present in such a way that it helps you and all the participants.

    Leave a Comment below or by clicking “Comment” link under the Title of the Post, I Would Love to Know Your Opinion on This.


20 Best Time Management Tips from Brain Tracy – Part 1

20 Best Time Management Tips from Brain Tracy – Part 1

20 Best Time Management Tips from Brain Tracy – Part 1

Everyone tries to plan their whole year in the first week of the year. I don’t need to tell you about the importance of Time management. Though we all know the importance we still find ourselves struggling to maintain our organizer and catch up with the planner.

Brain Tracy is the well known for his time management training and seminars. He is the success coach who inspires professionals all over the world. I have studied his work and found these 20 tips that can be helpful for us manage time in a better way. Next time when you plan for something big and important or you just try to fill up your daily organizer I hope these tips come in handy.

As per Mr. Tracy ‘Time management is life management,’ he is so right about it. Let’s make this year fruitful with the help of these simple suggestions from one of the world’s best coaches.

1. Goals:

First step to make any success is to be clear about your goal. The finish line should be fixed in your mind. This can be a Personal, Financial or my favorite Self Development Goal.

Brain Tracy gives us a hint to find out our deepest desires. Try to answers following questions without thinking if it is possible or logical or anything negative. The right answers have to be from your heart.

. What one thing you will do if you know you will not fail?
. If you just won a million dollars?
. What will you do if you have just 6 months to live?

Your desires are hidden in the answers you give to above questions. Try using them as inspiration while you make those goals. Give yourself a deadline after all we are trying to tame time.

2. Plans:

Once you are sure about your goal – planning is the next part. We all are good in planning, executing them is the whole another story. Take your time at this step as a solid plan can help us achieve our goals considering all our strengths and weaknesses. As we are trying to get our hold on time management so put strict timelines on every stage of your plan.

3. Priorities:

Priorities make or break our life. Every day we choose to give time and energy to matters that are important to us. Most important issues get more attention. We need to learn how to prioritize everything we do to support our plans and goals. Mr. Tracy recommends keeping a habit of making a list for the weeks work in advance ideally on the weekend before or if you like to make daily plans make the list every night before sleeping. Again timeline is important so try to incorporate it in your list.

4. Analysis:

Prioritizing your to do list can become easier if we apply the 80:20 rule. Say you made a list of 10 tasks now as per the rule find the most important 2 and first finish the top 2. Give 80% of your time to the most important task on your list i.e. the task that can make a direct impact on your goal.
You can remind yourself the importance of time management by asking these questions;

. What is the most valuable use of my time right now?
. Most valuable use of my time?

Important things have values in future. Unimportant things may look useful now.

5. Concentration:

Focus is the key to success. Hence the 5th Time management tip is to concentrate on the single task at hand. I am not a fan of multitasking. Trying to give the complete attention to a single task will assure the success. Focusing our mind on one important thing is always better and must I say easier than juggling many. Concentration reduces rework and saves time so it is a must for time management skills.

    Leave a Comment below or by clicking “Comment” link under the Title of the Post, I Would Love to Know Your Opinion on This.