What I like about time management is that the subject is essentially about SELF MANAGEMENT. We all have the same amount of hours in the day, yet even when two people are using the same time management tools, one is often more productive in the long term than the other. Why is this?
One important factor is related to procrastination. Procrastination is the behaviour of putting off tasks that you know you need to do.
The subject of this post is how to overcome procrastination. However, before we go into detail, it’s appropriate to mention a very important thing – make sure that the tasks you need to do and that you are procrastinating on, are things that are either:
- Essential to your professional/personal goals
- Essential to your boss’s goals and objectives.
Anything else is a waste of time, just taking up energy and head room!
So why does procrastination occur and how can we overcome it?
It’s often about having wrong beliefs. These beliefs are:
- Expectation: ” I need to know exactly what I’m supposed to do”
- Help: “I need a hand”
- Failure: “I don’t want to fail”
- Perfection: “I must get it right”
- Freedom: ” I want to do it my way”
- Right place/right time: “I’m waiting for the right moment”
- Difficult: “It takes a lot of effort”
When we identify that we are procrastinating, the first step to overcoming it is to identify our beliefs around the task at hand and replace them with softer beliefs and an exit plan that allow us to move forward.
For example, your task may be to start a blog. But perhaps you believe that:
Expectation: I need to know everything about how wordpress works
Perfection: I must be an expert on what I’m writing about
Difficult: I won’t have enough time to write regularly enough
Applying the two step plan of replacing the rigid belief with a softer belief and devising an exit plan could be:
Wrong belief: I must be an expert on what I’m writing about
Softer belief: I like to research well what I write about
Exit plan: I like to research but I can always modify my content as I become more knowlegable and gain more insights.
Just modfiying our beliefs makes all the difference to getting started on a task. At the end of the day, belief is EVERYTHING. Let’s not be too hard on ouselves, it’s natural to feel uncomfortable when we have to do something new or when we have to do something that we don’t like. We’re moving outside our comfort zone, but that’s good. Feeling uncomfortable and making the effort to change our beliefs is a sign that we are moving forward, that we are growing and that we will ultimately experience the thrill of achievement.