What work are you dreading doing this week? Overcoming procrastination is something that comes up in every time management training I present. I want to offer you some practical tips and tools for getting the important things you’ve been avoiding done, and a deeper understanding for why we procrastinate.
First, I want to dispel that myth that we don’t complete the work we need to get done because we’re lazy. This is a false belief!
What I have found in teaching time management to over 9,000 law firm professionals is that perfectionism is often the reason we avoid diving into those key projects. Many of us torture ourselves waiting for that the moment when we are 100% clear on the outcome we want to achieve and have the confidence that we will execute it perfectly.
What I recommend is that when you’re staring at a blank page and getting stressed, begin by identifying your goal for this project and your target audience at the top of the page. For example, I found it extremely helpful to picture who I was writing to and what my key messages were when I wrote Your Fairy Job Mentor’s Secrets for Success for 90-minutes each morning. If I began by starring at a blank screen, I would have been overwhelmed and paralyzed and the book would have never been written.
If creating focus time is a challenge, I have a great tool that will help! Let’s be honest and identify a major obstacle to making time for really immersing yourself in important projects–it’s YOU! Have you noticed that just when you’re about to sit down to write that memo, do concentrative research or review spreadsheets for the budget, lots of ideas pop into your mind, such as shopping on the internet, making a reservation for next Saturday’s dinner or cleaning your desk? Imagine how much focus time we would create if we could stop interrupting ourselves!
Many years ago, I created the Parking Lot. This is a sheet of paper or new note in your phone/computer where you can jot down all those ideas and to-dos that pop into your mind just as you’re about to dive into an important project. By having a place to park these interrupting thoughts without stopping to do them, you will be able to stay focused on what you need get done.
I have one last thought I want to share with you to help you get motivated to get the stuff done that you’re dreading: What’s the cost of not getting it done? Have you ever noticed how much energy it takes not doing what you know you must? Take note when you hear that inner voice whisper for the third time, “When are you going to start that project you’re avoiding?”
Incompletions are those things in our lives that were left unfinished. We all have them. They are like little holes in a balloon that seep out our energy and confidence. There’s a lot we don’t have control over, but we do have control over getting some of those dreaded projects done. I wish you a great week and hope you can use some of these tips and tools to focus complete those projects.