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The frog, the octopus and the procrastinator

Clearly this is not about a menu dilemma.

It is, however, about dilemmas and difficulties, especially as we get more busy and pressure mounts.

It seems, from many conversations recently that a lot of people are looking to tame their procrastination behaviour for 2011 …. and are looking to me to get them through the pain barrier and out the other side.

Let’s get the octopus out of the way first.

If we keep postponing important work and keep ourselves busy with distraction activity we can resemble an octopus on roller skates – all movement and no direction. We also risk sapping our energy and our drive. We do – of course – eventually get around to the stuff we have procrastinated on but it is rarely completed at peak performance levels with a sense of purpose and pride. It is usually completed with a sense of anxiety and dread (usually about the looming deadline), after which we beat ourselves up about our procrastination behaviour!

What’s the frog got to do with it?

Well, many people are looking for tools, tricks and tips to help them break their procrastination habit. They look outside themselves for answers – but the answers almost always lie within.

Technology can compound the procrastination problem.

Yes, you can find an App for almost anything…  Yes, you can use training like ours to use your Outlook, Smartphone, Google Apps, Salesforce and other tools to help you manage your competing priorities better within your heavy workload, BUT the real, enduring answers always lie within. (Which is why I place so high a priority on personal support for learning). I have written on the impact that technology can have on procrastination behaviour before.

I believe that the quality of the question determines the quality of the outcome – always

So, when you are looking at your prioritised Task list and you are tempted to procrastinate on the task that you know is the most important today just ask yourself 2 questions:

  1. If I don’t do the task now will it go away?
  2. Will doing the task become easier with time?

If the answer to either or both is NO, we better buckle down and do it.

The best time to do a procrastination candidate task is first thing in the morning

Gear yourself up – get started on it – do something with it – move it forward – complete it if you can – get to a natural break-point in it if you can’t – then reschedule and prioritise it for your next action. Then bask in the satisfaction that you did something difficult but worthwhile, feel the energy flow through your body and your brain and look around for the next piece of work to eat up.

But, what about Eat The Frog Richard?

Oh yea, the frog. Well, there is a quote (probably misattributed) to Mark Twain, that has been picked up by many people over time, including Brian Tracy, that goes something like this:

‘If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.’

So, eat the frog first thing and things can only get better! If you have the time watch this cool one and a half minute video on ‘Eat the Frog’ from Brian Tracy.

Till next time,

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