SLT037: Procrastination, and Doing a Personal Review
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Let’s face it, we all suffer from procrastination once in a while. Sooner or later we need to deal with. Ironic right? If procrastination is something you’ve struggled with, there are a few things you can do to help overcome it.

Along the same lines, as we go through life we all pick up bad habits, get into negative routines, and generally get off track from how we want or intend to live our live. It really helps to stop once in a while, contemplate your life, and do a personal review. Read more… 

Procrastination and Doing a Personal Review

Vanessa’s Topic: Procrastination

Dan and I just came off of a 1 month working vacation (Episode 35)It was so much fun I really didn’t want it to end, but  I was actually looking forward to getting back to work.  My transition has been a little bit tough though.  It’s not that I lack the motivation…I’m just having problems getting started. And I know I’m not the only one who struggles with procrastination.  Even the most productive of us struggle at some point or in a particular area of our lives where we tend to procrastinate.

So as a firm believer that you can control your environment and that you are responsible for your choices (SLT Episode 32)…I wanted to discuss and share some reasons why I think we tend to procrastinate and perhaps share some strategies on how to overcome it.  Read more…

When you can pinpoint the cause, obviously you’re better able to tackle the issue or obstacle if you will.

Some causes of procrastination?

  • Too many “new” things to tackle….new routines, new habits, new projects, new schedules.
  • Fear…of failure or success…or not achieving perfection…or being disappointed!
  • Unpleasantness of the task.
  • Becoming overwhelmed with major life events.
  • Being overextended with family, friends and work obligations.
  • Being indecisive.
  • Failing to prioritize what is important in our lives.

Tools that might help with procrastination:

  • Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.  List your priorities and compare them to your goals.  If something you think is a priority but doesn’t line up with your goals…consider dumping it.
  • Use the 4 Ds as a guide: Can I Delegate…Delay…Delete…or do I need to actually Do a task? Delegating is nice but you may have to pay to outsoursce the help.  Delay is an alternative but you’ll still have to do it.  Deleting or saying “NO” is one of my favorites! And of course you can decide to do it.
  • Break down big projects into smaller tasks. This helps you stay focused instead of getting burned out trying to get it all done at once.
  • If you’re having trouble deciding where to start…Just do something…anything! Sometimes that’s all it takes.
  • Establish uninterrupted time.  Mark on your calendar when you want to work on a project and don’t let yourself get interrupted.  Turn off the TV, mute your email, don’t answer your phone, and tell the kids and family not to bother you.  It’s really that simple.  Try this at work too.
  • Establish regular routines for your recurring tasks.  Block off time on your calendars solely dedicated to your recurring tasks like, checking email, calling family, exercising, grocery shopping mowing the lawn, etc.  This will prevent you from trying to get these things done when you should be working on another project.
  • Visualize the finish. Instead of looking at all the work it’s going to take, get motivated by visualizing the end state (Episode 30) of a project. That can be motivating in and of itself.
  • Do the tough stuff first. Get the not-so-fun and difficult tasks done first…then the rest will feel like a breeze.
  • Peer pressure. Ask a friend, coworker or significant other to help keep you on track and accountable.
  • Imagine the  feeling of completion. How are you going to “feel” once the task is complete.  Proud?  Accomplished?  Relieved? Less stressed?  Happy?
  • Tune out negative self-talk. Don’t say, “I can’t.”  Instead, change your thoughts to, “I can do it.  I want to do this. I will do this. I’m going to “rock” at this!”
  • “False Motivation Is Better Than No Motivation!”   If you pretend a project is fun and start making light of the situation, more often than not, you’ll actually start to enjoy it!
  • Establish a reward. Treat yourself when you finish your project.  Maybe you could go out to dinner, read a book, buy a new pair of shoes, or treat yourself to a kid-free afternoon….whatever!

So as you can see, there are several ways to combat procrastination.  First try to identify the cause then try one or several of these strategies to help you get out of your funk and get things done.  At the very least you’ll be less stressed.

Dan’s Topic: A Personal Review

I thought that as I was going through my own personal review, maybe I’d share my thoughts for me so that if you’re coming up on your own personal review you might be able to glean some ideas from what I’m doing.

Lead-In to My Personal Review:

  • Not as productive as I could be

  • Am I taking the path of least resistance

  • Important to take time to reflect, contemplate, and adjust course:  Are my actions in line with my Pillars, Goals and Plans

  • Realized that my feelings were spot on…I wasn’t as productive as I was capable of being and I had let myself get a little off-course

  • Maybe discussing my PR will be the spark you need to do your own PR, if applicable…sometimes we just need a little “push” and if mentioning it in the show helps you, then great!

You:

  • If you have ideas you’d like to share for how you do your Personal Review or whatever you call it, I’d love to hear them.

  • As I put my SOP together I’m certainly open to new ideas

Here are the Top 5 Things I’m Working On:

1- Structure the first half of my day (Goal)

  • Trying to focus on my peak productivity time (AM)

  • Understand my blocks of time (refer to Episode 30 for more on Habits, Routines & Rhythms)

  • I think I’ll do this incrementally, starting with my first block of time, Early Morning

  • Give it some time and reevaluate (I don’t think I’ll wait the typical “give it 30 days” before I incorporate the next block of time. We’ll see.)

You:

  • Have you purposefully structured your day or have you allowed it to be structured for you?

  • What about your “free time”? How do you protect, structure and best utilize that?

  • Maybe it’s time to take a look?

2-  Focus more on Completion versus Doing More.

  • We all know doing more doesn’t equal getting more done. Ex, treadmill.

  • I’m an idea person and constantly get good ideas in my head…but it’s too easy to bounce around and lose focus

  • What kind of things am I talking about? Books, Projects, Courses I’ve paid for.

  • How? Essentially, reevaluate if they are still important to me.

    • Complete the books or let them go

    • Complete the project or let it go

    • Why did I buy that course?

  • There’s certainly a sense of satisfaction and calm that comes with completion

You:

  • So what are some things you’ve let pile up, either physical things or tasks, or that list of “Someday, I’ll (fill in the blank)?

  • Maybe it’s time to list those out and deal with them?

  • Maybe it’s time to let some of them go?

3- Improvement of SLT as a resource

  • Improve the website

  • More written blog posts and videos

  • Still struggling with the whole community “thing”…not sure if a full-blown community is best or simply a forum where all of the great Q&As like on the Edit & Forget It Challenge FB page are captured

  • I’ve been terrible about emails, subscription stuff

You:

  • What’s a project that’s important to you that you love, care about and want to see grow into something bigger?

  • What’s holding you back from taking action on itYour abilities? Your imagination? Resources?

  • What can you do to work around or overcome those obstacles?

  • Maybe it’s time to spend a little time thinking it out?

4- Revisit my Consumption to Production Ratio (C:P)

  • I have to admit, my consumption habits for information have done a complete 180!

  • I used to read feeds from over 100 blogs daily, and listen to podcasts incessantly.

  • I did a shift a few months ago to curb my consumption and increase my production.

  • I was just too caught up in consuming content and wasn’t producing any.

  • Well, my consumption certainly dropped, and eventually so did my production!!!

You:

  • Is there something you produce or are responsible for that you’ve let slide? Any idea why?

  • Maybe the 5 Whys analysis tool I talked about in Episode 36 can help you get to the root cause.

5- Health and Fitness

  • This one is a long-term problem for me since revenue from the fitness industry just in the US last year topped $45 Billion!

  • Work used to take care of this for me…I didn’t even have to think about exercise

  • Well, some medical conditions, injuries and retirement have put a big damper on my level of activity

  • Still, I haven’t done nearly enough to overcome those conditions and habits

  • Again, we tend to take the path of least resistance

You:

  • What’s the one area where you keep finding yourself falling short of you goals, or more likely, your dreams?

  • It may not be fitness, but maybe its organization, finances, speaking, technology, or some other area of your life?

  • Is there someone you can learn from either in person or online? A coach, a mentor, someone you admire?

  • If you take a little time, there are probably tons of lost cost or free resources you can tap into

 THING Segment

Dan’s Thing: John Bardo’s Simple Success Manifesto

Vanessa’s Thing: Ibex and Icebreaker merino wool travel clothing

Announcements:

The Google Drive Tutorial is now available for purchase! This tutorial is just over an hour long and focuses on all the fundamentals of how to use Google Drive for creating, sharing, and storing  documents using Google’s free, full-fledged office suite. This tutorial is available for $9.99, and you’ll learn how to create text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, and even forms and surveys! So, don’t wait to pay full price! You can have immediate access to Dan’s 1 hour+  windshield tour of Google Drive right now! Simply click here or go to SimpleLifeTogether.com/GoogleDrive. Plus, if you’re not completely satisfied I’ll give you your money back. So, no clutter and no risk…simple!

Resources and Links:

Ibex Merino Merino Wool Clothing

Icebreaker Merino Wool Clothing

John Bardo’s Simple Success Manifesto

Erik Fisher’s Interview w/us on Beyond The To Do List

Eisenhower Priority Matrix 

Accountability Website Dan Couldn’t Remember in the Show is Stickk.com (only risk money, not embarrassment!)

If you haven’t already, please be sure to go to iTunes to subscribe to the show. Don’t forget to leave us a rating & review! Thanks!

 

Photo courtesy of hang_in_there

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