Time and Personal Management: Eat that Frog!2nd Feb, 2014
“Three o’clock is always too late and too early for anything you want to do”
– Jean-Paul Satre
Why do we procrastinate?
Procrastination flourishes when we believe there is some spare time in the future (however imaginary) and something more pleasurable to do now (however unimportant!)
I don’t know if the Internet has made things worse but anecdotally I now often hear the excuse of wasting time surfing the web as a major contribution to procrastination.
We may also procrastinate because of the desire for perfection or the fear of failure.
Equally some of us may procrastinate because we enjoy the adrenalin of the last minute rush.
Are you a procrastinator? What causes you to procrastinate?
What things do we procrastinate over?
Typically we procrastinate over things that are
- Dull or Unpleasant
- Complex or Overwhelming
What are you procrastinating over at present?
What can we do to overcome procrastination?
Eat that frog: Brian Tracy in his classic book “Eat that Frog” suggests that the best way is to start each day by ‘eating the frog’ – the most important thing, however dull, unpleasant, complex or overwhelming. Another popular technique is known by the acronym BANJO – ‘bang a nasty job off’! Imagine the feeling of having completed the most important piece of work for the day first – before those emails, phone calls, meetings that overwhelm so many.
‘To be done’ list: Most of us have some way of collating ‘things to do’. Tracy suggests that we need two lists. One list is a data warehouse of everything we have to do and the second is a shorter list, just for today, of ‘to be dones’.
Another tip is to complete the ‘to be done’ list the night before which frees the mind for a good sleep and allows you to start on ‘the frog’ immediately the next day.
Pareto’s 80/20 rule suggests that we get 80% of our results from 20% of our efforts and so it may be worth considering what will provide the biggest pay off towards our goals and so be worthy of being on the ‘to be dones’ list.
Are you an owl or a lark? We may also want to consider protecting our best time to focus on the important stuff. Knowing our best time of day for focusing and then finding time in the diary for a concentrated stretch of time without interruption will really help to get our key things done.
Stopping interruptions: Interruptions are great excuses for not doing something. So we may need to consider handling email, phone calls, drop-in visitors, etc. more systematically and/or assertively.
How do you eat an elephant? Answer – one slice at a time. Complex or overwhelming tasks that are broken down into ‘bite-size’ chunks suddenly become digestible and so we are less likely to procrastinate.
The day before the holiday. One of my favourite previous tips discusses how we always seen to achieve more, delegate more, bin more, organise more the day before a holiday. Maybe having that mindset everyday would help prevent procrastination?
Everyone will organise their day differently. How can you maximise your effectiveness?
Food For thought?
Please note: We run a variety of bespoke in-house workshops on personal management and time management.
Posted By: Colin Graves