Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tips & Tricks To Help You Boost Productivity & Overcome Procrastination : Defeating Procrastination

Defeating Procrastination

1. Evaluate the task you’re avoiding. What is it that prevents you from getting started on this project? Often a task seems overwhelming. The way to overcome this is to break it down into smaller pieces. Divide a large task into sub-components that are quicker and easier to do. Break it down and it becomes less of a monster. Look at it as a series of smaller tasks. Then finish them of, one at a time.

2. Weigh the consequences. What’s the worst thing that can happen if you procrastinate and fail to complete this task? Conversely, what is the best possible result of getting it done on time? Now, do the right thing and jump right in.

3. Begin immediately. Get started now. Take charge of the situation at once and initiate the action steps you need to take. Even the most daunting task can be a lot easier once we roll up our sleeves and get busy. Start to develop a reputation for getting things done. Putting important tasks off makes you appear to be less committed to accomplishment.

4. Make a public declaration to reinforce your commitment. Find someone who you’d be embarrassed to let down by not following through on your declaration. Share your objective and the timeline for achieving it with this individual. Then, get on it right away. Making your commitment public forces you to be accountable. You’ll be less likely to goof off and more inclined to bear down and do whatever is necessary.

5. Act on anything that will help you get closer to the successful completion of the task before you. Open that file, dial the first number on your list, write the first line of your letter—anything that can help you get rolling so you can build a little momentum.

6. Think before you act. If you’re having difficulty getting started, take 5 minutes to think about it first. Probe your mind for the reasons behind the procrastination. Force your self to analyze why you’re delaying this project. Then face up to it. Confront your fears by taking some kind of positive action.

7. Do the thing you keep putting off, first. Complete this troublesome task early in the day. Once completed, you’ll feel energized and the rest of the day will be a breeze.

8. Listen to the excuses you’re using for putting certain jobs off, in favor of others. Always go back to the one task that’s most important at this moment and work on that. It’s easy to get caught in the trap of working very diligently on something else as a means to avoid doing what you really should be doing. Catch yourself and re-adjust your course of action.

9. Play games with yourself. Turn boring, mundane work into a fun game. Challenge yourself to break your speed record or to find a more efficient, more productive way to perform this task. You’ll improve productivity, have a little fun, complete the “boring” work and you may even discover a revolutionary process that can change traditional thinking.

10. Recognize your delay tactics for what they are and then take some action. Have many times have you thought about doing something only to talk yourself out of it because it was too difficult, too inconvenient or too unappealing? Listen to your internal voice but be prepared to overrule if it’s preventing you from doing the important things. Rarely is a task as oppressive as it seems. Usually, “the stewing is worse than the doing”.

11. Change your attitude about it and any task can become more bearable. Catch yourself moaning about the job you have to do and then, make a radical shift. You can often spend more time griping about having to do the job than it actually takes to just do it!

12. Find out why you’re putting it off. Here’s the main reasons why people procrastinate: A) other things seem more important… B) the task is so unpleasant that virtually anything else would be preferred… and C) a lack of confidence in one’s own ability to accomplish the task.

13. Re-frame the unpleasant tasks to make them more acceptable to do. Nothing by itself is either good or bad. It’s the thinking about it that makes it so. Nothing is either painful or pleasurable until we decide which it is. How you choose to look at a task can make a big difference. See it in a positive light and you’ll get it done faster and emerge unscathed. Once you’ve mastered this skill, you’ve conquered the demon of procrastination.

14. Turn it into a pleasurable activity and it will be much easier to handle. We never procrastinate on the things that make us feel good. Make it fun. Make it a challenge or a competition. Turn it into an exciting adventure. It’s often the perceived pain that’s the root cause of procrastination. Build up enough pleasure and the pain subsides enough so you forget about it and get the job done.

15. Visualize the task successfully completed in your minds’ eye. Internalize the
feelings of success and accomplishment. Amplify it. Reinforce the joy. Lock these sensory experiences into your memory bank and relive them often. Do it enough and the mental image will in turn create the physical reality.

16. Create two lists on a single sheet of paper. First, divide the page lengthwise
into two equal columns. On the left, list all the reasons for not doing a particular task. On the right, list all the reasons for getting it done. Now, you have to play a little game with yourself. You want to stack the reasons so overwhelmingly in favor of action, that failing to take action looks like such an inferior choice, that only a fool would opt for this choice.

17. Attack the problem as though you were a master at getting things done. Think of someone you know whose accomplishments consistently impress you. Now, pretend you are this person. How would they face this situation? What actions would they take? What would they do to just get it done? Next, prepare an outline of how this unique achiever would actually complete the project if it were their own. Then, follow the plan.

How to Avoid Making ArtThe Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff DoneStudent Orientation Series: Stop Procrastination Now! 10 Simple and SUCCESSFUL Steps for Student SuccessConquering Procrastination: How to Stop Stalling & Start Achieving!How to Stop Procrastination (And Finish What You Start)Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less TimeStop Procrastinating Now

Tips & Tricks To Help You Boost Productivity & Overcome Procrastination : Monitor Your Time

Monitor Your Time

1. Pay particular attention to the little things. In time management, those “little
things” are the seemingly insignificant moments that we spend in a less than productive way. Over a lifetime, those days, hours and minutes can add up to a huge chunk of time that might have been better invested.

2. Maintain your focus on accomplishing the most vitally-important task at all times during the business day. Doing this will set you apart from most people. Unsuccessful people are often very busy, but they’re seldom working on the most productive task.

3. Create a “tickler” system to remind you in advance of upcoming assignments, events, special dates and deadlines. “Ticklers” are periodic reminders you add to your day organizer. Preparation gives you a great advantage and regular reminders provide time to prepare for any situation or task.

4. Monitor your time for one week. Account for every hour and every minute within that hour. At the end of the week, review it. Total the hours and how they were spent. If you honestly separate real productive time from the other activities in your life, you’ll be sure to spot obvious opportunities for improving effectiveness.

5. Recognize when a directional shift is required. If a process or strategy isn’t
working for you and you seem to be spinning your wheels, stop and make a change. Minimize your loss in time and energy when your efforts don’t seem to be going anywhere. Modify your approach. Adjust. Regroup in a way that does work for you.

6. Watch out for the little time-wasters. Saving a couple of minutes each day can make a huge difference over a lifetime. Think efficiency. Condition this into your very core. Then, pay attention to the time spent standing in front of the closet trying to decide what clothes to wear, or looking for your car keys when you’ve misplaced them. Your life is nothing more than a collection of minutes, hours and days.

7. Record an accurate log of the time required to complete each project, job, assignment or task. Such a document will help you with future estimates of time requirements. Seeing it on paper is often a revelation. You’ll spot areas where efficiency could be improved.

8. Analyze early. Know when a project is due and what must be done to meet the specified details. Before you launch into full scale action, determine the general steps that are required for completion. Create a basic breakdown of major sources or contributors to the job. A list might include the library, coworkers, outside vendors, and the client. What would be required of each? What work can be done in your office? What information or supplies must be gained elsewhere? A quick analysis gives you a better scope of the work ahead.

9. Use your work time for actual work—those tasks that will help you finish one job after another. Get busy doing the important things for the project in front of you. Leave all your planning and organizing for the end of the day, after the important daily work is completed.

About Time: Einstein's Unfinished RevolutionThe Time Paradox: The New Psychology of Time That Will Change Your LifeThe Philosophy of Time (Oxford Readings in Philosophy)Time: Big Ideas, Small BooksThe Secret Pulse of Time: Making Sense of Life's Scarcest CommodityThe Philosophy of Space and TimeThis Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial FollyA Mind at a Time

Tips & Tricks To Help You Boost Productivity & Overcome Procrastination : Tactics, Techniques And Action Steps

Tactics, Techniques And Action Steps

1. Eliminate personal interruptions. When you’re on a roll, the last thing you want is to be stopped in your tracks by unnecessary intrusions. Great accomplishments occur when you gather momentum and a sense of rhythm as you progress towards a successful conclusion. Interruptions can hinder your success. Don’t let it happen. Use controls such as door signs and voice mail. If you must, seek out a work space where no one else can find you. Or, adjust your hours to give you creative time at non-peak periods.

2. Learn to say no to low pay-off tasks. It’s easy to be busy with less important work. If the task is not important today, don’t waste your time on it. The fewer low pay-off items you work on, the more productive you’ll be.

3. Wipe out any unnecessary travel. Take advantage of today’s time-saving technology. Wherever possible, use the telephone, fax machine or e-mail to deal with the important issues of the day. Avoiding personal visits frees up time for more productive work.

4. Speak your thoughts into a cassette recorder, or use voice-recognition software and then edit your spoken words into the appropriate format. This is an easy way to express your ideas, without trying to “write” the perfect piece. For many people, writing is a chore—but talking is easy, as long as it’s not to an audience. In many cases, the most effective writing is a one-on-one personal communication.

5. Introduce daily deadlines. Like them or not, deadlines increase productivity. The closer we get to an impending deadline, the more we are pressured into doing whatever it takes to complete the task. Institute a series of deadlines— monthly… weekly… daily. As each deadline approaches, the real work begins. Deadlines can give your productivity a significant boost as long as you stick to them.

6. Stand up while communicating on the telephone. Standing helps you get right to the point, for a faster, more productive call. It’s easy to get a little too comfortable while sitting and phone conversations seem to drag on longer.

7. Group several small, related tasks together and knock them off at the same time. Return all telephone calls at one point in the day, preferably after you’ve completed your crucial action to-do list. Completing several small tasks at once is easier as you build the momentum. Consolidating your efforts helps you make the most of your time. Cluster together small jobs like banking and post office pick-up/delivery, or data-base updating and responding to e-mail messages. When you’re forced to shift from one type of activity to another and back again, you lose time trying to re-focus and re-gain momentum.

8. Conduct meetings efficiently. Make it known in advance the precise start time and stick with it. Close the door to begin the meeting. Don’t feel obligated to brief latecomers. Develop a reputation for holding meetings on time regardless. People will soon come to understand that you mean business and your meetings will be more productive. Scheduling meetings at odd times like 1:50pm or 3:25pm will help to convey a need for punctuality.

9. Challenge yourself. Always try to beat your personal best. Focus your attention on finding a better, more efficient way of doing the same task before you. By making it a game, you can turn even the most mundane task into something is interesting and fun.

10. Start your to-do list on a single, full-size sheet of paper. List everything, without concern for where it might fit in sequence. After listing all tasks, identify the 3 specific groups of tasks (A’s, B’s &C’s) by using different colored markers. Once prioritized, you can then re-organize them easily into your day planner in the right sequence. This way, as you start each day, all your critical tasks are already laid out for you.

11. Group all your important records together. Maintain only one to-do list and one day planner. Preferably, your to-do list should be a part of your planner. Keep permanent records and avoid making notes on envelopes and small shreds of paper. Use your planner/notebook for all documentation. To try and utilize more than one list is unproductive duplication. You also run the risk of missing a key element while transferring bits of data.

12. Get right to the point in all communications. Avoid the long and wasteful windup. Keep your message short and sweet wherever possible. Trim the fat and the filler. Be respectful of others time and they’ll return the favor.

13. Generate hard copy records of your duties and responsibilities. If you rely exclusively on your computer’s hard drive to keep records, sooner or later you’re bound to experience a frustrating crash that could wipe out everything. Computers can and do fail. If that’s all you have, without back-up, you could face serious frustrations. Build a paper trail, so you always have back-up to prevent any possible mishap.

14. Catch yourself achieving and reward yourself with glowing praise. Life, in many respects, is a mind game. Sometimes playing little tricks and games with ourselves can stimulate new levels of productivity and accomplishment. A little positive self-talk for goals reached can help you achieve more.

15. Add incentives to trigger greater effort. Promise yourself or your team, something that would really be enjoyed, if you can reach your target on time. Dangle a big enough carrot and you’ll find creative ways to overcome obstacles and achieve goals in record time.

16. Post your plan. Keeping a visible record of your progress as you work away at a difficult project can spur you on to greater achievements. Use your outline as a checklist and mark off each individual task as it’s completed. This helps you stay on track, maintain motivation and provides visual proof of accomplishment.

17. Start somewhere other than the beginning. Sometimes it’s best to just get started at any point on a project. Trying to stick to the start-to-finish protocol
you learned in school, may be counter-productive. If the beginning is causing you difficulty, skip it and move on to something you can do right away. Take the easiest step, and do it first. Then go on to the next easiest.

18. Take some form of productive action immediately. Know that your moment of power is NOW. Nothing in the past… and nothing in the future is as vital as the moment before you right now. The only time you can count on with certainty are those moments that lie before you today. Do not waste them.

19. Produce forms to reduce duplication of creative energies. Prepare generic documents that can be used for similar applications, over and over again. Fax cover sheets, meeting agenda forms, questionnaires, and testimonial requests are but a few examples of documents that can be standardized for widespread use.

20. Act as your own coach. On days when your tempted to wander from the most important task, catch yourself and adjust your course. The easiest way to develop self-motivation is to keep your main goal in view at all times. The goal is the reason-why you’re doing what you’re doing. Having a goal in mind, something that you’re working toward, gives you the fuel you need to get through the tough times.

21. Face challenges and difficulties head-on. Often the most important task at any given time is the least appealing. When that’s the case, the best thing to do is to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Dig in. Usually it’s not as bad as you’ve imagined.

22. Delegate wherever possible. Follow-up to make sure others are on track and on time. Often, individual tasks can be handled by others. Utilizing the resources of others can be a big help where adequate direction and training has been provided.

23. Establish an efficient filing system. Nothing is more frustrating than knowing
you have the materials you need… and not being able to locate them. One way of adding efficiency to filing is to create an index page and place it at the front of each file drawer. Categories can be numbered systems or alphabetical listings, as long as there’s plenty of room for relevant additions. As you add a new file to the draw, note it on the index. Put everything in it’s rightful place and it will be there when you need it.

24. Keep your day planner (preferred) or a notebook within reach at all times. Record all your ideas, thoughts, concepts and any other information that can pop into your mind at anytime… and often does while you’re busy doing other things. Make note of non-urgent issues you wish to share with others and do so at the end of the workday.

25. Make decisions quickly and firmly. People who get things done in life seem to share the characteristic of making quick decisions and sticking with them. Don’t waste time deliberating. Size up the situation as best you can and make a decision. Not all decisions can be made that quickly, but many day-to-day type decisions can be. The more you practice this, the better and more efficient you’ll become.

26. Minimize the time it takes to prepare responses. Learn to use the phone effectively to deliver prompt responses. Wherever possible, use the telephone to reply to correspondence. Letters and faxes don’t necessarily have to be responded to in like fashion. A simple phone call can often do the trick in a fraction of the time it would take to prepare send a letter.

27. Maintain a sound mind and body. Good physical and mental health are essential to maximum accomplishment. Managing your time is about managing your life and good health is vital to a good life. To enjoy your accomplishments to the fullest, you need good health. Without it, nothing else matters much. Being in excellent physical condition gives you more stamina and endurance. It also makes you more alert and less stressed.

28. Exercise on a regular basis. Treat your body as a well-maintained machine and you’ll operate more efficiently, for greater periods of time. Regular exercise of any kind can help you feel more vibrant and alive. Rest after physical exertion is what re-builds and strengthens the body.

29. Learn to speed-read. Many courses and books are available to help you. It’s surprisingly easy for average readers to at least double their typical reading speed with the help of a few simple ideas and techniques. Most courses are designed to go way beyond doubling your speed, but they do require continuous practice. Just doubling your speed will cut reading time in half, freeing up more time for other important tasks.

30. Concentrate on the desired result at all times. Know your outcome. Be aware of your goal and the sense of accomplishment you’ll experience with each completed task. By keeping the end result clearly in mind, you’ll know why it’s important that you press on to get things done.

31. Stick to your schedule. While it’s inevitable that other things come up periodically that call for your attention, you must not get side-tracked. When a
distraction occurs…acknowledge it, record the details, then set it aside for a later time. After you’ve completed your critical tasks for the day, go back to the notes and deal with the interruption then.

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