Written By: Hope Jennings
A lot of good plans can go down the drain if you procrastinate. But you shake the habit by using these 15 self-starters and by keeping in mind these truths:
- Indecision is nearly always the worst mistake you can make. It wastes more time than you can image.
- The pursuit of excellence is healthy; the pursuit of perfection is frustrating and a waste of time.
- A goal is not a plan. You need a specific plan to enable you to reach your goal.
- Of all the time-saving techniques every developed, the most effective is to use the word no to keep yourself from being lured into doing things you don't want to do or don't have time to do.
1. Make a list of everything you need to do.
Give each item a different priority. Dig in on priority one and stick with it until it's done. Then go on to priority two. Cross off each item as you do it. That way you get the satisfaction of having done part of what you have to do.
2. Make note-taking a habit.
It's ridiculous not to do something because you forgot to write it down. This is my biggest flaw. Don't pride yourself on your memory. The process of writing things down also forces you to be specific and helps you visualize your plans.
3. Break a big job down into smaller parts.
If you have to call 50 people, break your list down into 5 lists of 10 people. If you do a fifth of the job at a time, it becomes easier to deal with.
4. Put what needs to be done right in front of you.
Resist the impulse to hide a distasteful task you don't want to do.
5. Keep reselling yourself on the benefits of doing what has to be done.
Remind yourself of the eventual rewards of doing something that's tedious. If there aren't any rewards, then it could be that you're shooting at the wrong target!
6. Figure out why you put things off.
If you cannot motivate yourself to do a particular job, it's either not worth the effort, or you're afraid you can't do it. Find out what's wrong. Then correct it.
7. Emphasize doing - not doing perfectly.
When you feel you must do things just so, you often can't bring yourself to start a job. But making an honest mistake is not the end of the world.
8. Force yourself to get started.
If you're like most people, you associate confidence with action. Once you take some action. Once you take some action, your confidence will automatically go up.
9. Create a self-monitoring system.
Use a series of checkpoints to monitor your progress. If you want to complete 12 errands by the end of the week, check on Tuesday or Wednesday to see whether you've done at least 6 or 7 of them. If you haven't, get busy!
10. Establish deadlines for yourself.
Set exact time limits for getting things done. There's a big difference between saying, "I'll answer my aunt's letter the first chance I get" and "I'll answer my aunt's letter before I go to bed tonight." When you establish deadlines, make certain that they are realistic, and then be sure to stick to them.
11. Learn to value your time.
Putting a mental price on your time helps you decide whether it's worthwhile to tackle some of the minor jobs that eat up your day.
12. Avoid telephone traps.
When you call someone, protect your time by knowing beforehand what you want to accomplish.
13. Discourage interruptions.
You can keep your friendships as well as your schedule if you let interrupters know in a polite way that you're really pressed for time.
14. Use all the time you have.
You can add to your productive hours if you use your travel time, waiting time, eating time, every spare moment for thinking out problems and jotting down ideas.
15. Anticipate your daily needs.
Avoid minor frustrations that eat away at your time by having on hand such everyday items as stamps, change for parking meters, etc. Make planning ahead second nature.