everything curriculum | January 2018
If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.
Trick yourself into working
Know your enemy
Procrastination is one of my biggest blockers to productivity. I find that my procrastination monkey kicks in when I have my big pieces of work to complete, particularly when it is a piece of work that I do not enjoy completing.
One way to trick myself into working and completing these tasks is adopting Brian Tracy’s approach of ‘eating the frog’.
There’s a saying “if the first thing you do when you wake up each morning is eat a live frog, nothing worse can happen for the rest of the day!”
I believe that’s a safe assumption! Brain Tracy suggests that your ‘frog’ should be the most difficult task on your pad – the one that you’re most likely to procrastinate on. If you ‘eat that first’, it will give you momentum and engagement for the rest of the day. But if you don’t, if you let him sit on the plate while you do a hundred unimportant things it can drain your energy and you won’t even know it!
So, your homework – review your tasks and identify your frog. Eat that first!
Record everything you do for a day or two, better still if you have varied days, keep the time–log for a week. You’ll be amazed; for instance, how long on average are you able to work between each interruption? Many managers struggle to achieve more than five or six minutes. If that’s you, you need to make changes.
Challenge anything that could be wasting time and effort, particularly habitual tasks, meetings and reports where responsibility is inherited or handed down from above. Don’t just assume that just because ‘we’ve always done it this way’ that it’s still appropriate or even required at all. Think about why you are doing things, and whether there is a better way.
Review your activities in terms of your short–term and long–term goals, and prioritise your activities accordingly. Especially, plan preparation and creative thinking time in your diary for the long–term jobs, because they need it. If you don’t plan for the preparation you’ll never do it, and all the work will get left to the last minute (sound familiar?). The short–term urgent tasks will always use up all your time unless you plan to spend it otherwise.
See Think Productive team for more information.
Time management – part two
Will feature in the next edition, where John will share more advice and tips to help manage your time more effectively.
John’s first career was as a PE teacher. He has almost 20 years’ experience working in commercial training departments within both the public and private sector. He’s always been passionate about helping people realise their potential.
His specialisms are management development and leadership, with a focus on helping people to find the best solutions that make a difference to their working lives.
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