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Posts tagged ‘time management’

How to Beat Procrastination

 

How to Beat Procrastination 

Procrastination is the leisure time we build into our day when we don’t have enough leisure time.

Is that true for you?

Let’s look at some of the reasons we procrastinate:

1. Lack of How To

When we don’t know how to do a task or don’t know how to get started, and don’t have someone to ask, we tend to put the task off.

2. Overwhelm

The task is so big we don’t know where to get started and there is no end in sight, there is so much to do.

3. Stress

Stress can be a trigger for procrastination. We procrastinate when we can least afford it.

4. Lack of time management

Spending time on non-essential tasks can be a form of ongoing procrastination, until we are face to face with a deadline.

5. Perfectionism

It is easy to procrastinate when we know that the end result of our work is never good enough.

6. Lack of Goals

Very few people live their life on purpose. Most people go through the motions of what needs to be done day in and day out.

 

What can you do in each of these situations?

1. Lack of How To

First of all decide if there is a resource that can help you get started. It could be a book, a person whom you can ask for help, or searching for answers on the internet. Other times the best course of action is to get started. Set aside 30 minutes and try to figure out something to get you started. Get started with breaking the job into bite-size tasks and then tackling these one at a time.

2. Overwhelm

If a task is too big, the first thing is to break it down into smaller chunks. If there is just too much to do, write down all that needs to be done. Cross out the tasks that you can do without. Delegate tasks that someone else can do. Prioritize the most important tasks, knowing that some lower priority tasks may not get done. Sometimes you can negotiate for extra time.

3. Stress

When you feel the stress getting to you, take a relaxation break. Take some deep breaths; meditate for 3-5 minutes; get up and take a short 5 minute walk; listen to a piece of music. Rather than letting the stress get to you and pushing forward, a short break may be the answer.

4. Time Management

One way to manage time is to manage priorities. Eliminate non-essential tasks. Work on the most important tasks first. Another form of time management is to break large tasks into blocks and spread them over time. For example taxes need to be filed every year. Instead of waiting until April to get the taxes done, spend time every month to organize your tax receipts and bank statements, so that the task is small when the taxes need to be filed.

Write down all your tasks and divide them into 4 categories:

  •      Important and urgent
  •      Important and not urgent
  •      Not important and urgent
  •      Not important and not urgent

Then eliminate as many of the not important and not urgent tasks as possible.

Regularly work on important tasks while they are not yet urgent. This eliminates a great deal of stress in your life by preventing urgent tasks in your life.

5. Perfectionism

This is a tough one to overcome. Often this trait was encouraged from early on – like getting all A’s on your report card. One way to tackle this is to allow yourself trial runs or in case of a document – a first draft – or even just the first few paragraphs. With practice you can loosen the grip of perfectionism.

6. Lack of Goals

Goals give your life direction. Take time out to dream about your life 1, 5, 10 or even 20 years into the future. Think about where you’d like to live, who you’d like to be sharing your life with, and what you’d like to have. Then build tasks into your schedule that will get you closer to your dreams. Those tasks are important motivators to keep you going with everything you need to get done.

 

Next Steps

Recognizing how you spend your day and what needs to change can be a real challenge to do alone.

Consider keeping a time log for a couple of weeks and reach out for help to implement changes to the way you live your life. Remember to build regular leisure activities into your days and weeks. It replenishes your energy to keep going.

 

Contact me:

To determine if coaching can help you achieve your goals, schedule a free coaching consultation. Call Edith at 847.913.3900. 

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

If you are not getting enough sleep you probably don’t even realize it.

“Small amounts of sleep loss (eg, 1 hour per night over many nights) have subtle cognitive costs, which appear to go unrecognized by the individual experiencing the sleep loss. More severe restriction of sleep for a week leads to profound cognitive deficits similar to those seen in some stroke patients, which also appear to go unrecognized by the individual.” (From the website http://www.medscape.com and the research of David Thorne)

In the video game “Zeitgeist”, a character suffering from sleep deprivation, then fatigue, then exhaustion, suffers increasingly severe penalties (can’t do spells, less strength and dexterity). In the game the penalties for sleep deprivation are obvious. If we could invent an easy to use “thermometer” for measuring sleep deprivation, and a chart of penalties at each degree of sleep deprivation, may be then we would take our own need for sleep more seriously.

Story: Sleeplessness and Diabetes

“Short-term sleep deprivation has been implicated in contributing to obesity as well as glycemia dysregulation contributing to poor control of type II diabetes.” (From the website http://www.medscape.com)

For as long as I have known my father, he has had trouble sleeping. Nothing ever seemed to help for very long. As an adult he developed diabetes. He felt it was one of a series of complications of his condition.
After my daughter was born, I took her with me on a visit to my father. Because of the diabetes he had been blind for some time and had lost all sensation in his hands. Yet he wanted to see his grandchild. So he came up with an idea. On a bright sunny day we went outside and while my Dad was facing into the sun, I held my daughter up in the bright light. He could tell just enough of a difference between the sun and her shadow to “see” his first grandchild.

Call to Action and Why This Matters:

There is more and more research confirming that not enough sleep is bad for us. Yet we pride ourselves on being able to do all-nighters. With on-line games, TV and the Internet we can have things to do and people to interact with any time of day or night. The temptations are hard to resist and our lack of awareness of the consequences on our health make it even less compelling to change.

If you know you are not getting enough sleep, or you feel that you have issues falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up after only a few hours of sleep, consider getting help. Find out if a medical condition prevents you from getting the sleep your body needs.

Taking it Farther:

Stress is one of the causes of sleeplessness. Forcing ourselves to sleep less because we have too much to do is one of the reasons we develop poor sleep habits. Learning to respond to stressors with equanimity, learning to prioritize, letting go of time wasters such as procrastination can help as well. Strengthening your boundaries and being able to say “no” to requests by others is an important skill in managing your time and stress. Unless there is a medical condition that prevents you from sleeping or sleeping enough, reducing stress and improving time management skills can be an important option to improving the quality of your life, health, and sleep.

Contact me:

If you would like to improve the quality of your life and learn to reduce stress and time pressure, call me to learn how coaching can help. Live the life you choose. Achieve your goals. Be happy. Lead a balanced life. Call Edith at 847.913.3900.

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