Productive Leaders

Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

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How to Avoid Procrastination

It is minus 4 degrees at my house right now.  The temperature did not get higher than 7 degrees today.  On really cold days, when I am snowed in, I stay home.  Why fight Mother Nature?

Being trapped in the house and my office makes me ridiculously productive.   No transit time, no spending time doing my hair in preparation for a face-to-face meeting, having to grab coffee on the road or waiting in-between meetings.

I love working on my home office.  I know some people who do a lot of work from home have a hard time “going” to work, but I love my work and I love the environment.  Still, there are times when I struggle to attack the projects that frustrate, irritate, or seem mundane.

So the question is how do I to get motivated when the project pile just keeps getting higher?

  1. Wash the towels first.   I am the queen of laundry, and when the pile looms, I attack the towels first.  Why?  They are bulky and once they are in the washing machine, the rest of the pile looks less daunting.  Make a dent in the biggest, easiest pile first.  Then the rest of the tasks seem more manageable.
  2. Make a dated list.  Not just the normal To-Do List that continues to grow every day regardless of the past three 18-hour workdays.  Put the day and date at the top of the  list of what is really important that day, and jot down what you really want to get accomplished that day.  Giving yourself measureable, attainable goals is helpful.  Simple ones like “Take Vitamins” and “Walk Dog” counts.
  3. Multi-task.  I know, I know.  Everyone says that multi-tasking increases the time it takes to accomplish something, but if you have a long, tedious conference call to attend that you are not chairing, clean out a drawer or do some other fairly mindless task while others talk.  I run two computers simultaneously so that I can always be working on something, and I don’t wait for loading of pages or looking up other information.
  4. Do the Post-Its Notes Focus Trick.  Thinking about the 2 dozen cupcakes that you need for the Halloween Party in the morning?  And the dog’s vet visit? And the oil light that came on yesterday?  And the project that is due in two days?  Write all the little distractions and other things on their own Post-It note, so and put them on the wall, on the space under the counter of your desk, or anyother place where you might see them.  Then as you get a few moments of free time, you can do some thing about those quick taskers.  What is left at the end of the day gets stuck on your daily list.
  5. Walk fast.  People in organizations assume that if you walk quickly, you are busy.   When you ARE busy and walking fast, and fewer people will want to waste your time with idle chat, (so slow down slightly but keep walking).
  6. Get it Done Now!  I make a sign and post it.

Good luck!


1 Comment

  1. Lynn Severson

    I especially love the walking quickly comment. Very good advice and funny too.
    Thanks for the blog!!!


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