Have You Got The Correct Balance?
Stephen Covey made a fantastic point in his book ‘First Things First’ – urgency isn’t wrong, however we often focus on the things that are ‘urgent’ and not on the things that are important. These important things often include our long term goals – the things that we truly desire and that can bring us true happiness. Why do we focus on the short term tasks which won’t bring us as much happiness as the long term goals would? We often concentrate on quieting the urgency of tasks, whether they are important or not, rather than focusing on our steady path to success.
Remember to continually check if something really does need to be completed and consider the reasons why. For tasks that you deem ‘not urgent and not important’, really try to place a value on them. If these tasks have been on your to-do list for 6 months or more and there have been no unwanted consequences, the chances are it won’t be noticed if you erase these tasks!
Do You Leave Everything Until The Last Minute?
There are those of us that thrive on an approaching deadline. It can be more exciting to work long and late to achieve a task – but it can also have a marked impact on stress levels. Do you schedule tasks with plenty of time, only to find that they get put off until the deadline is fast approaching? If so, ask yourself what might be the reason for that? What benefit does it give you? Be honest with yourself… whilst that adrenalin rush can boost short term performance, there aren’t many people who can continually give their best under pressure.
Procrastination - Its Negative Impact on Time Management
It is also important to consider the hindrances that impact our ability to manage our time. What can you do to change these situations so that they no longer have a negative impact on your ability to manage your time? Procrastination is one particular form of time mismanagement. Procrastinators actively look for hindrances and distract themselves as a way of regulating their emotions, and procrastination can then become a way of life – a programme that runs automatically. There are three basic types of procrastinators:
- Arousal types: thrill-seekers – those who wait until the last minute for the euphoric rush.
- Avoiders: those who avoid completing tasks for fear of failure, fear of success or fear of what others may think of them – they would rather have others think that they lack effort, not ability.
- Decisional procrastinators: those who cannot make a decision. By not making a decision, the procrastinator is then not responsible for the outcome of events.
Are there areas of your life where you are procrastinating? What might be the reason? Ask yourself what benefit you are getting from procrastinating? Is it about a short term gain or is it for one of the reasons above? If any of this is relevant, what can you do to change the situation?
How to Improve Your Motivation
Motivation is a powerful stimulus for taking action, and therefore achieving things … so what is it that causes us to be highly motivated by some things and not so motivated by others? If you can be clear about what is really important to you, in whatever context of your life a particular task falls, you can harness your beliefs about that area, harness your ability to achieve in that area and your motivation will be much higher. Each time you add a task to your to-do list, check for congruence with your overall goals. This enables you to be very clear on the reasons you want to complete something … and this will help keep motivation high.
Think about the areas where your time management is excellent, and compare with the areas where it could be improved. Be clear about your overall life goals and ensure that your daily tasks are aligned to these goals!
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments!