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Posts Tagged ‘Procrastination’

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Blue sky by Ute Wieczorek-King

As a new week unfolds, it is so easy for ultra-busy women to get sucked in to the to-do list without stopping long enough to take a breather.

Sometimes we drop tasks and reprioritise our action list on a whim, depending on what happens to us that day.

It may change like the weather in April: I recall days where we started with strong winds followed by torrential rain, which in turn was followed by glorious blue skies and sunshine.

I find it easy to admire the sunshine and appreciate the good weather after the grey of the rain but without that strong contrast, would I have really noticed the good weather or would I have taken it for granted?

It’s the same with the contrast of nice and not-so-nice tasks on your action list.

Have you got used to avoiding certain tasks?

Sometimes when your list is full of things you don’t like doing, or are not very good at, it may feel easier to ignore your important tasks and put them off. I have done this too from time to time especially with one of my least favourite tasks… following up leads.

But when you cherry pick, do you actually ‘enjoy’ doing what’s easiest? Or is the feeling of guilt when procrastinating preventing you from doing so?

It is so easy to become used to working in such a way, until a deadline threatens to derail us or a personal matter stops us in our tracks.

Then panic sets in.

Today as you trail through your action or task list, why not pay real attention to all of it – the good, the bad and the ugly?

Why it makes sense to embrace all tasks

Without dealing with the challenging, boring or uncomfortable tasks, you may miss out on valuable learning about yourself and the task in hand. You also deny yourself the opportunity to truly appreciate the positives and the fun activities. And then you are simply left with that niggling feeling of guilt that is so difficult to shake off!

So when faced with jobs that that make you feel disheartened this week, try to feel grateful for what you are learning about yourself and your tasks as you carry them out.

And if that feels a little strange at the beginning, look for something else to feel grateful for – even if it’s just the sunshine or the blue sky.

You may be amazed by how good it feels to apply an attitude of gratitude in your day-to-day work.

As William Arthur Ward said, “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

Ute Wieczorek-King is an experienced Mentor who helps busy women to be visible and focused in business. You can connect with Ute on Twitter , Facebook or Instagram or get her free Money ebook for passionate solopreneurs on the Success Network website.

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In business everyone knows that to succeed, taking action is a must. I am talking about major and minor actions, carried out constantly and consistently. Action should always be driven by your desire to make a success of your small venture.

However, to be fair, there may be times when things are not quite going to plan. You sit in front of your computer, really wanting to take action, but you seem to lack focus. Something seems to be holding you back.

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Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next?

Perhaps your potential action list is too long?

Or your long ‘list’ is only in your head?

Resist the temptation of taking the wrong actions

An important cause of inaction can be feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to start.

Also, attempting to tackle too many actions in one go can be counter-productive too. Not being able to complete your tasks can make some people feel they are always failing which may then lead to procrastination.

If you’re feeling slightly unclear about your next step whilst taking action, then this action could be the wrong kind. This is something I think of as ‘panic action’, which can make you feel busy (albeit only temporarily). In reality, ‘panic action’ often contributes to confusion or overwhelm.

One sure thing is that the way to getting results is not by rushing into action, nor is it by sitting at your desk telling yourself you ‘should’ be doing something, which is also counter-productive.

The best way to plan your actions

To get all the actions right in business, it helps to de-clutter your thinking first.

Unless you clarify and prioritise the actions that are REALLY  important, you will be straight back into doing what you’ve always done and unable to break the ‘panic action/ inaction cycle’.

Instead why not ask yourself what you need to ‘do’ now, today, that will make a difference to your business?

The power of a daily ‘mantra’

Set a clear intent every day to focus on the actions that will positively impact your business. This is like having a daily mantra.

Start small, with just one action to focus on every day. Say to yourself…”Today, I write/create/reply to/ attend (etc)… and I will do this to the best of my ability”

The good thing is that you won’t just start taking one right action today, you will become more focused and proactive … every day!

Ute2013-150x150About the author:

Ute Wieczorek-King is a UK-based German mentor and blogger who helps passionate midlife women to stay focused, work smarter and stand out from the crowd.

If you’d like to take your small venture from good to great, why not download Ute’s free “Passion to Profit” ebook.

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Ahh, for me, there’s something about a well highlighted or ticked ‘to do list’. It’s particularly pleasing when it’s an extremely long list too; you know the one that is added to when you recall something you had forgotten in the initial draft, if you follow my thinking! Today I’m feeling rather smug about a completed and lengthy list. As I write I gaze at the beautiful pink highlighted lines on my day book, highlighted with a stroke of satisfaction and achievement. I like pink highlighter pens although I have been known to dabble in different colours as the week progresses and the list becomes long and unwieldy.

No doubt the ‘to do list’ aficionados would have something to say about making the list too long and cumbersome in the first place. But then, I believe that such a list must be balanced with the non productive days. There are days when the focus strays from the ‘to do list’ to other pressing and important matters, like what’s for tea or the dental appointment reminder! I am mindful too of the days when procrastination creeps with stealth to the top of my list and the swift sweeping stokes of the highlighter pen are few and far between. Ahh, those are the days when I close the laptop with a heavy heart and ask myself ‘what have I achieved today?’ The soft whisper of ‘not a lot’ falls softly to the floor.

So for now, I’m feeling very upbeat about my well ticked ‘to do list’. I’m pleased about what I have achieved today and the list include writing a post for the blog. How are you managing your ‘to do list’ this week? What works well for you? What is your secret to success for managing ‘to do lists?’

Mary Fraser of Fraser HR is attending Success Network’s next event. Join us.
Reserve your place at our Brand New Networking Masterclass on 24 September at Kinnarps in Reading. Network & Learn for charity on the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning for Macmillan Cancer Suppport.  http://www.successnetwork.org.uk/networking.htm


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If you like the thought of working less hard, but are concerned about managing information overwhelm and countless interruptions, I recommend this video- a thought provoking interview with Tim Ferris, author of  ‘The 4-hour Work Week’:

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Yesterday, we woke up to the news that Boyzone’s Stephen Gately had died suddenly, at the age of 33. 

When young people die, it is always shocking but particularly so when it is unexpected.  It is not so much the reminder that we are mortal or that life is short – we all know that don’t we? – but the realization that this was not in their immediate plan.  Like Michael Jackson earlier in the year, Stephen was on the verge of a world tour.  Dying wasn’t on his agenda just like it isn’t on mine.  It’s the thought that I could pop out for milk and never drink that cup of tea on the worktop that I find particularly chilling.

Poignantly, Stephen’s last Twitter update read:

“still busy – lots going on. Focussing (sic) on finishing my book next so may be quiet here.”

I have no doubt that his book will be finished and on the shelves in time for Christmas but as for the rest of us, how many of us will shuffle off never having said or written the things we wanted to?

For many people, writing is something we can put off until we’re older; a bit like finding God, we’ll do it when we’ve got a bit more time on our hands!  I’m no different – although I write for a living, like many people, I still find it difficult to find time to write for myself.

When I need motivation, however, I don’t need to look any further than my two teenage diaries which documented a few months each of 1984 and 1987.  Although they were brief, I still managed to chart such events as Marvin Gaye’s murder, the sinking of the Herald of Free Enterprise and my flirtation with a loveable rogue called Jason!  These diaries remind me that by keeping a diary now then when (or if!) I’m older, I will be able to recall my children’s early lives in similarly vivid detail and not have to rely on a jumble of vague memories.

The challenge for many of us is finding time to write, on top of working, raising our families and doing our best to fend off the grim reaper!  The answer is, I believe, to start small.  And the fact is that anyone who posts the occasional update to an online networking service or forum has already done so.

So if you struggle to find the time to write every day but do manage to get onto Facebook or Twitter, why not turn your online updates into a diary?  As you get into the habit of keeping your diary up-to-date, you will probably start to add clarifying details and, before you know it, updating your diary will have become a part of your daily routine.

Catherine Osborn is a freelance writer who helps to take the pain out of creating well-written, compelling copy.  Find out more at catherineosborn.wordpress.com.

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I have always loved locks especially old ones. They seem to have a beauty of their own and carry memories of days/people gone by. Many are worn dripping with the effort of restraining water.

 But I particularly like what they are and what they do. At first sight they are an end; they block the way forward. Yet, with a little time and practice, they allow change; close the gate on what had been, and the water level can rise or drop allowing the opening of the next stage in your journey.

 Most of us face locks as we travel through life: no focus, no motivation, no confidence… they stop us in our tracks. Just imagine if there was a way to open the gate to let uncertainty drain away and energy, motivation flood in; what possibilities would lie ahead?

Hélène is a successful accredited business coach-mentor who used her experience to create the FunShop a fun and empowering way to move forward in the face of change www.thefunshopway.co.uk

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Tip 5. Use a Small Trick to get Started

When faced with a task you can no longer ignore, typical avoidance tactics are to go and have a coffee, make a call and chat to someone, surf the internet, or pick a much easier task off the list, pretending it is more important.

Next time you hear a nagging little voice reminding you to get started how about saying to yourself, ‘I’ll just do 5 minutes of this”. Doing just 5 minutes helps you get some paperwork ready, or open the relevant file on your computer. By setting a timer for 5 minutes you may find that you’ll do a little more than just open the file. Before you know it, the timer goes off and you think, ‘this wasn’t so bad, I’ll do a little more on this’.

With a long to do list of things you may not want to do, like cold calling or follow up calls, how about just getting the phone numbers ready and setting your timer? You’ll probably find yourself thinking
‘I’ll just make one call’ with one call leading to the next and so on.
If you do this regularly you’ll find it much easier to tackle the things you don’t want to do.

This is one of seven tips written by Business Coach Ute Wieczorek-King and Virtual Assistant Gerry Hyde as part of a series of articles and tips to help people use their time more effectively and be more productive.

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