Authors, Writers, Bloggers, self-development professionals, coaches and mentors, do you have time to sit down and write your book, or you find yourself procrastinating? Ah… as I mentioned the term procrastination, do you find yourself procrastinating on other tasks as well? Do you think you are a procrastinator and you wish you could do something to change this aspect of your character?
We tend to believe that the reason we do not finish our tasks, we do not achieve our biggest goals, or we do not cope with our everyday life cheerfully, is procrastination. We tend to get used to this term, and in the end we embrace the idea thoughtlessly: “I am indeed a procrastinator”… But are you really one? Most of us, think we should be getting things done in a fraction of a second, and, forgive me to say, but this is totally unrealistic.
I know that you will quarrel with me, saying “I don’t want to do everything in a fraction of a second. I just wish I were a little more effective and productive. I start my day early, I am busy all the time, and when I go to cross out my to-do list tasks in the evening I don’t cross out even half of them… sometimes, I don’t cross out not even one!
Yes, yes, I understand. You describe the story of my own life. But our stories should not be like that… We should not just “buy” the musts of other people. I would like to ask all those bloggers, authors, productivity boosting “specialists”, do you guys walk the talk? Do you really do all those within a day, achieve all these within your year and still lead a happy life, joyous with your family, your kids, your partners and your loved ones? Do you really walk the talk, or you just copy paste other articles, other books and other advices that you have collected randomly from the internet?
Some productivity coaches are exceptional, I must admit it. I am not talking against the ones who have been there, done that, and finally cracked the code of productivity, effectiveness and at the same time, ease and joy. But if you just Google search on those terms, you will just start questioning yourself: “Am I the only one who doesn’t get it?” Well, no, you are not the only one. To quote Brian Tracy (Love Brian): “There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing”… got it? There isn’t enough time to do everything.
Let me tell you a bit about my story on how and why I’ve come up researching on time management, effectiveness and energy matters… Well, I was very effective. I was faster than anyone else in my field, I was getting enough money. Then I started working from home, writing books, building a wedding video business from home, raising my two baby kids, and the list goes on. I got sick though, I got tired, I got depressed. I was shouting in my head that I am a terrible procrastinator that I don’t do efficiently my job, and indeed, in many ways, I started neglecting all the tasks that I was previously doing with great success.
So, have I been a procrastinator? I bet I have.
Is it my fault? Should I keep back on truck as I used to some years ago?
Well… yes, it has been my fault in a way, but no, I should never go back the way I used to be and do and act. It didn’t work on the long run. I needed time to pick up my pieces and start functioning properly again… And now things seem to go a lot more smoothly, a lot more efficiently… I don’t earn as much money as I used to some years ago, but I am on the right path, I know, and things will soon fall into place, and money will also come, with ease and grace.
Now, that has been a quite long introduction on the “how to” section of this article, but I needed to tell you all the above, because you need to understand, that you personally, you are not a procrastinator. No, you are not and you have never been one. You are just confused, misleader by the media, stressed out by demands that are not compatible with your values and finally, burned out letting your inner child to take control of your actions, rebelling unconsciously to the madness that you have let yourself get into.
So, do you still believe you are a procrastinator?
I guess not. But I can hear what you are saying; I can get you defending yourself:
“There are things that need to be done. There are always things need to be done, some things to bring money, some things to move forward chasing our dreams, some tasks for our home, housecleaning, keeping contact with friends and relatives, embracing our family and providing to our children the best possible environment to life…”
And? Do you get all those things done? Nope. I bet you don’t. I bet you try to start your day early, you see time passing without understanding where it is going, you start one thing, you leave it, you go fix something else, you leave it, then one third… probably you get interrupted more than 5 times within an hour, probably you forget important tasks and then you try to fix the problems that were caused by not doing them earlier…
You are not a procrastinator, dude, you are just overwhelmed, and you lead your life without a program, without a structure, without order. This is what I was doing as well. Leading a life without order, especially if you are a home based entrepreneur is the stairway to hell. Can you change it? Of course you can. I may give you my own ideas on the subject, I can show you what I have done to get back to track, I can suggest you all my online productivity and effectiveness online tools, and you can adjust the way it is more convenient to you. So, Shall we start?
Cheers to a new productive, efficient, joyous and easy future!
First of all, re-evaluate your core values and make sure you always finish tasks that are compatible with them.
Which are your core values? What do you value mostly in your life? Money? Success? Your family? Your health? Your beauty and appearance? Your education? Your spiritual progress? Love and humanity? Your health? It is essential to know what you value mostly, because when you do not have enough time to do everything, you will postpone something for something else. For example, if you need to finish a project for a client, and you also need to go to the gym, what will you choose? I guess to finish the project for the client, but if your beauty and appearance (as well as health) is MUCH – MUCH more important than your business, then probably, you didn’t make a good choice. I know, it sounds crazy, but you need to give to yourself a break, and make sure that your actions will be 100% compatible with your core values. Then, when things don’t go exactly as programmed, you can tap yourself on the back and say “you couldn’t do it all, but at least you did what is most important for you. Good job.”
So, which are your core values? What is most important for you in your life?
Decide once and for all to quit feeling guilty, and to stop using guilt as your motivation.
Guilt makes us feel useless. Guilt makes us feel sad, and it leaks our energy. When we have no energy, and we feel useless and sad, do you think our subconscious will support us in achieving our goals and moving on effectively with our demanding, full of tasks, day? No, on the contrary, we will need a lot more energy to finish very simple and easy tasks. We will feel tired all the time, unmotivated and worst of all we will start showing ADD/ADHD symptoms. You know what this is? People who suffer from this disorder cannot concentrate properly, they get confused easily, they start one task before they finish the previous, they are disorganized, they let their entire time fade away and they are overwhelmed all the time. Stop making yourself feeling guilty. Find another way to motivate yourself. Guilt does the opposite. Period.
Now, what kind of motivation tools could you use?
- You may put a sticker next to your finished tasks on your to-do list
- You may download an app on your phone which is the “that was easy” button, every time you finish a task, you press it, proud that it was easy.
- Can you think of other motivational tools that are positive instead of negative? Write them below to the comments section please.
Find out where all your time goes.
Yes, if you think you work too much and accomplish almost nothing, your time goes somewhere that it is not clear. You have no clarity on where you spend your time. Download a “time tracking” tool on your mobile phone, and track what you are doing each moment. Soon you will see where your time goes. How it flies away. Do you spend too much time on social media for no real reason? Do you let yourself distracted with phone calls or emails that pop up? Do you leave unfinished tasks and then you go back to finish them – investing more time to catch up than to actually do what is needed to be done?
Once you have found where most of your time goes, you will be able to make choices and adjust accordingly. You will be able to put priorities, and decide if some of your daily tasks need to be ditched, need to be delegated, or need to be treated differently. For example, I found that I spend too much time in cooking every day. So, now, I invest time for chopping vegetables once every 4 days, I put them in tappers in the refrigerator, and when I need some, I just add them in the cooking pot, in the sauce pan, in the wok, I make my salads instantly, or I add them in my sandwich. Just like that. I might create some extra food and I freeze it for next week when I will not have enough time to cook, and so on.
If you spend too much time on social media and you can’t prevent yourself from checking all the time, get this incredible great online tool: Cold Turkey. It lets you choose which sites you will not be able to approach, and for how long. It even lets you make a weekly routine on preventing yourself from the sites. Here is where you can find it:
https://getdpd.com/cart/hoplink/20477?referrer=2hyu89f5094wcockc0 – this is my affiliate link, you may download the program for free, just consider using my own link, and I would really appreciate it. Thank you.
Be 100% clear on where you want to be within the next 3 months, 6 months and one year from now.
If you are that clear, you will be able to set up a step by step process on how to get there, you will organize your tasks accordingly; you will make sure that you follow properly your plan towards your big yearly goals. Now how can you be that clear? Well that is another story. We will talk about it on another article soon.
Use an online calendar – both on your computer and your mobile phone.
Break down tasks, and add them on your calendar. I use Google calendar, and I add even the time I need to have a shower, the time I will need to make breakfast, the time I will need to drive my kids to school. I have Google calendar on all my devices and I get notified whenever a task needs to be done. If I find I need a lot more time for a task, I will see how to change my expectations and change the calendar notes as well.
Do not multitask… or, maybe just a little bit multitasking is just fine?
You can’t multitask. You either focus on one thing, or on another. You can’t multitask on important projects. You will go far too slow, you will make many mistakes, and you will end up doing many things for a long more time before you manage to cross them out of your to-do list…
You may multitask things that are totally irrelevant, and the one of them needs no mental energy at all. For example, I use to watch Udemy e-courses from my laptop while I iron my family’s wrinkled clothes. Do I need brain energy for ironing? Oh, nooooo. Do I need high mentality when I wash the dishes? Of course not. Do I need to be really focused when I go to the supermarket? Defiantly not. This is why I have my mp3 player all the time with me, because I download interviews, courses, lectures, whatever you can imagine and I listen to them when I do “the other things”, the ones that every “stay at home entrepreneur” does… housekeeping…
Be realistic on how much time some tasks need.
This morning, I put some tea on the pot, I thought I should open the windows to bring some sun light in the room, but before that, I thought I should take a look on my blog’s header. I didn’t like it so much and I thought I should invest 5 minutes to change it. After a while, I finished it, happy that it was exactly as I finally wanted it, and what I realized was that I didn’t invest just 5 minutes… I was there fixing and changing for around 2 entire hours!!! Can you imagine that? Creasy. But you know… I am happy with the results and I might not change my blog’s header for the next 5 years, so, was it worth the time and energy? I guess it was. But I was not realistic on how much time it would need, so, now I had to adjust my time, and minimize time and energy from other tasks that were less important.
To make my point strong, there will be times when you will invest a lot more time on one task than expected. And that is just fine. It doesn’t mean you are lazy, or that you are not effective. It just means, you made a wrong calculation because you didn’t know better. It is more appropriate to finish this task that takes more time than expected thank leaving it behind to catch up your entire day program. Because you will leave an unfinished task, and that is leaking energy… after all, you will come back to finish it sooner or later, and it will once again damage your day schedule. Just do it now, and be proud that you finished one more important task.
Be alert on energy draining tasks
One more thing you need to understand is that some very unimportant tasks can harm your entire program because they are not time consuming but energy sucking. When I drive to my mom’s home, I need around 40 minutes driving on the highway. I add this time on my calendar. Then, I expect I come back home and work passionately on my new blog post… but things don’t work this way. For me, driving is a greatly energy-draining task and when I come back home, I have no energy to sit down and write, no energy to do almost nothing for about another hour. Sometimes, I fall asleep on the couch and I get off my schedule for another two hours. In the beginning I was blaming myself for laziness… now I know. I can’t cope energetically with driving. And thus I adjust.
Do you have energy draining tasks? Maybe it is helping your kids with their homework. Maybe it is going to the grocery store. Maybe it is organizing your bills and going to the bank to pay them… You name it. Spot your energy draining tasks, and make sure you are prepared when you need to do them, by sleeping well the previous night, by drinking some hot coffee in the morning and also by eating nutritious food.
Nutrition is the Alfa and Omega (Α – Ω) when it comes to Energy-Productivity, Focus-Clarity and also Positive mentality.
You might think you are doing everything well. Following your calendar, writing down all your to-do tasks on lists, delegating whatever can be delegated, tracking your time properly, sitting down and working passionately… but still something isn’t working well… make a proper Google search to find out what is more appropriate to eat when you want to have clarity and focus and extra energy. I have found that foods with magnesium help me be focused and stress free at the same time. I have also found that the less sugar I get during the day, the less dizzy, sleepy I will feel in the afternoon. In addition to this, I have realized that soups and raw food is more energy boosting for me than properly cooked food. I have also found that if I need an energy boost, I’d rather drink 2 lemons (without sugar or water) gives me as much energy as 2 “redbull” cans. But those findings are mine, from my own experience and I am not a nutritionist, I just observe how I function. So, I would not dare to give nutritious advices to no one. Do your research and find out what fits best to you.
That was it. I just told you everything I know – and have experienced – when it comes to energy-focus-productivity-effectiveness. That was a big article, and I am sure it took you a lot more than 2 minutes to read, to understand and to digest it. “Pat” yourself on your shoulder, it was not a waste of time, you learned something of value that will help you in achieving your future goals. But it will only be worthy if you decide to implement what you have learned.
It might take you around 2 weeks to find out exactly what is important and what is not, how much time you invest to where, which habits you should change and which tasks are more compatible to your core values. It will need determination and consistency in time tracking, in bringing yourself back when you leave unfinished tasks, and it will need a great shift of mind when it comes to completely quitting multitasking. But it is worth the try. After two weeks you will no longer be overwhelmed, you will do all the things you want to do guilt free, and you will be assured that each step you make is towards your true, heart driven goals.
Share with us your thoughts, as well as your time managing struggles and your own tips, the ones that I didn’t think of, writing on this article: