How to move your to-do list to “done” faster.
After every address I give, I try to linger and speak with as many people who wish to speak with me as possible and in that process, I learn a great deal about the issues that plague my audiences.
A recurring theme is the cult of busyness with which we live our lives. It is as if being busy is a kind of higher power guiding our lives and we worship at the altar of productivity.
The more checks we can make on our to-do list each day, the happier we feel and the better our lives will be.
What I have learned is that the goal of every busy person I meet is to find magical ways to tick off items on their to-do list faster.
Sometimes our lists are just so incredibly long that we are paralyzed when we look at them. Sometimes we are accused of procrastination if we don’t move forward at the pace others expect of us, or the pace that we expect of ourselves.
This has prompted me to consider the whole issue of getting things done and whether or not we are a culture of procrastinators or if there is another explanation to our sense of living life like hamsters on a wheel.
Procrastination doesn’t work alone
The time-thief we know as procrastination is really a three-headed beast known as avoidance, delaying and hurrying. The three work together to undermine your projects, to make you deliver less than you are capable of, and to destroy your business by systematically visiting you when you should be focused on getting the job done.
All of them mean that you are not focused on the present and living mindfully of this day, this project and this life that is passing without your attention.
Actor, artist, playwright and educator Anna Deavere Smith, in her amazing book Letters to a Young Artist: Straight-up Advice on Making a Life in the Arts for Actors, Performers, Writers and Artists of Every Kind (https://www.amazon.com/Letters-Young-Artist-Straight-up-Arts/dp/1400032385) reminds us that when we are procrastinating, we are not being lazy and inactive as most people assume.
She insists that procrastination is an active action. We are actually actively avoiding the thing that we know we should be doing.
Why are we not addressing the task that needs to be done?
The primary reason why a busy entrepreneur keeps putting something off is that they haven’t actually figured out how to do it.
Most of the people I work with and counsel regularly are extremely motivated and they have already accomplished a great deal in life and in business by the time our paths cross. If they aren’t doing something that needs to be done, it is usually because they just can’t see a clear vision of how to do it.
They put it off for a day, a week and a month, letting it nag them at night when they try to sleep and make them anxious when they wake up in the morning.
How can we tame the procrastination beast and move our to-do list to done?
There are a couple of strategies that can work for you.
The first is breaking down the big task to a series of little tasks. Lots of time management experts, and most notably David Allen, have made a career out of extoling the virtues of this approach. The best part is that normally it works.
But there is a second approach that can also work well for many people, and that is to visualize the end of the project and then just start. It is the starting that is the hard part; once you begin, you can usually stay focused and get the job done.
I use visualization a lot. I need to see where I am going and then I start to see a number of routes that will get me there.
At one stage of my life I was a competitive swimmer and every day of my training, that first lap or first mile was the hardest. But once I had a clear vision of my destination, and once I actually jumped into the water, I was not only okay, but I would be fired up by the activity and take myself to the level of training I needed to reach that day.
Paula Morand, CSP is a leadership building, revenue boosting, strategy expanding keynote speaker, author and visionary. This dreaming big and being bold expert brings her vibrant energy, humor and wisdom to ignite individuals, organizations and communities to lead change, growth and bold impact. 23 years, 25,000 clients, 19 countries, 11 books, former radio personality, 10x award winning entrepreneur and humorous emcee.
To check out Paula’s newest book, “Bold Courage: How Owning Your Awesome Changes Everything” go to Amazon http://ow.ly/i8yW307ix67
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