There’s always a lot of reasons/excuses as to why people put things off to later.
They will say self doubt, limiting beliefs, scared of failing, has to be perfect, anxiety. Some of these points might actually be hidden and we are not actually aware of why we put something off, we just feel the fear and it makes us uncertain of the unknown.
Let’s create a scenario;
I have my plan for today, there is a list of tasks I need to get done and the one that I have selected as my most important task for the day and know I should do it right now, is also something I hate doing, or it is going to take some time to do, or it is a difficult task. Keep in mind, these thoughts about them, more than likely come from an underlying fear.
Inside my head, I am coming up with whatever excuses/reasons that I think is OK to enable me to now say, I will do these few quicker and easier things, go and check out a particular thing, then speak to Marry about X. When I have done those, I will then have time to sit down and do this task.
The problem is, everything else is now starting to happen in your day, new tasks are being added to the list, you have people coming to you to find out how to fix this problem, they need answers to various questions, customers are ringing, suppliers are ringing.
Your day is very busy and before you know it, it is 5.30pm and you still haven’t done the important tasks on your list. Those couple of easy things are done, but your mind has been weighed down all day, with the thoughts in the back of your mind saying, “I still have to do that task, “oh I hate doing it”. It feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders all day. You will notice that, you actually get less done in your day.
You also have the situation, where some people’s days are not busy, they have time to do things, but they will still use the same reasons to put that important task off to later. And, not get it done. “It’s Ok, I have time to do it later today”
Your thoughts control what you do
I have seen eBooks etc written, 21 ways to stop procrastinating, 11 ways to stop putting things off, etc, etc. All these ways just give you more reasons to procrastinate.
There is only one way to stop this from happening, and that is to take control of your thoughts.
Your thoughts control what you do, if you are thinking negative, you will be doing negative things. If your thoughts are positive, you will be doing positive things.
What you think about something is what will make you love it, hate it, fear it, become anxious about it, make you think you can’t achieve it, make you think you can achieve it. It makes you say to yourself, why bother, it won’t happen, people like me just don’t have that sort of success, I can’t smash through that glass ceiling.
The great thing is, you can change the way you are thinking about something in an instant.
As soon as you hear yourself saying, this task will take too long, I hate doing it, it’s difficult, etc, etc, tell yourself, that is negative thinking and change your thoughts to the positive, I will get this done and that will mean I will achieve X.
Over many years, I have been around and worked with people who have been highly successful and the one thing I notice about them, is that they have the same thoughts and fears about doing things as anyone else. The difference is, although these thoughts and fears are there, they take control of their thoughts and get on with doing whatever it is, that needs to be done, there and then. They don’t wait.
I remember there would be times when as I was talking with them about something new. If they liked the idea we were discussing, even though it may be something quite challenging and they had a fear about doing it, they would be on the phone or taking some sort of action about implementing it, whilst we were still talking about it.
Don’t wait, if you think you should be doing it, then start doing it. As Nike say’s “Just Do It”
If you take a look at the things you set as your most important tasks, you will notice that they are based around taking you forward, achieving your goals. They are going to create something new in your life and will take you out of your comfort zone and that creates fear of the unknown.
Also, take notice, you never put off doing something you like doing, even if it is of very little use to you achieving the success you are looking for.
It’s is just a fraction of a second
The reality is, that the difference between you doing something now and putting it off to later is a fraction of a second.
If you are sitting there thinking about doing something now, or putting it off to later, all you need to do is make the movement towards doing it.
Let’s say you have to make a phone call to a customer you know is unhappy. The difference between you making that call now, or later, is the action to pick up the phone. Instead of saying I going to hate this call, I’ll do it later, you control your thoughts, say, I’ll do it now and immediately pick up the phone and ring.
All that takes less than a second and that less than a second, is the difference between getting it done now and putting it off to later, and having it on your mind all day, weighing you down.
The difference between you achieving your goal or not achieving it, is less than a second.
The Process (what I teach my clients to do)
Take back control of your day, by taking back control of your thoughts!
Plan your day (the day before)
- Use your diary and to do planner to plan your appointments and list of tasks.
- Prioritise your tasks (it is easier if you prioritise the first 3 and then reprioritise the next 3 after they are completed)
Your number 1 Task
- Set your thoughts to doing it now – No excuses
- Determine how long it will take to do (if it will take more time than you can allow, i.e. more than 60 – 90 minutes, break it down into sections and plan to do them over the number of days needed)
- Plan the time to do it.
- If you can, hold calls or let calls go to message bank.
- Let people know they are not to disturb you, except in a real emergency.
- Make sure your mobile phone notifications etc are off or put the phone where it can’t disturb you. (you are only going to be a short time in reality)
- Emails off
- Use a timer, so you don’t go over time.
- Keep yourself focused on the task.
Set yourself to take these steps, we are only talking about 60 to 90 minutes in your day. If you are not used to doing it this way, you will feel uncomfortable, however, as you do it more and more, you will see that you start to get these difficult things completed early in your day, you are no longer thinking about that task that you still have to do and therefore are not weighed down by those awful feelings. You will find you get more done. And, more importantly, you will be starting to complete and achieve your goals. Your day will be more enjoyable.
To Summarise it all
It all boils down to one thing, control your thoughts and you will control your life.
Stop coming up with excuses on why you can’t do things. Remember;
- If you think you can’t, you can’t
- If you think you can, you can
- If you think you fear it, you fear it.
- If you think you like it, you like it.
- If you think it’s hard, it’s hard.
- If you think it’s easy, it’s easy.
- If you think it is unachievable, it’s unachievable.
- If you think it’s achievable, it’s achievable.
- If you think you can’t afford it, you cant.
- If you think you can afford it, you can
What ever you think it will be, it will be. When you think you can’t, your mind is closed on how it can be done. If you think you can, your mind is open to finding how you can do it.
Work on your mindset being;
“I am going to do it now and get it out of the way”.
Have a great week.
Peter Johnson – The Time Retriever
Peter is an experienced business coach who has been working with over 158 businesses and childcare centres, and thousands of people in his workshops and speaking engagements.
He found that one of the biggest issues for business owners looking to create a successful business, was their inability to take control of their day.
He has helped business owners create successful businesses, through first developing their time management skills and then using these skills, plus many others, to grow and develop the critical areas of their businesses.