Many of my hypnotherapy clients come to me for help with procrastination. They want to get more accomplished but they seem to lack the motivation. Most of us want to be more productive, but with the tremendous demands on our time and attention, it’s easy to become overwhelmed, and looking back at the end of the day, wonder, “Where did the day go, and what did I do with it?”
I used to be a huge procrastinator, turning in papers for school late, renewing my auto insurance and registration on the very last day possible, etc. Yet, I didn’t really have a lot on my plate at the time. (My days consisted mostly of hiking, hackysack, and working when I needed to.) However, after I started my hypnotherapy practice, got married and had two kids (Fingers and Matrix Chick), I found my personal productivity kicking into high gear. These days, in addition to seeing hypnotherapy clients, I am revamping my website, posting this blog, adding to /cleaning up my database, creating marketing strategies, attending networking events including my weekly BNI group, working on an on-line smoking product – but wait, I don’t want to bore you with all the things I have to do, and I haven’t even mentioned spending time with the wife and kids or maintaining a house.
What I can share with you are some strategies that work for me. I’m certainly no expert in getting things done, but I am getting more done these days than I ever have. Some of there are self evident, but I forget them myself sometimes, to my detriment, so they bear repeating. Of course, many of these I got from the experts.
- Get up earlier. Sorry, I don’t like it either. The corrollary to this is go to bed earlier. I get up before 6 so I can take a half hour walk or jog in the cool morning, before the heat, smog and traffic. I simply can’t do it after my kids wake up. I’ll do some stretching and if I’m lucky, I’ll get a chance to read. It isn’t always easy, but the payoff is well worth it: I feel energized, I have momentum, and I’ve accomplished something meaningful before 7 a.m. Of course, I’m in bed by 11. I recently sat in front of the tube watching “The Pineapple Express”. When it ended, well after midnight, I found myself grieving the loss of two precious hours of my life watching the story of two stoners. (Needless to say, the next day I got up late and started the day behing the 8 ball.) Ask yourself, is what your doing the last hour to hour and half of your day really a wise use of your time? Think of what you can get done with an extra hour in the morning, before phone calls and emails start flooding in. That having been said, I also suggest that you
- Get enough sleep. This is different for everybody. I can get by with 7 hours regularly but not with 6 1/2. You lower your ability to meet daily challenges if you are tired. Lack of energy means lack of motivation. Turn the television off and go to bed.
- Eat three meals a day. Ya gotta eat. Period. If you are skipping meals and not eating for stretches of 5 or 6 hours, your blood sugar is low. Your food is converted into blood sugar, or glucose, the bodies fuel. The organ the uses the most glucose? Your brain. If you are regularly cranky, impatient, irritable, unable to focus or experiencing energy highs and lows, take a look at your diet. (Then see a doctor if appropriate.)
- Take breaks. The mind and body can only be active for so long before they require a break. You will be more productive if you take regular breaks. Relaxation is as necessary as water and air. Even God took a day off.
- Have a plan. You’ve heard the adage “Nobody plans to fail, they just fail to plan.” Lack of a plan can lead to indecision and the killer time waster of them all, distraction. Get some type of planner and plan your day either last thing at night for the next day or first thing in the morning. Assign what you need to do to specific hours of the day, and include an end time as well.
- Be prepared. Avoid overwhelm by making sure you have everythig you need before you venture out. Assemble necessary media, materials, tools, and have them packed and ready to rock and roll. Fill your gas tank the evening before as opposed to the morning of. (Everything I need to take my morning walk is ready the night before, including the key that gets me out the back gate. Any noisy fumbling to search for something could wake up Fingers, then I’m dead in the water.)
- Value your time. Set bounderies on interruptions. During a project, limit incoming phone calls to only the most important/necessary, otherwise ignore the phone. That’s what voice mail is for. Schedule time to check/send email. I heard about a study recently that stated that stopping to check your email means that on the average it will be half an hour before you get back to your scheduled project. Watch out for time vampires, such as people that simply want to chit chat or people that would rather get an easy answer from you than figure it out on their own. You don’t need to be rude, simply say “I’m not available right now, but we can talk at such and such a time, O.K? (Be careful when saying this to your boss or your spouse)
- Eat the toad first. I was at a BNI event and there was a speaker that talked about “eating the toad”. The toad is that task or project that you least want to do, or that will be the most difficult. If you save it for the end of the day, you may procrastinating it right off your schedule, and the whole day you’ll be thinking “Man, I’ve still got to eat that dang toad…” Do it as soon as possible at the beginning of the day and get it out of the way, freeing up focus and energy.
- Work on projects simultaneously, rather than sequentially. Some people feel that they can’t stop working on a task or project until it’s done, even thougth it doesn’t need to be completed that day. Most of us don’t have the luxury of spending all or a major part of the day working on one thing. Again, schedule start and finish times for ongoing projects and be stringent about following these. You’ll find that chipping away at each one on a daily basis keeps the momentum going, and allows you to be able to see the big picure instead of getting mired down in details.
- Know thyself. Are you one of those people that can’t speak coherent English until 11 am? Are you ready to curl up under your desk and take a nap at 3 pm? Be aware of your own energy cycles and plan accordingly. I’ve tried balancing my checkbook at 10:30 pm. It doesn’t work. I find myself up until after midnight trying to find the 20 missing dollars that got lost because I was tired and didn’t check something off, etc. Play to your strong times of the day.
I hope you found this helpful. Of course, if you want some help and accountability in creating motivation and getting things done, give me a call or email.
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TmanTed A. Moreno Personal/Small Business Coach Certified Hypnotherapist Specializing in Your Success www.TedMoreno.com (626) 826-0612