Overcome procrastination & make the most of your time
Updated: Mar 7
Do you use your time to your best advantage?
Time is always constant it does not slow down or speed up but sometimes we look at other people and think 'how do they manage to fit all of that into the time available and be so productive?' You might feel like you are constantly rushing or be asking yourself 'where does the time go?'
If you would like to feel a little less 'white rabbit' then read on!
What does time management mean?
Time management is essentially about self management and knowing your priorities. It means we can work out which of our activities produce the most and ensure that we can achieve our goals. In coaching in this area I cover how to improve prioritising and balance in your life, how to develop new strategies to make the optimum use of time and to identify and resolve emotional blocks to time management.
I love this definition by Neenan and Dryden (2002):
'The essence of time management is knowing what your values and goals are in life and making the optimum use of your time to achieve these ends'.
The importance of identifying values and goals
It is important to identify your values and goals to enable a healthy, focused and balanced life. Areas of importance to you may include: having time for creativity in your life; being motivated and productive; being an effective leader; creating something of beauty; healthy living; being part of something that is bigger than you such as a movement for positive change; feeling like you are making a difference and being inspirational for others. Have a think about your own values and how you can link these to what you are working on at the moment. If you link your goals to your values you are much more likely to make the most of your time as you have an authentic drive to getting your stuff done.
Why do we procrastinate rather than get our stuff done?
If you find you tend to procrastinate and wish to know more about why you do it, and how to reduce it to get on with tasks in hand, then a workshop or coaching with me would be beneficial. I help you to look at the specific thinking that links to putting off tasks which can mean at the eleventh hour stress levels can rocket.
Let's have a quick look at why we procrastinate. As humans we we are hard wired for pleasure and like to avoid pain. When we procrastinate by doing 'unimportant tasks' our stress levels or worries about the task we really want to focus on drops. We temporarily feel better, we are making seemingly irrelevant decisions but really we know all along that we are fooling ourselves and that the anxiety or stress levels will only drop temporarily. When we realise that we still need to get our stuff done and deadlines are fast approaching, we are going to be back where we started. In fact stress levels may be even higher as you recognise you have wasted time!
How to challenge procrastination
The key word is challenge. It is helpful to face up to any self limiting talk and beliefs that gets in the way of getting your stuff done. If you notice that you are making irrelevant decisions, trawling facebook or rechecking your emails, tidying your desk or checking the cat for fleas..STOP.. say to yourself 'who am I fooling?' This is seemingly irrelevant decision making but really it is relevant to avoiding pain and seeking immediate gratification. Sound familiar?
High frustration tolerance
High frustration tolerance means we can put up with boring tasks and keep on keeping on even when the task is boring and repetitive. Take writing this article for example do I really want to have fancy font and cool pictures? Of course I do! This links to my value base of having interesting content and ensuring it is inclusive to all. Do I want to take the time to do this when I have a Zoe Jakes bellydance workshop online to go to shortly? No of course I don't! I would rather play around with my zoom settings. However I can think to myself 'I can be bothered, I will get my stuff done and then I will feel really good'. I can address the low frustration tolerance and then eventually I will be someone who has more of a high frustration tolerance outlook. Believe me it works!! I am still here looking for pictures for this article.
Don't forget perfectionism
There is also another barrier that gets in the way of getting our stuff done and that is perfectionism. There is a difference between adaptive perfectionism - wanting to be the best we can at a task which is within our skill set and maladaptive perfectionism where the striving is not healthy, as we can never achieve it, and set our sights too high. We then can become miserable and do everything we can rather than the task. So ask yourself are you working to 'good enough' thinking or are you moving forward on a task with 'it's got to be perfect'. It is more helpful to think 'it is preferable to do this task well' rather than 'I have to do really well'.
Check out your pea pods!
The Pareto Principle came about after Pareto observed that about 20% of the peapods in his garden contained 80% of the peas. He took the understanding of how his peas in his garden produced and devised the '80/20 rule'. This was taken up in business management. You might have heard of this term as it is is really famous. In coaching I help you to develop skills in applying this to your
situation as a really helpful tool to banish those time wasters and be more focused.
Work out your optimum flow!
Flow theory comes from Csikszentmihalyi who became fascinated by artists who would essentially get lost in their work. Artists, especially painters, got so immersed in their work that they would disregard their need for food, water and even sleep. He tried to understand this phenomenon. This flow research became prevalent in the 1980s and 1990s. The theory of flow was greatly used in the theories of Maslow and Rogers in their development of the humanistic tradition of psychology. Have a think of a time when you have started something and before you know it you have been inspired to continue. This means you are in the flow. Flow theory considers your optimum balance between challenge and your skill set. If you have enough challenge and appropriate skill level you will be in your 'optimum flow'. This means you will be at your most productive.
In coaching for time management I help the coachee or the participant on my workshop to devise changes that they wish to take forward to set new goals to be more effective with how they manage their time. This may include working out the best time for 'flow' when motivation and productivity are at the highest to 'get things done ', applying the 80/20 rule, recognising when seemingly irrelevant decision making is happening and helping you to increase high frustation tolerance and increase thinking and beliefs linked to adaptive perfectionism.
Here is some feedback from my time management work with coachees.
Feedback has included:
'I feel that Sarah was really professional and clear in her approach, using valuable exercises to get us thinking about ourselves. Fantastic workshop thank you' Sarah Kelloway, Rooted Earth Therapies.
'Enjoyed it and found it helpful to have strategies to overcome procrastination' Maria Jordan, Bristol
'It was an excellent introduction to time management - all important for business owners and everyone in general - I suppose... She wrote on my registration: The whole session will be set in a very tranquil setting and we will start with tea and coffee but we will work hard! And it was indeed: the health centre provided the calm and relaxing atmosphere, and yes, we did work hard, but it was enjoyable. Sarah knows her trade, the workshop was well structured, and I found fascinating how much stuff we managed to squeeze in into couple of hours. We covered all the basics regarding areas of importance in one's life, prioritisation, setting the priorities. Also looked at barriers to performance, and explored procrastination and what underpins this. At the end we set goals for the future, and Sarah surprised me with an original idea which I have not came across before... To find out what it was, I highly recommend everyone to attend this reasonably priced course, and all the others she organises." Tibor Bicsak Bristol
Finally there is evidence to suggest that time management is only effective when there is an emotional component included as part of the learning. If you wish to find out more
pop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to set up your free 20 mins phone consultation.
Looking forward to working with you to increase your productivity levels!
I offer 1;1 coaching sessions, workshops and in house training which includes strategies to improve your performance, leadership style and wellbeing.