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Combating Time Wasters Through Self-discipline

Developing Self-discipline

One problem that many procrastinators share is that they don’t have self-discipline. Luckily, there are some ways you can develop it. First, work during your best times. Chart your energy levels over a day’s work. Divide your day into two hour segments and note whether your energy levels are high, moderate, or low. Repeat this across the week to give you a picture of your average working day.

Then schedule your most important work for your best hours, when you’re most energetic. Let’s work through an example. An IT consultant who’s prone to procrastination has decided to change her ways. She analyses her energy levels and finds that she works best between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. So she schedules her most difficult tasks for that time.

The next way to develop discipline is to stop thinking and just get started. Planning is important, but eventually you have to get the work done, otherwise you’re just using the planning process to avoid the job. So that IT consultant is managing a network infrastructure changeover for a client. She’s made a plan, but instead of getting going, she asks some contacts for ideas and spends a week weighing the pros and cons of their opinions.

In the end, she sticks with her original plan, so that week was time wasted. That moves us onto the third way to be more self-disciplined. Make neatness a habit. Invest some time in neatness and you’ll soon save time by not having to search for things. Keep your desk and computer tidy. Create digital and paper filing systems and keep them up to date.

Our IT consultant friend has a tidy computer already, but her desk is a mess. She makes time one afternoon to get things cleaned up. And from then on, she can quickly lay her hands on everything she needs. The final strategy for self-discipline is to focus on finishing. Don’t get bogged down in perfectionism.

It’s good to want the work to be excellent, but you have to be able to let go of a task, too. Also, don’t get distracted by new tasks. Get your current work done before you start something else. It can help to reward yourself to keep motivated, so you could promise yourself a break after you’ve reached a target.

Our IT consultant’s making a plan for a company system upgrade. She works solidly, rewarding herself with a decaf mocha every time she finishes three sections. Another client calls for a consult, but she schedules a future call for when she’s finished, and she keeps going until the job is done instead of second guessing herself and adding bells and whistles.

If you want to get things done, when you feel like giving up, you need to act on what you think instead of what you feel. Build self-discipline and that’s what you’ll be able to do.

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Improving Thinking Quality

Applying strategies to your thinking

As a professional, you undoubtedly count on numerous skills to do your job. However, one skill transcends and affects all others — the ability to think. Your thinking impacts every situation you face, arguably making the ability to think well the most beneficial and practical skill you can possess.

The ability to critique your own thinking will help you improve your ability to think. Answering a few questions can help you critique your thinking and give direction to your improvement efforts:

  • What are the predominate influences in my thinking?
  • How much of my thinking do I consider to be “good” thinking?
  • Do I have control over my thought process?
  • Do I apply standards to my thinking to help me avoid poor thinking?
  • Do any significant problems with my thinking come to mind?

In addition to using questions to critique your own thinking, applying certain strategies can also help you improve your thinking. These strategies are to be alert to vague thinking, focus on what’s relevant, formulate effective questions, and explore alternative views. Applying each of these strategies to your thinking will help improve it in specific ways.

Being alert to vague thinking

The first strategy you can use to improve your thinking is to be alert to vague thinking. When thinking is vague, its meaning can’t be clear either.

Before sharing your ideas with others, take the time to make sure the meaning behind your thinking is clear. Techniques that can help you do this are stating one point at a time, elaborating on what you mean, and using examples to connect your thoughts to life experiences. These techniques will help you clearly communicate your thoughts to others.

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Why People Procrastinate

Putting off everything until the last minute is holding you back from achieving your potential.

If you’re the kind of person who puts off everything until the last minute, you probably already know that your procrastination is holding you back from achieving your potential.

But do you know why you procrastinate in the first place? Many people don’t know the underlying cause for this kind of behavior. But if you understand why something happens, it makes it that much easier to change it. There are some common causes of procrastination at work. Let’s explore them and how they might crop up in the workplace.

A fear of failing

The first is fear of failing, which often comes about because you have unrealistic expectations of yourself. Let’s say you’re part of the sales department at a publishing company, and your boss asks you to research national buying patterns for e-books.

You don’t have much experience in doing research, and you’re afraid that what you come up with won’t be up to par. So you avoid getting started on the project for as long as you can. And eventually you write a rushed paper that disappoints your boss. Your fear of failing caused you to fail. The next cause is fear of giving up control.

A lack of interest in the task

Procrastinators often don’t like deadlines, because they think that deadlines take away their own control over their work. For example, a financial planner is writing a department budget plan, which is supposed to be discussed at a meeting before it’s incorporated into the organization’s overall budget. But the financial planner procrastinates so that his proposal won’t be ready until after the meeting.

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business career entrepreneur success

The Obvious Benefits of Overcoming Procrastination

The bad habit called procrastination

Do you ever put off doing tasks that you really should do right away? Do you find yourself playing solitaire when you should be writing a report? Or chatting at the water cooler instead of getting down to business on those first quarter results? If you do, you’re not alone.

This bad habit is called procrastination. Say you’re a financial analyst for an insurance company. And you’re supposed to fact- check the organization’s financial results before they’re published in two days’ time. You know that to get it done right, you’ll need to work on it most of today and tomorrow. But you’re a serial procrastinator.

Things don’t get done when they should

So, you convince yourself that it would be better to start tomorrow morning when you’re fresh, and you relax by going for coffee with a coworker. You likely already know that your behavior will have consequences. The results won’t be ready on time and you may find yourself in deep trouble because of it. That’s the most obvious consequence.

When you waste time, things don’t get done when they should. But there are other consequences, too. You’re probably often stressed and anxious, and your colleagues probably get frustrated with you. And the constant delays in your output cause problems for your company, too.

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