Are you a procrastinator? Three proven strategies to overcome procrastination

Things to put off until next week If you, like me, dread something for different reasons, and put off a task until adrenaline kicks and stresses you so much that you rush finishing – to the point of sabotaging yourself, try these strategies, in order to overcome procrastination:

Block the task on your calendar

Write it down. Give it a time slot, and schedule reminders to alert you if you get distracted.

Do not restrain yourself: if the task requires fifteen minutes, give your time slot some slack, you will be slow to put yourself to the task anyway, so include this reluctance in your schedule.

Breakdown the task into baby-steps

Don’t be afraid to make it as detailed as possible: this will give you the perspective you need: each step is doable when it is small enough and looks easy enough. Then, the big picture is less daunting, and it becomes more difficult to “make excuses” for not doing the baby-step at least.

Reward yourself for each accomplishment towards achieving the work

It does not need to be a huge reward, just something that you would be happy to receive like you were happy to receive a good grade in school for your hard work. You deserve it!

 

And remember, you may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try! (Beverly Sills).

 

So what are your strategies when you stall on something? Share them here so that we can all try new ways to get our stuff finally done!

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Making the important a priority

PrioritizingIn this twenty-first century of productivity and efficiency, we often work with to-do-lists, bullet points memos, and reminders to stay on task. The thirst for the immediate gratification may have led us to a day where the first and last thing we do is checking our email or updating our statuses…

I work with the same. I prepare carefully my lists, even prioritizing them with a system to match my carefully thought-out goals for the year, the month, the week and ultimately my day. But by the minute, I go with the urgent. I pay attention to the ones that’s going to scream the loudest. And I end up exhausting myself with the urgency that is blasting all around, urgency of the distraction, or urgency of the angry one, urgency of the breaking news that is going to buzz – and I don’t want to be clueless, do I – or urgency of the drama that fills every corner of my connected world.

I have four entries in my priority system, the AFUU, or “Biggaphew“, which is important and urgent, the AFNU, or “Bigaphnu“, which is the important that is not urgent, the afU, or “Smallaphew“, which the urgent that is not important, and the last of the four, the afnu, or “Smallaphnu“, which is the one that should be discarded first, as non important and non urgent.

Once I am done with the very few “Biggaphews“, I should normally dedicate myself to the important tasks that require my attention. Because usually what is important is also time-consuming, and sometimes with anxiety triggering, I tend to do the third on the list before, cheating with my own rules. And I end up doing millions of little unimportant stuff, that keep pushing the boundaries of urgency, until I get exhausted and/or overwhelmed.

Morality:

Follow the rules you set for yourself! but take them easy on you. They can be a curse or a blessing.

What’s your way of dealing with distraction? Do you set priorities? What are they?

Do NOT get on your email before breakfast

Email Clipart For some reason, I followed this rule this morning, for the wrong motive, in fact I was waking up and did not get up right as usual, certainly because it felt coldish outside: I can sense it even though the home temperature would remain the same, but the furnace was roaring, that is the first indication, for sure.

Then because it was a little later, I realized I was sleepy, and dragging and getting everyone late in my trail. Having two teenagers to get ready for their respective schoolbus can be a morning chore, that needs no distraction, and believe me, checking my emails can be a distraction: I generally get a good fifty new emails during the night, because some of my correspondants are already operational since they live in different areas of the world: the late owls from California, as well as the early birds from Europe and Israel, when we are not talking about the news flowing from the very far-East that are always interesting too, even if they may be less personal to me.

Of course, today, there was an email that I should have seen, that contained an attachment to be printed and handed to one of my sons before he goes to High School. I missed it. He left without the handout, which he generally enjoys reading prior mentoring in a 3rd Grade religious school class. I feel a little guilty about it, but not so much, the teacher sent it at her usual active hour of the day, which seems to be 3 a.m, I’ve always wondered…

I’ve always wondered how my imagination can go fly into other people’s lives, with little such indications as the time they post an email, or how they format their documents, or how they write their thank-you’s, etc. Those indications go through my own filters and they become the drip that opens the flow to many representations. I do not necessarily attempt to correct my representations, and I assume that the image I start forging is going to flicker soon enough, and that the next time I meet this person, I won’t be prejudiced, it has never served any other purpose than entertaining me for a couple of seconds, while noticing the oddity or the difference.

However, this rule of never checking my email before breakfast proved once again that it was not the right rule for me! If I do I am doomed and get late, if I don’t I am doomed and get even later!

What’s your rule of thumb? When do you check your email? What are your practices with email? Are you disciplined? Are you carried away? Has email become less important to you because you prefer other means to communicate with others? How do you master your communication with the people you work with? Please comment! I am genuinely interested in others’ habits and hurdles!

What slows me down

I have a lot of tools to measure my motivation, my energy, my activities. That is not the problem. I always know when I am on a roll and when I am not. Measuring is a great way to know what is going on and to help to correct actions when it is needed.

However, it is not always easy. It requires the extra ingredient that will make the tools at hand really efficient. The extra ingredient may be determination, it may be willpower, or it may be discipline.

Some call it time, some call it luck too. There are days you feel lucky, everything runs smoothly, no catastrophic interruption slows you in your stride. The thing is that you do not really know in advance. And that is where planning is another issue.

Sometimes I plan ahead, I work with calendars, I write and jot down, and seldom go back to the plan, because I won’t take the time to evaluate how it worked: often looking back on some previous plans depresses me a lot, because it throws me in the past, and it brings me lots of judgments on my failed actions, or so perceived.

With planning ahead, should always come acknowledging the accomplishments, in a very small measure. Every day’s accomplishments may not always feel like they have had their place in the plan, and I am always so harsh on myself: looking back is never as exciting as looking ahead. It proves to have been more painful than expected, more tedious, more discouraging.

And it slows me down.

I tend to keep a lot of tools at hand: they might prove useful once, and then I try to keep them for they might prove useful again. Even if they are just tools, I give them power, instead of remembering that the power is in myself, this extra ingredient that is difficult to tap in, to store, and to keep always at hand, because it is not a tool, it is more like a spark, a spirit or a force, that I can forget about, or simply not feel connected to.

Like all sources, it definitely needs to be nurtured, fed and taken care of. These operations take time and pace. So when I actually slow down, it may be the right time to remember that this is the best opportunity to feed and nurture the spark, and be kind to myself without blame or judgment, without fear of failure, and with an open mind to what will come in during these times of lesser productivity.

Tools for Finding Great Content Online !

quoted from Tools for Finding Great Content Online !

Do you sometimes struggle to find good relevant content online?

Are you always on the lookout for great articles to share with your friends, followers and your fans?

In this blog post I will show some of the best content curation tools that I use every day which allow me to manage and aggregate various forms of social media from all over the web.

Google Reader:

Perhaps my favourite tool, this is the first thing that I open along with my email every morning when I come in to the office. Many people think that RSS is dead but I still think there is life in the old dog yet. Google reader allows you to subscribe to RSS feeds from all over the web and aggregate them all in to the one place. You have the ability to share on various social platforms and create folders which allows you to manage all the sites you have subscribed to by category.

Google Alerts:

This is another great tool from Google that not too many people know about. Google Alerts provides email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, social media, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic which you have set up. Below is just some of the ways that you can use Google Alerts.

·         Monitoring a developing news story

·         Keeping tabs on who is talking about you online

·         Keeping current on a competitor or industry related news

·         Get the latest news and updates on a brand, product or service

·        Online Marketing, Reputation Managment

Twitter Lists:

Twitter rolled out this feature back in 2009, like Google Reader the lists feature allows users to create, organize and curate others into groups, or “lists”. When you click to view a list, you’ll see a stream of Tweets from all the users included in that group.  Once you have created a list other Twitter users can then subscribe to your lists. This means lists have the potential to be an important tool for discovery of news and relevant tweets.

Twitter lists are best taken advantage of when using applications such as Tweetdeck, Hootsuite or Seesmic as all these platforms allow you to create columns, which will make managing your lists much easier.

These are just some of the lists that I follow using Tweetdeck.

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I don’t have the time

Isn’t it one of the most common occurence we can hear when we evangelize about social media?

It’s true that it is also one of the most common complaint we all have once in a while: I don’t have the time. Or, it could be, I wish days were not limited to 24 hours.

I doubt it’s true that we don’t have the time. I certainly don’t want days to be longer either: I know for a fact that if they were, we would find the way to fill them up to the brim even more. And I am tired enough with twenty-four hours filled or not to the brim! Enough already!

I truly believe that we do have the time: just take it! If you really want to do something, make it a priority, not an excuse not to do it and hurt your inner inclination.

Maybe if we don’t find the time to do something, it is because we don’t really want to.

What are the things you make excuse of the lack of time for not doing them? Why are they not on your priority list?