Protecting Your Time

21 November 2008, by A. Cedilla

Everybody knows that time is the most valuable, non-renewable resource we have . Everyone knows that we need to use and manage our time wisely.

The problem is, if we know all this already, then why do we keep putting things off?

The biggest time waster in our lives is procrastination. Everyone knows what that is, too. Most people tend to delay doing things that should have been done a long time ago – from simple things like dental appointments, say (“Too painful.”), data back-up (“After this project’s done, I swear.”) or updating your will (“Too morbid, good grief!”) .

As long as we keep ignoring pressing issues, hoping they’ll go away by themselves, success and peace of mind will always be elusive in our lives. It’s the people who take purposeful action who get ahead in life.

It’s hard to break the habit of procrastinating because it’s a behavior we learn early in life. Children often need to be trained out of going for the cookie first, remember? When you clean up your toys, then you get to play.

To break the habit of procrastination, start doing the task at hand immediately. When there is something that needs to be done, start doing it right away.

Don’t t wait until you’re “in the mood” for doing it…something always comes up. Your favorite TV show, a phone call, an inviting book or movie preview — something, anything to take your mind off what needs to be done.

Starting to do things immediately will effectively break the old habit of procrastination, if and when you keep on keeping on. You can start with the most vital tasks and finish these first. Once you’ve tackled the most important jobs , you’ll feel good about your accomplishments and this will spark your mood to do more.

Do not aim for perfection when doing the task at hand. What matters most is getting started, and then gaining momentum to finish the greater jobs ahead.

Insisting on perfection in every detail is a waste of your time. The very definition of the word is what would trip you up – there’s always something to improve if you look closely enough, and then you tangle yourself up in the process, wasting time on inconsequential details.

Write down your plan. It is very effective to have a daily plan because you can see which things are most important and which need to be addressed immediately.

We are visual creatures. By writing down your plan, you concretize what needs doing (actually seeing it in front of you) and this helps you to be more productive, saving time by not doing the unnecessary and/or less important tasks. The ego boost of checking finished tasks off also helps you get a feeling of accomplishment.

And be sure when writing down your plan to make a schedule of what you will be doing for the entire day, week or even month. This should include all the activities that you will do from the beginning to the end of the day. Breaking down big projects into smaller, more reasonable sections to be attended to over a set time helps put things in perspective. You have room to move and breathe, and the big project won’t seen so impossible.

Finally, set a deadline for your planned activities, making sure that you can finish the job at hand within the established time frame.

Don’t let a few small failures along the way derail your plan. If the stress gets to you, you have a visual reminder that this project won’t last forever, you just have to see it to its eventual end.

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