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January 20

Planning for More Time with Yurt Keeper Emma Mills-Sheffield

We’re all aware of how we use resources; how we reduce, reuse and recycle and are being more thoughtful on what resources we truly need. Too often we don’t think about time, yet it’s also a finite resource. So, what would you do if you had more time? 

How often do you hear someone say: ‘there’s just not enough time in the day,’ or ‘time is not on my side?’ These phrases and others like them are commonplace in our society – there seems to be a general thought that time is of the essence and that we could all do with more of it.

The highest productivity comes when you have limited time which is why the flexible working model is such a success. People tend to work in a more focussed manner when they have a deadline to meet.

Nearly all procrastination resides in fear: we are avoiding doing that ‘thing’ because it frightens us in some way. This could be fear of failure, fear of what people might think, fear of being ridiculed or fear of our ability to complete the job.

Here are a few tips to help you overcome procrastination and free up more of your precious time:

Recognise when you’re procrastinating

A good exercise is to write down what you’re doing and what you should be doing at allotted times. Did you really need to watch the whole box set? This can begin to help you understand why you’re putting things off.

Also write next to it what impact you not doing it will have on your life (e.g., I will miss my work deadline and get into trouble or I will have to stay up late now to finish this task and will be tired and stressed tomorrow.) Seeing things in black and white has a huge impact on us as it becomes obvious where we’re wasting our precious time.

Give yourself a strategic task a day

Every morning I write my ‘three things I need to do today’ list and I try to stick to it (I sometimes only do two, granted – life can get in the way). Start with just one, e.g.: Today I need to arrange that call with a new client. Make sure your ‘to do’ list is filled with activities that support your goals and not huge daunting tasks. The first step to “must launch new product line” is likely to be research, so that’s what should be on your list.

Divide and conquer

If you have a large task to do that is just too daunting, break it up into chunks and tackle one at a time. Think about how strategic this work is and whether you should be focusing on it first thing in the morning when you’re most alert. Try not to set up large or complex tasks when your energy is dropping.

Associate feelings with end goals

By this I mean that if you did a few laps around the park a few times a week, how would that feel? I bet you’d feel great and your confidence would rocket too. Try to dig deep and ask what’s really stopping you and make it easy for yourself. Set out your trainers at the end of the bed so you’re ready and raring to go in the morning. Taking out the decision making reduces procrastination so you’re more likely to complete the activities that support your goals.

Set yourself a goal (and reward)

Make goals and update them often and associate a completed task with a reward. So, if you have a crazy week, set yourself a target to have all your work done by midday on Friday and then treat yourself to a Friday afternoon off. This gives you a goal to work towards and a cut-off time to look forward to.

Give yourself enough time

We all leave things to the last minute and that’s when the risk of things going massively wrong is at its highest. It’s when the printer runs out of ink, the car doesn’t start or the outfit we want to wear is at the bottom of the wash bin. Give yourself a break, write a list and plan tasks – you will be so much happier, have more time and feel in control.

And if you’re not in control of your life, nobody else will be.

Image by Gerd AltmannTeroVesalainen from Pixabay

Sign up for Yurt Keeper Emma Mills-Sheffield workshop in our Open Academy series:

Strategic ‘doing’, putting productivity in the right places, London March 10th 2020

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