The End of Procrastination!
I am getting a lot more of my to do list competed these days and it has surprised me to the point that I had to stop and examine why. I did listen to a book which taught me how to leverage procrastination to my advantage, however, I believe the real tipping point was when a coaching client shared something he had told his teenage son.
It was the simple statement: a 90 is still an 'A'. The light bulb finally clicked on with respect to not having to get things perfect from the start. The weight lifted, birds sang and I flew through the air. Well not really but I did start applying the same iterative process to my tasks, especially creative ones, that I use when doing computer programming. The process goes like this:
- Start with something even if it is just a rough outline or minor effort.
- Turn that into a rough draft or prototype.
- Work out the major kicks and polish it up just enough to release it to the world.
- Then as it lives and breathes generating feedback, improve it.
- Repeat again.
- Continue until I am perfectly satisfied with it.
Nothing is ever perfect but we do all have a point where we are proud of our effort because we know that it has our best in it.
Early in my career I had problems saving enough money for the deposit on my first home and I could not figure out why. Meticulously tracking my expenses for a few weeks clearly identified the problem. Between buying grocery and eating out I was literally eating my money.
Within a year of identifying the problem I closed on a house. How did I do it and the what does this have to do with productivity? As it turns out I unknowingly used the same process as financial planners and it works equally well for any goal including improving time management:
- Gather the Data: Figure out what is eating your time by keeping of log of what you are doing at 15 intervals for a few days.
- Analyze the Data: Review your logs and look for patterns and trends that show where you can improve.
- Develop a Plan: Create an action plan for the steps you need to take to be more productive.
- Implement the Plan: Execute the plan, testing and adjusting each step until it works for you before moving on to the next step
- Monitor the Plan: Periodically review the plan adjusting for changes and adding improvements.