procrastination

Today’s post was written by a dear friend of mine; Michelle Bailey. When I say friend, we have never actually met face to face but we have been good friends for almost 5 years now. I had just moved to Ghana in 2010, when a mutual friend of ours Deanne wrote to both of us and said something along the lines of “you two ladies have so much in common and are both off living your dreams and you really need to meet”. We hit it off immediately and have been chatting, messaging and Skyping, sharing our dreams, laughs and deepest secrets ever since. We have so much in common and really value each other’s friendship. One thing that I will never forget is that my husband and I were heading to Dubai and were considering a stop over in Bahrain, where Michelle lives, but she was in Australia at the time. Remember now that we had never met, she said “my housekeeper has the keys, help your self – my house is yours”. Wow!

Anyway I digress (surprise surprise). Michelle and I have long wanted to collaborate on a project and we have one in the pipeline currently, stay tuned for more very soon. In the meantime I asked if she would like to submit a post to the blog, and she has shared this one, which she wrote when she was a columnist for a newspaper in Bahrain. I am sure you will relate and enjoy it as much as I did!

“If you want something done, ask a busy person”. – Benjamin Franklin

Except of course if that busy person is a procrastinator! How many times have you heard a recently retired or unemployed person say, “I’m so busy now, I don’t know how I ever found time to work!” The truth is they have the exact same amount of time but now choose to fill it with different activities. The same can be said for procrastination, it’s an activity we choose. Yes you heard correctly a choice. So how do we choose living and end our love affair with procrastination? Ask yourself:

1. What’s important now?

Procrastination is a clever chameleon and often disguises itself as work. We can get lost in doing everything NOT on our ‘important’ list and when we find our physical and mental energy drained, we have another good excuse to avoid the very thing for which we created the list in the first place. “Urgent” is not the same as important. Many urgent things will pop into our day including emails that put us on another’s agenda, not our own.
Determine what is important to you and then ask yourself are your actions serving that purpose? How does what I do today affect the ME I want tomorrow, next year? If not, you are out of balance and won’t be productive or fulfilled. There is no right or wrong answer; this is self-determination working toward to self-actualisation.

2. What essential item will I complete today?

You can use the old-school method of a diary as I prefer, or a multitude of software available free off the internet. A diary only carries the items you intend to address today, you do them FIRST and enjoy the rest of the day. These items only get moved to the next day if someone else delays your progress, NEVER for your own lack of effort. Crossing those points off is some of the greatest satisfaction of your day.
Some software programs remind you of your ESSENTIAL daily item every time you open a web page to browse, or allow you to work offline and if you wish to connect to the internet, the compute automatically saves your work and reboots. These are reminders and time delays to ensure you stay on track and stop just checking on Facebook or Email and wasting time during productive hours.

3. What will I master this morning?

The morning is the best time of your day regardless if you’re a morning person or a night-owl. The first hour of the day should be allocated to that IMPORTANT matter. Don’t check email, don’t answer the phone. The moment you check for missed calls, messages or emails you are on someone else’s agenda and off your own. The morning presents us with a relaxed mind unhindered by daily complaints because the day hasn’t yet begun. This is the best time to write, create, plan and brain-dump. By all means do so with your coffee and in your PJs if that works for you, but get it done for an hour. Set your timer. After that you’re free to continue or spread your focus outwards.

4. Am I overwhelmed?

Sometimes starting anything new is overwhelming. In this case the best option is just to start. It sounds simple but really if you’re preparing a report, writing a school assignment or sorting out your paperwork just get something down on paper. Then the paper won’t look so scary and what you write isn’t crucial as it can be amended in the final draft. If you’re physically sorting paperwork, the kids toys, books or mentally sorting ideas; use my BUCKET or BIN it method.
Use boxes, trays or just piles (buckets) on the floor and a big rubbish bin. No more than 3 buckets labeled; keep, give-away, sell and rubbish bin. Simply sort the piles quickly, don’t agonize over every decision and in a matter of minutes your room will be sorted. The same can be done with your ideas for the creative types, use WORD, EXCEL or anything your comfortable with and dump your ideas on paper. The important ones, the ones that resonate with you now, will ‘leap’ from the paper.

5 Who am I?

Why this may seem the biggest ‘what is the meaning of life’ question, it really is important to know yourself. What is my personality type? How do I learn? How do I collate information? Am I extroverted or introverted and how does that affect my working preferences? The more you learn about yourself the greater power you have to master any challenge you choose and procrastination will be a thing of the past.

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Hi I’m 50 and mum to a fabulous 7 year old girl an hysterical 11 month old boy. Originally from country WA I’ve been in the Middle East for a decade and have enjoyed being immersed in different cultures, scoffing their food, singing their songs and dancing to the beat of someone else’s drums.