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The Thief of Time

  • August 6, 2019
  • Written by Community Futures Meridian

Yes, we’re talking about procrastination, that awful thief that steals our ability to focus and tempts us to distraction. We all suffer from it from time to time; it often starts innocently enough with a day where we feel lazy and can’t get around to the jobs we know are urgent but that we just don’t want to do – those days where we do all the jobs we like to do, rather than those we need to do. There are always good excuses but if it gets out of control it can paralyze our business. The problem is that the more we put things off, the less get around to taking action. How can you take preventive action? What can you do to thwart the procrastination time thief? Here are seven ways you can at least give it a good run for its money.

Think about those who count on you

If you own a company and have employees, these people rely on you to keep the company on track. You have a responsibility to them to step up to the plate, regardless of how you feel. The same is true of your family. If you take a moment and think about the effect your procrastination will have on others, it may be enough to stir you into action.

Remind yourself of why you do what you do

Sometimes we get a little lost in the minutiae and lose sight of the bigger picture. Take a few moments and compile a list of your goals and objectives – make it both personal and professional. Put it somewhere you can easily see it; regularly take a look at why you are doing what you’re doing and consider what you need to achieve today to move closer to those goals. The time thief hates motivation.

Read something inspiring every day

Gain motivation from others. There’s a reason why one of the most prevalent things on the internet are quotes. The time thief loves nothing more than an unmotivated soul; take a few minutes out of your day to read something that inspires you. This could be anything from the bible to the autobiography or memoir of someone you admire, or a simple motivational quote that inspires you. There’s a reason why the book Chicken Soup for the Soul has sold 500 million copies, in 100 countries.

Remember your accomplishments

Sometimes stepping back and remembering your greatest accomplishments can be enough to get you back on track. Often procrastination is as much about self-doubt as it is about not wanting to do a specific job, activity, chore. “I can do this” is a good mantra to adopt.

Visualize yourself doing things

Try imagining yourself actually doing the thing you are avoiding – live through the experience – imagine successfully completing the task. How does that feel? Visualizing success can often send the time thief packing. Another tack is to close your eyes and think about what you would say to an employee, close friend, sibling or whomever who was having difficulty getting down to work on a project. Helping them find a way forward will help you move through your lack of forward motion.

Become passionate

It’s strange, but when we’re passionate about something we never delay doing it, so try to find a way to become passionate about the things you procrastinate around. If you can’t do that, reward yourself for doing a task you dislike by following it with a reward activity; something that excites you. One thing that is guaranteed is the feeling of achievement we get after we have completed something we didn’t want to do – use that as the reward for not letting the time thief have its evil way.

Equanimity

Realizing there is no good without bad, no bad without good, and accepting the fact there will always be things we like to do and things we dislike doing, can help us get on with life. Thich Nhat Hanh talks of there being two way to do the dishes; the first is to think of it as a chore just to get them clean, the second is to wash the dishes in order to wash the dishes. The point being; if can we focus completely on the task at hand and not think about all the other things we would prefer to be doing, then we can learn to actually enjoy doing the dishes.

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