is by far the biggest waster of time, no matter what you do for a
living.We're all procrastinators to one degree or another. Mark Twain
offered this piece of advice: "Never put off til tomorrow
what you can do the day after tomorrow."
The trouble is,
things we put off may never get done. Or when we finally get around
to doing them, we're working under the pressure of a deadline, and we
won't do them as well as we could have.
A Few Questions
If you're putting
in fifty or sixty hours of work each week you probably don't consider
yourself to be a procrastinator. You look at yourself as being a
dedicated contributor to your company. But let me ask you a few
If you answer to
any one of these questions is yes, you're a procrastinator! If you
answered yes to more than a few of them, then your career may be in trouble.
Fear of Failure
cite a whole battery of reasons why people procrastinate, but the
number-one reason is probably fear of failure. We postpone doing
something because we're afraid we won't do it right. This striving
for perfection can stop you dead in your tracks, or slow you down so
that you probably will fail. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Your fear of failure leads to feelings of guilt because you know you
could have done a better job if only you hadn't waited until the last minute.
procrastination become a habit?
part of human nature, and we're all human. But when it becomes a
habit a consistent pattern in the way you do you job it
can have disastrous consequences. You end up spending more time in
the office, not less, because you're not using your time efficiently.
and creativity go down the drain. You're always working under
pressure, with a very unpleasant result: You're unhappy with your job
Schedule Your Tasks
One of the ACT!
features that I love the most is the Task List. With the Task List
you can view, as a list all, of the things that need to be done each
and every day. But in order to get the most out of the Task List,
you've got to schedule your tasks inside ACT!.
even ACT! users keep track of all their tasks, projects,
calls, and to-dos by leaving papers in piles on the desktop and
Post-it Notes stuck to the walls and computer monitors. And they put
off until the last possible moment the projects that
will take the most thought, concentration, time, and energy.
Instead of keeping
track of things with a paper based system. Put everything in ACT!.
Here are some thoughts:
When you speak
with someone, and need to do something, schedule it inside ACT!. When
someone is going to send you something, schedule a follow-up inside
ACT! to make sure you receive it. When your boss gives you an
assignment, schedule it inside ACT!, and begin to work on it
immediately. When a customer and/or prospect asks you to
send/fax/e-mail something, schedule it inside ACT!. Whenever anything
crosses your mind that you've got to do something, schedule it inside ACT!
The more things
you schedule the greater your control over your time and your daily activities.
Do Your Important Work
View your Task
List through out the day and ask yourself this question: "What
is the most important task that I must do?" Don't think about
it! Just Do It!
ACT!Tip: Set an
ACT! alarm, and use ACT!'s Lead Time feature to remind you to start
on a project early. Lead Time alarms can be set for days, weeks,
and/or months in advance.
an appointment with yourself when your task is going to take some
time. Open your ACT! calendar, decide when you're going to do this
work, and schedule the task.
ACT!Tip: As a
general rule, most tasks take more time than expected, so block out
50 percent more time than you think you'll need.
Planning Your Day
Before you go home
at the end of the day, look at your Task List to see what needs to be
done tomorrow. Select the most important task(s) and tackle it as
soon as you arrive in the morning.
You'll find you
complete twice as much work, do it in half the time, keep everybody
happy, and beat the procrastination habit. Also, you'll have more
time for yourself, and a bit more money in your pocket.
permission from "Jeffrey Mayer's Succeeding In Business
Newsletter. (Copyright, 2001, Jeffrey J. Mayer, Succeeding In