How To Procrastinate

“There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing.”

Brian Tracy

Procrastination is not necessarily a bad thing. Now that I have your attention, let me clarify my point by sharing the following illustration. Several weeks ago while visiting a friend in the hospital, I happened to pass the emergency room. While in the emergency room I noticed an interesting pattern. 

Patients were not being serviced in the order that they arrived. Those that had cold symptoms and minor bruises were forced to wait while the patients with major injuries were taken in immediately. 

There was a Triage Nurse on duty, whose job was to make sure that the injuries with the most urgency received the highest priority. This was not a first come, first served system. The emergency room is a reminder of the fact that your most important priority is not necessarily the first task that comes to your attention. 

Too many of the to do lists that I see are first come first serve. If there is a list of ten items, most people start with the first item on the list. The problem is that the first item may be the least important while item number ten could be urgent. So, how do you determine what is urgent and what can wait? Keep reading and you will learn how to procrastinate. 

Triaging
Triaging is a system for assigning priorities based on urgency. The nurse in the previous illustration is called a Triage Nurse because her main job is to prioritize. 

I truly believe that if you have more than three priorities that you really don’t have any. When I attack my to do’s, I place a star by the tasks that are truly urgent. The star tells me that if there was a power outage and I could not get anything else done, completing this task would make my day a productive one. For me, checking e-mail, checking voicemail, or sending social media communication is not urgent and does not get a star. I can procrastinate on these tasks because they are not priorities. 

Many of the people with whom I work have a habit of checking e-mail first thing in the morning. They react to a message and spend a significant part of their day putting out fires. The problem is that the truly urgent items take a back seat to something that is of lower importance. They either spend more time in the office or ignore what is truly important. 

If you embrace the process of Triaging, you will have more time for your priorities by procrastinating on those tasks that are not urgent. A failure to triage you will cause you procrastinate on your priorities which is never a good thing! So there you have it. If you know someone who can benefit from this week’s message, please share it using the social share buttons at the bottom of this posting. 

Sincerely,
Eric M. Twiggs
Your Procrastination Prevention Partner

PS. For more information on How to Procrastinate, read my ebook. 

Embrace the Process

"Many a failure has come about when he would have won had he stuck it out."

Author Unknown

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Failure to embrace process is one of the biggest time wasters. Recently, I had an experience that reminded me of this fact. I was in traffic headed to an appointment. The lane I was in did not appear to be moving. 

In my attempt to find a shortcut, I noticed that the lane to my right seemed to be flowing faster. I changed lanes and suddenly I was at a standstill. I looked to my right again and saw that the next lane was now moving at a faster pace. Confident that I could make up time, I changed lanes only to find my self at a standstill once again. 

My frustration reached a boiling point when I realized that the lane I started in was now moving freely. I would have arrived at my destination much faster if I stuck with my original idea. Each time I switched lanes, I was starting the process over and wasting time. 

Have you ever given up on an idea because it did not seem to be progressing on your time table? This idea may have been a business, a book, or a budding relationship. In the beginning, you received plenty of encouragement and positive reinforcement, confirming that you were on the right path. 

Suddenly, you stopped making noticeable progress. Your efforts did not appear to match the results you were getting. You felt as if you were on a treadmill, expending a great deal of energy but not moving forward. 

This "treadmill" is a normal part of the process and the place where most people give up. Just like in my traffic experience, every time you give up, you are losing precious time because the attainment of any worthwhile goal is preceded by a treadmill season. When you begin the new venture you are starting at the back of the line. Below are two strategies that will help you to embrace the process:

Planning
Planning will allow you to anticipate that there will be a treadmill season BEFORE you pursue your goal. The key is to determine up front if what you are aiming for is worth the sacrifice that will be required to make it through. If your goal is in alignment with your purpose and passions then it should be considered worthy of the required sacrifice. If the answer is NO, then let it go! 

Quitting the pursuit of goals that don't line up with your purpose will save you valuable time. Every minute you spend on the wrong road, is taking time away from your true calling. You only have a limited amount of time to do what you were born to do. Planning will enable you to make the best use of this time. 

Persistence
Once you have determined the goal to be worthwhile, you must persist until you have achieved it. According to author Seth Godin, most runners who quit the 26-mile Boston Marathon, usually give up around the 18th mile. In spite of  the fact that they have spent more energy at mile 25, very few runners give up when they are 1 mile from the finish line. This is because they can see their goal and this vision inspires them to persist through the pain. 

The lesson is to always keep your finish line in front of you. If you can view it, you can do it! One way to accomplish this is to create a vision board with pictures of your objectives and placed it in a location where you are forced to look at it regularly. Being able to see your finish line will inspire you to persist through the pain of the process.

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If you are in a treadmill season right now, be encouraged. You will be in better shape when you get through it than when you started. Planning and persistence will help you to embrace the process and allow you to make the best use of your time. 

Sincerely,
Eric M. Twiggs
Your Procrastination Prevention Partner