The eleventh hour Specialist is the funny title we bestow upon the person, who keeps on postponing or delaying things till the last moment. The person will be purchasing tickets at the railway ticket counter, while the train is moving. The person will take action only when water level reaches his neck. He or she is a master procrastinator and will put any productivity guru worth his salt to shame. Is there anything, that the eleventh hour Specialist can do, to redeem himself from the title ? Here are a few thoughts…
The article was inspired by one of the community members asking for tips for reducing procrastination. Let me start by telling you the actual fact. Whatever task or thing, which you value very much, you will never delay doing the thing. Some chore which you don’t enjoy doing, is the task that is postponed. You will never postpone your bath or regular activities for keeping your body hygienic. See, I told you. You don’t always procrastinate.
Procrastinating in your job, which provides your monthly salary, may eventually, lead to termination from the job. Postponing your individual work will stunt your personal growth. Delaying house hold work may earn choicest abuses from Pappa, momma or sibling. Now that we know the perils of delaying work, let us look at some solutions.
Work or tasks can be categorised into four categories :
1) Not urgent and Not important
2) Urgent and not important
3) Urgent and important
4) Important and not urgent
You can safely delete the items in the category which come under, not important and not urgent, and you will not lose your sleep, over the unfinished work.
The urgent and not important, can be a missed call from your friend, which even though sounds important, will interrupt your work flow.
The urgent and important things needing your attention might be deadlines for paying your electricity bill, water bill, gas cylinder refill etc., Anything with a date and time deadline come under this category. If you always operate under this category, your life will be one big mess. You won’t do the work with your full attention and you will always fire fighting something or the other. Don’t let work seep into this category.
The important but not urgent, is the best category to do all your work. Your driving licence will expire in a month, You apply for renewal a month earlier before expiry. You would have accomodated for unexpected and procedural delays. You have to visit the dentist when your tooth aches slightly, not when it becomes intolerable. You get the idea.
While working as a team, you may have to wait for input, from some other team member. In such cases, delay is inevitable. While assembling machinery, you may have to wait till all the parts are delivered to you. While working on complex projects, if your part of the work is a complete module in itself, don’t delay your part of the work. You might be the last one, to finish the work.
As individuals, we try to be as productive as possible, every moment of the day. When dealing with government departments and public sector undertakings, delay is the norm. Embrace time delays while dealing with these entities, it will be very good for your blood pressure and also your peace of mind.
When we are deeply engaged in browsing our mobile, household work interruptions can flare up our anger. Train yourself to finish off the household work. You can then enjoy your browsing sessions, uninterrupted. You can schedule your browsing sessions, while travelling to your work or sometimes, standing in a queue, awaiting your turn. This pertains to mindless browsing, which most of us are addicted to.
To-do lists are overrated. You will fill your To-do list with mundane things. Very soon your To-do list will become like, Hindu mythical god Hanuman’s, ever growing tail. If anything can be done within 5 minutes and you have the time, do it immediately, don’t add that task to your To-do list.
For tasks that you need a reminder, use a note taking app like Google keep notes for Android mobiles. For Apple phones, search any note taking app with reminder option. You can search for favourite note taking apps from respective app stores. Set reminder with date and time, to remind yourself a little earlier than the deadline, and you are done.
If you are old school type, just use a pocket book with date. List your tasks on specific dates. Make it a daily habit to look into the pocket book, early in the morning. You will never miss any deadlines, unless you choose to procrastinate the day’s work.
You can combine an uninteresting activity with an interesting reward, then you will be motivated to do the work. Say, if you plan to iron all your washed clothes today itself, you can reward yourself a cup of tea. For walking one hour or doing excercise, you can reward youself your favourite snack and so on. The idea is that a pleasurable reward will motivate you, to do the mundane and boring work.
Hope this article will inspire you, to become the productivity master, rather than being the Eleventh hour Specialist. Share your ideas for doing boring work without procrastination. Something, you follow in your daily life, in the comments section below. I will be glad to hear.
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