Procrastination and How to Fight it with the ABCDE Management System

A very good morning to all my readers,

In my last blog, I hoped to have demonstrated how a good mindset is fundamental to success in all aspects of life. Today I want to elaborate more on my experience last week. To refresh your memory I found that having too much time can be just as much of a problem as having a full diary. I kept putting off tasks at every given opportunity … with the thought that I had plenty of time to finish this in the rest of the day. To put it simply I procrastinated. We all do it, would you believe me if I told you it took me over a month to finally complete this article. Talk about procrastination!

This leads me to ask a very important question:

Why do we procrastinate?

This is mainly based on the relationship of our two most powerful life drivers: pain and pleasure. As you might have guessed pain has a greater effect on our lives than pleasure. Let me explain. We procrastinate when not taking action is more painful than taking action. For example I’m sure we can all relate this to our dreaded school assignments as children. If the idea of completing them close to the deadline was more painful than not completing them, we would act on it. Inversely the pain of starting the assignment early is greater than the pain of waiting, so we will procrastinate till the deadline approaches.

So are you procrastinating?

If this is the case, remember it is only human and even the best of us do it. I myself was surprised to find out how many successful people struggle with procrastination.

If you are like many people, your to-do list is so long and overwhelming, you might not be certain where best to start or how to tackle everything.

Although procrastination may be normal it certainly doesn’t help us. We end up doing all the unimportant things; leaving behind the big and important tasks to loom over our heads all day, all week… I think we all have experience of how frustrating this can be.

So, how can we stop procrastinating?

One way is to equip yourself with an effective time management skill. The one I will recommend is based on developing your skill to organise your tasks by priority. From here you will then tackle your biggest, most important tasks first.

You may be acquainted with the “eat that frog” concept from Mark Twain – this is the practise of tackling the biggest and most important task first – the one that you are likely to procrastinate on and it is usually the one that has the greatest and most powerful impact in your life and results at that moment. The first thing to do each morning is to eat your live frog (the biggest and ugliest task of the day). With the satisfaction of knowing that if the task does not get finished first, it will remain as the worst thing to happen to you all day long – so do the worst first.

How to prioritize the tasks on our to-do list, when many of them seem very important?

During my studies, I came across the ABCDE Time Management system – start off by making a list of all your tasks for the day ahead (think on paper) – write all the tasks you need to fulfil and classify them by priority as follows:

A – must do tasks – if you fail to do them, you will have serious consequences i.e. meeting clients, finishing a report for your boss. These are the frogs of your life that you have to eat first.

B – should do tasks – only have mild consequences – i.e. reviewing e-mails, returning phone calls – we call these the “temple of life” tasks – never do a B task if you have an A task unfinished – never be distracted by a temple when there is a frog ready to be eaten.

C – nice to do tasks, don’t have any consequences i.e. lunch with a friend, etc.

D – can be delegated tasks – these can be delegated to someone else – the rule is you delegate anything that someone else can do without compensating for quality or time. This will allow you to concentrate on tasks that only you can do.

E – can be eliminated tasks – these don’t make any difference i.e. something you continue to do out of habit – every minute that you spend on E tasks is time that you take away from important tasks, that can make a real difference in your life.

The key to make this method work for you is to practice discipline and start immediately on your A tasks. Remember to stay with it until it is completed – if you have several A tasks, list them as A1, A2, A3, etc. and start from your A1 first.

Recently, I came across the following analogy that I feel perfectly shows the importance of taking action and not allowing procrastination to waste our time.

Imagine there is a bank that credits your account each morning with £86,400, and carries over no balance from one day to the next. It also deletes any part of the balance you fail to use in the previous day.

What would you do?

No doubt you would draw out every cent?

Well, each one of us has such a bank. It’s called TIME.

Every morning it credits you with 86,400 seconds and every night it writes off every second that you have failed to invest wisely. It carries over no balance and it allows no overdraft. Each morning it opens a new account for you. If you fail to use the days deposit, the loss is yours. There is no going back, and there is no drawing against tomorrow.

You must live in the present, on today’s deposit. Invest in every opportunity, the clock is running. You have got to make the most of today. RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW.

What will you do now? How are you going to use your time to it’s fullest?

Once you have decided on your most important task use your will power and your mental strength to take action.  Keep going and remember to eat all of the frog and don’t stop until it is finished. If you feel at any point you are wavering, remind yourself this is the single most important task you could be doing at this time. It would make no sense to stop now. So start and you will alone will double your productivity the very first day you begin using this system.

Now, it is your turn – you need to re-evaluate everything you are doing on a daily basis applying the ABCDE Management Time system…

Just remember: DON’T JUST SURVIVE – THRIVE!

The only thing that will determine how you deal with whatever life throws at you is how prepared you are, especially emotionally and psychologically…Get this right – and NOTHING can stop you. You have the internal resources already to transform your life and make your goals a reality!!!

We need to use all our time in the best way possible, once it has gone we cannot have it back…it’s gone forever…

Wish you all the best in using your time to the fullest!

Viv :-)

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