Time Management: Set Yourself Up For Success

Any habit of mind or body that interferes with taking decisive action contributes to your tendency to procrastinate. Think about your good habits and the environment that leads you to be most productive. Consider your preferred working hours, your optimum concentration periods, and the ways you have been successful in the past. You can begin to build on your good points first by recognizing them and giving yourself credit for them. Then, enhance the skills and techniques you already have with those presented here and beat the specter of procrastination once and for all.

1) Manipulate your environment to your advantage by making your actual work-space fit your ideal as much as you can.
2) Use your best working time to concentrate on the jobs that give you the most difficulty. Set aside a specific period of time for a task and stick to your commitment.
3) Keep track of your time and how you spend it. If it slips by unnoticed, it will usually slip by under-used.

If you can identify your work patterns you will see how procrastination weaves itself into your work-day. Few of us say, "OK, now I am going to procrastinate for forty minutes." Instead, we let procrastination slip in under some other guise. To focus your thoughts on your habits, ask yourself these questions: What are my daily work patterns? (Keep a written record for 3 days, noting activities in fifteen-minute intervals) -- 1) When do I try to tackle tasks that I dislike? 2) When do I socialize or concentrate on "easy-work" instead of undertaking more important tasks? 3) How do I usually handle large, annual projects?

If you can identify your work patterns you will see how procrastination weaves itself into your work-day. Few of us say, "OK, now I am going to procrastinate for forty minutes." Instead, we let procrastination slip in under some other guise. To focus your thoughts on your habits, ask yourself these questions: -- 1) How do I usually handle daily, record-keeping, or follow-up tasks? 2) How do I usually handle the responsibility of communicating sensitive material or bad news? 3) Which of my job's regular requirements do I like least and how do I usually handle them? 4) Which skills that my job requires do I feel I do not have or could improve upon? If I am called upon to use those skills, what do I do?

Once you have a work habit record, take the time to analyze it: When you do so, be thoughtful and honest as you answer the following questions. Remember, you are striving to improve productivity, not to reinforce procrastination.
1) Do I avoid making and refining decisions and thus deny myself the opportunity to apply myself to the goal at hand?
2) Do I take the least active option?
3) Do I allow negative ideas about a task to balloon?
4) Do I fabricate reasons for postponing action?
5) Do I need imposed pressures to finish a task?

Copyright AE Schwartz & Associates All rights reserved. For additional presentation materials and resources: ReadySetPresent and for a Free listing as a Trainer, Consultant, Speaker, Vendor/Organization: TrainingConsortium

CEO, A.E. Schwartz & Associates, Boston, MA., a comprehensive organization which offers over 40 skills based management training programs. Mr. Schwartz conducts over 150 programs annually for clients in industry, research, technology, government, Fortune 100/500 companies, and nonprofit organizations worldwide. He is often found at conferences as a key note presenter and/or facilitator. His style is fast-paced, participatory, practical, and humorous. He has authored over 65 books and products, and taught/lectured at over a dozen colleges and universities throughout the United States.

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