Thursday, March 15, 2012
How to Stop Procrastinating and Start Producing
Can we really find more time to do the things that truly matter? How can we devote our energies to what's truly important?
In a bid to further optimise my life, I recently started to listen to an audio recording by self-help and motivational guru Anthony Robbins called The Time of Your Life. Robbins spoke passionately about the need to determine what one's life purpose was, focus on the things which truly matter, and develop an action plan to achieve it.
One of the areas which struck me most was the issue of time management. To be effective and efficient in the limited hours and days of our lives, we should manage our time proactively so that we ultimately spend most of it on what's important and not urgent, ie the Zone. This is the sweet spot and target right in the middle of our life's dart board.
What are these dimensions then?
First, there is the Dimension of Distraction, whatever's Not Important And Not Urgent in the outer ring of the dart board. These are all the frivolous things that you do when you're feeling bored or stressed like surfing the web, checking out your Facebook page (repeatedly), playing games on your smartphone, watching TV, or snacking unhealthily. This is what Robbins calls the "No Man's Land" - nothing really achieved or gained.
The next concentric circle is the Dimension of Delusion. These are stuff that are Urgent But Not Important. They are normally the numerous interruptions that you may face from friends, colleagues, associates or telemarketers who call, text, message or email you over something fairly innocuous (eg watching a movie, going for a shopping trip). Those of us who spend a lot of time on social networks need to be careful here. We can spend all our time going for all the events, errands, meet-ups and what have you that we neglect what's important for ourselves.
The third ring, which is probably the most stressful one, is the Dimension of Demand which covers whatever's Urgent And Important. These are things such as a fire which broke out in your home, the sickness of a colleague, death of a loved one, or an irate client who called and threatened you. Handling these items require expediency due to their urgency. To resolve these, you should try to plan ahead as much as possible to anticipate them.
Finally, the bull's eye in the target board is The ZONE (aka the Dimension of Fulfillment) which covers stuff that are Very Important, But Not Urgent. To succeed and be a winner, your primary area of focus should be in doing things in the Zone, because these are things that truly matter to you. However, you need to find ways to manage all the other activities in the other circles such that they don't crowd out your time. What are some of these items? They may include spending time with your family over dinner, writing your book (or blog post), or going for a regular run or walk.
How does one spend more time in the Zone then?
First, you should try to eliminate all the distractions and take them out of your life. Change your life habits and convert your time to something more meaningful.
Choose what you want to respond to rather than be obligated to accede to every request which comes your way. Learn to say "NO" and let others know that your time is valuable to you.
Find a way to spend more time on stuff that you can control even if you cannot truly influence their outcomes. These are things that help to build up your knowledge, your relationships, and your personal power.
Finally, it is very important to manage your emotions. Don't sweat the small stuff or let gossips, rumours and slanders influence the state of your heart. Focus your energies on positive rather than negative stuff, while of course not being totally oblivious to what's happening.
By living a life of purpose and focusing on the things that are important and not urgent, we're able to reduce our stress levels, improve our personal effectiveness, and be well on the road to success.