Thursday, January 26, 2017

Dealing with the parts of our lives and jobs that we put off because we hate doing it


For all of us there are pieces of our lives that we don't enjoy doing. It can be in our personal lives or in our jobs. These are the things that we put off, procrastinate on and allow to pile up and the longer we ignore them the more daunting it looks. Often when we do tackle what we don't like to do we are grossly inefficient at it. After all we are not motivated to get it done. For those who are normally disciplined it creates dissonance knowing that the pile of stuff accumulating in a corner of the office is unattended to.

Even when we are in our perfect job there is a percentage of our time (20 to 40%) that requires us to attend to things that drain rather than fill us. For me it is taking care of small details. At periods of my life I have had administrative assistants who loved the details (a great blessing to me). At other times I have had to do them myself. I just don't enjoy doing them so it is easy to put them off. For some it is phone calls, for others meetings where there might be conflict. Whatever it is, it is important to deal with it.

The key to this dilemma is to develop habits (actions done enough times so they become habitual) that help us overcome our aversion and allow us to stay on top of important details. I have several suggestions.

First, schedule regular time weekly, in a block, to deal with those things that you really don't want to do. One can get a lot done in a two to three hour block of time. The key to this is to focus completely during that time so that one gets as much done as possible. When finished you have the satisfaction of knowing that a great deal has been accomplished.

Second, schedule a short period of time each day for the things that need to be done immediately but which you would otherwise be tempted to put off.

Both of these should be in one's calendar and the more often we practice it the stronger the habit will become and the less aversion we will also have. In addition, the dissonance of undone work is no longer an issue and our tendency to procrastinate will be lessoned. It is, after all now a habit in our weekly and daily work.

Of course we can always put this off....


TJ Addington of Addington Consulting has a passion to help individuals and organizations maximize their impact and go to the next level of effectiveness in both the for profit and non profit sectors. He can be reached at tjaddington@gmail.com




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