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Time, What A Difficult Task To Manage

Updated on April 17, 2014

Everyone manages time. When deciding to do the dishes rather than filling out your expenses for the week, you are managing time. This could also be considered as procrastinating—the great thief of time. Overcoming procrastination takes a lot of time and effort yet only coping with procrastination gives us more opportunities to think outside of the box.

Deception

The mind's most powerful tool in poor time management is self-deception. We are able to talk ourselves out of acting now in only a few milliseconds. "I don't feel like doing this today. Tomorrow would be a much better time." Is it? People are very poor at forecasting—predicting. We tend to believe how we feel today is how we will feel tomorrow; rested, focused, etc. But what about the social gathering in the morning? It might zap your energy leaving you even more deflated than today. It is always better to start on a project straight away. When you start to think about putting a task off until tomorrow, sit down and begin.

Fear of the Task

Now this response is for tasks that come in our life; joining a group, committing to a project, missing the opportunity for a relationship, or withdrawing from social situations. The main reason we procrastinate consists of the emotions attached to the task. Are we afraid of failure, success, intimacy, or losing the battle? Each of these has a negative perspective of ourselves; however, which one are you?

  • Fear of Failure - Each project that is finished is a representation of their entire life. If the project does not succeed, they do not succeed. This is why some people cannot take critical comments on their work; it is them. The problem of their self-worth being attached to the project is remedied by procrastinating on the project. Suddenly, there is an excuse as to why their work cannot be a representation of them—there was not enough time devoted to the project for it to be them. No, it is not their best work, thus it is not them. Their self-esteem remains intact and any negative comments on the project is just a brush on the shoulder.
  • Fear of Success - People with a fear of success believe they never deserve success. There is a common definition of success as "the timely pursuit of your intentions". This definition does not satisfy procrastinators but only encourages them to never succeed. Because they are procrastinating they never timely respond to their intentions. Since they do not meet the definition, they don't deserve it. Even if no one knows the procrastinator pulled an all nighter once a week to meet the deadline, they know. Their critical view of themselves only causes them to wallow further in the despair of being a procrastinator. They wish they did not procrastinate but are stuck because it is the only way to keep themselves from the success they fear so much.
  • Fear of Intimacy or Separation - A fear of separation means you do not feel you can survive on your own. This is the case for many children who do not wish to leave their family. Can they pay their bills on time every month? Who will they turn to in a new city when they need someone for emotional support? How could I possibly do taxes on my own? This could also occur by sticking to their old mentors. Mentors are only to assist for a short period of time; however, some mentees do not wish to let go. On the opposite of the spectrum, those who are afraid of intimacy are comfortable with distance. Their comfort zone is their best friend and they wish no one enters any farther than an arm reach away. They could fear that if someone enters their comfort zone, that person will take over. Nothing would be left of them except a withered husk. As many have experienced at work, if you work with someone they will take all of the credit. It feels as if they are stealing your identity and there is nothing to be done except closing yourself off.
  • Fear of Losing the Battle - The task feels like an external demand; lingering at your shoulder it calls to be finished and will not leave you alone. This could be the diet you promised yourself to stick too. To go against the rule, you do not go to the grocery store to purchase food so that you can stick to the diet. Instead, you go shopping when you are hungry and prone to purchasing anything you desire to munch on. Yes, this might leave you feeling guilty and terrible later, but you did not stick to the rules which in itself is a minor win. When there is a hierarchy and you are not in the upper levels, you procrastinate because it is the only way of not feeling small and helpless. By following the rules, you are a slave or drone, helpless to carry out the rules. Mainly, this method is from external causes.

Now that you know which method you use, analyze it. What tasks do you use these for? At what point does it become fear?

Distractions

The best way for there to be no distractions is to prevent them from happening. Have your own project time. If you write every day, put two hours just for writing. Many professors leave their office doors open for anyone to come in and strike up a conversation. Close your door. If it is Wednesday and it's lawn mowing day across the street, find some sound proof headphones or listen to some music to drown out the noise. This might seem counter productive, but music you have heard 1,000 times acts as background music. You have heard these songs so much you do not even notice their existence. This is beneficial for those who feel silence is misery. Some do not even notice but silence is lonely and harmful for long desk sessions. Starved for interaction caused by the silence, some leave their desk and go get a drink at the water cooler, spend 30 minutes in conversation, and get relatively little work done.

Know your habits and create a system against it. For example, I get bored relatively easily. For a task to grasp my attention, it must be active and interesting. Because of this I have found methods of sparking my interest in almost any task. The best way to time management is knowing yourself.

Solving the Procrastination Puzzle: A Concise Guide to Strategies for Change
Solving the Procrastination Puzzle: A Concise Guide to Strategies for Change

The best compact book for explaining and overcoming procrastination

 

Time Log

Probably the most difficult part of time management is knowing how much time is spent on most tasks. Should I spend 20 minutes on making a decent dinner or be extravagant and spend four hours? Do not procrastinate. Know what you need to do each day. Create a To-Do list, but not a regular one. To-Do lists are considered reminders of what need to be done. This is not true. Many use To-Do lists to feel a sense of accomplishment when a task is done then ignore the other tasks because they have done enough for the day. Do not fall into this trap. And do not feel pressured to resist going to sleep until everything on the list is done. Surprising conditions and emergencies can occur. But give yourself a minimum of what must be done each day. At the top of the list should be important tasks that have deadlines. To make sure you are limiting your internet surfing time, try using a timer. A simple cooking timer will suffice. This will help give you a break from constantly being focused, give your mind a little time to rest, before attacking the project or even another project head on again.

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