Why You Don't Get Things Done - And How You Can!

We humans are a funny lot. We are so diverse that any generalization usually has more exceptions than you can count. And that generalization is no different! Having said that, let's look at some of the underlying reasons why we procrastinate and prevaricate. 1. I'm bored. 2. That looks more interesting. 3. It is too hard. 4. I'm afraid of failure. 5. I'm afraid of success. 6. I'm not worthy. Not an exhaustive list, perhaps, but probably six of the most common reasons for not getting things done. In order to really start achieving your potential, you must first analyze yourself to determine which of the factors (or which combination) apply to you. Only then can you start to construct strategies to combat them. In general, though, the solutions are either internal or external. If you find that you are a person who needs help in finishing a task, that help must either come from yourself or from others. Internal spurs are such things as the promise of a reward when the job is done - a candy bar or a new outfit, you have to decide what is a fitting reward for yourself. External spurs tend to be of the 'keep me honest' kind. Appoint a close friend with whom you can share your plans. This person becomes the guardian of your honesty and will call you regularly while your project is in hand, to check on progress and to keep you on track. It may sound very simple, but it works. The secret to either the internal or external motivation is in setting realistic goals. "How do you eat an elephant? - One bite at a time." A friend's son was panicking recently because he had been set a project at college which had thrown his mind into turmoil. "I've got to write a 100 page project on the history of automotive design," he told me despondently, "and I've only got 4 weeks to complete it!" "Can you think of 28 different subject headings?" I asked him. "Sure, that's easy ... different design styles, the history of design, materials developments, what has sold and what hasn't ... gosh, there are at least ten famous designers that I can think of off the top of my head who should be included ... that's part of the problem - it is way too complicated!" "Here is what you do," I answered. "Spend an hour right now writing down every topic you might want to cover. Don't leave anything out. It doesn't matter if you reach hundreds. Then, when you've got them all down, group them together so that they come under the headings 'who', 'what', 'why', 'where' and 'when'. Your goal is to end up with not one huge, daunting project, but 28 tiny, easy ones. Then, when you have done that, get out your diary and put one mini project against each day for the next 28 days. Work it out - each mini project will need about 4 pages work from you. Can you manage 4 pages?" "Sure, 4 pages is easy." And that was what he did. I called him once a week for the next 4 weeks to check his progress, but he didn't really need much help. Just the knowledge that I was going to call on Saturday morning kept him on track. His 100 page project ended up at 130 pages in the end. And not a single page of it was waffle. He handed it on time and received an 'A' for his efforts. All that goes to show that the solution is inside you all the time, but sometimes it just need a little help fighting past the panic that pushes it back inside. A big task is the ultimate in panic inducers. So don't do big tasks ... do lots of small ones. You will spend a lot less time fretting and a lot more time being constructive. And you'll have more time to relax. The wise old bird, Seneca spoke the truth when he said, "While we are postponing, life speeds by."