Start Right Away - A major cause for not taking action on projects and tasks and pushing it off to the next day is not capturing and starting to organize details about the task right away. Everything that consumes your time is a task, project or an appointment – for simplicity let’s call these items. As soon a new item hits your life, you must develop the habit of thinking through and capturing notes about the new item. This can be as short as a 2 minute process! To start right away ask yourself questions like:
· Am I the right person to be doing this in the first place? (TIP: If not, consider delegating it)
· Is there any immediate action I can take now to get the ball rolling? (Send an email, make a call, buy a reference book, etc)
· When can I set aside time to being working on this?
By Starting Right Away to organize your thoughts you will be much more likely to come back to the new item later as opposed to putting it off.
Game Plan – Now that you have a starting point for your new task or project, it is time to set about the process of actually completing the work. Before you just jump into your work head first, take the time to Game Plan your approach which can save you a ton of time and effort in the long run. Most people have no idea how to measure the success of a task or project. This is especially true with new tasks that may not have clear objectives from the outset when given by managers or clients. Setting a game plan will help you determine what “DONE” actually looks like. It will also help determine how much time, energy and resources are required for completion. When creating a Game Plan ask yourself questions like:
· How much time do I expect this task or project take?
· Should anyone else assist or be involved in the process?
· What kind of end result am I looking for?
Do the Most Important Tasks First – I would argue that most people start their day by doing either the easiest task first or the ones that seem the most urgent. Now that you have started your project and have a game plan, why not choose to complete your most important tasks first? This will create a great deal of momentum for your day and give you a greater peace of mind. How do you know which tasks are most important? Ask yourself questions like:
· Who is depending on me to complete this task or project?
· What will be the impact if I do not complete this task relative to the other tasks I have?
· Which task am I most concerned about (or creating the most stress/anxiety)?
Procrastination is a battle for each of us every day. It is likely that there are always things that we would rather be doing at any given moment. The reality is that by developing the habit of completing items quickly and effectively you will build a reputation for getting things done, reduce stress and create more time to do the things that matter the most.