Let’s Kill the Time Killers

Posted under Procrastination on Monday 30 March 2009 at 1:40 pm

We always say “I have no time for this, I have no time for that…” However, many of us know so well that we spend a lot of time for noting. Watching TV and spending time in traffic jams are supposed to be the most common “time killers”. But, actually, there are so many more of them… Many of us have own sites or blogs, and the majority of such site owners are infected with the virus called “checking out the Statcounter“. Some of us tend to check out recent visitors activity every 15 minutes. What for? Certainly, to kill the time…

There are internal and external time killers. External ones include all factors or circumstances, which grab our attention easily and make us lose control of our time. The list of such time killers is quite long:

  • Delays when leaving home (looking for the keys, etc.)
  • Delays on the way to the work (traffic jams, etc.)
  • Chatting with the colleagues
  • Using MSN and other IMs
  • Problems with the PC and Internet connection
  • Looking through spam messages in your e-mail box
  • Looking for files, pens, coffee cups, etc.
  • Talking on the phone
  • Vendors and visitors
  • Smoking and coffee breaks
  • Surfing on the net and reading various blogs
  • RSS and various e-mail subscriptions, and so on

Coffee BreakIn addition to all those external time killers, there are also internal ones: all the factors connected with your personal traits which cause delays, problems at work, stresses and other unwanted side effects. Inner time killers are actually our habits and the parts of our life, therefore, it is usually harder to get rid of them. They commonly include such things as:

  • Our inability to say “No”
  • Our tendency to doing a lot of things at the same time
  • Our inability to estimate the time necessary for competing one or another assignment
  • Our desire to be useful and help everyone around us
  • Our natural tardiness
  • Our drive to communication
  • Our neglect to making notes
  • Our habit to start our work without thinking properly about all necessary resources
  • Our inability to prioritize
  • Our usual lack of normal sleep and rest
  • Our habit to rely completely on our memory
  • Our natural absence of mind
  • Our habit to procrastinate and leave important tasks for the end of the day
  • Our bad habits, such as smoking, snaking and so on.

The list is quite impressive, isn’t it? Some of these habits are sourced from our social norms of behavior. For example, if a colleague comes to ask for some little help, it is considered rude to refuse. Moreover, such factors are taken as parts of our working routine. However, sometimes we really waste a lot of time for walking along the corridor to prepare a drink, or looking for office-manager to get some blank paper sheets, etc.

Is it possible to get rid of all these time killers? Sure thing it is. But the key point is: in order to win the battle against time killers, it is necessary to fully understand the problem. We have to admit being dependent on time killers and acknowledge that they are really strong and powerful enemy to fight against. This understanding can help us to achieve maximum effectiveness and productivity. Remember that killing the “time killers” is a very important and necessary step toward effective time management and optimization.

Laziness: One of the Most Effective Ways to Fight Against It

Posted under Laziness on Thursday 12 March 2009 at 10:18 am

This time, my friends, let’s look closer at the main problem of the majority of us, Her Majesty Laziness. Nowadays, there are quite a lot of various techniques and strategies to assist people in fighting against laziness. They are available online or in a specialized literature. Once upon a time, while surfing on the Internet, I came across one interesting and very easy tactic to overcome my laziness. This technique really worked for me, and the most important fact is: it actually does not require any special state of mind, excessive enthusiasm or will power, any special preparation or knowledge. The tool I want you to try is something that can be easily done even by the laziest person on earth.

However, let me begin with talking about several myths connected with our laziness. To be proper, two of the myths, which do not allow many people understand better their laziness and start their battle against it. Here we go: it is supposed that laziness is an ineradicable personal trait. This is not true, because laziness is actually a special behavioral pattern, a habit, which certainly can be changed. Another myth is connected with the definition of laziness. We usually think that “Laziness is a condition when I am not doing anything“. This is so very wrong, because when we are lazing, we can be eating, watching a TV, listening to music, talking on the phone, playing a PC game, reading books, etc. etc. All of those are actions, and real laziness is the condition, when those activities start taking 6-12 hours a day and affecting our life. Therefore, laziness means being involved in quite useless activities (to some extent) for very long time.

Now, let’s get closer to the point. The tactic we are going to test has a certain mission: in order to beat laziness we can try not doing anything. Let’s suppose that you have something urgent or important to do, but you feel lazy to do that. It’s ok. First of all, let’s apply the strategy we were talking about before, and make a plan. You should schedule your activity, so take a piece of paper and write down on it, when you are going to start doing the task and for how long you are going to be busy with it. For example, “Today from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.” or “Tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.” The most probably, when the mentioned time has come, you start feeling lazy again. What actually do you need to do to fight with it?

Ok: when the scheduled time came, give up doing what you were doing before, get up from your place and stand in the middle of the room (standing is better than sitting or laying down, I hope you understand why!). Do not do anything and just go with the flow of your thoughts, until you start feeling like you are ready to start doing the task you planned to do. Not doing anything and just standing still is quite unpleasant and hard, so it will eventually come to your mind that you need to start doing your task. So, take your time for choosing from two alternatives: the thing you need to do, or doing nothing, From my own experience, I can tell you that the longest it took me to stand and wait for the inspiration to come, was 5 minutes. Hint: do not think about how complicated and long the task can be, just think about doing the first step. It’s like pressing “Start” button on your computer: find the way to begin, and it will be easier to proceed.

You can apply the same tactic in the situation, when you start feeling lazy in the middle of doing you task or assignment. Go back to the room and stand still doing nothing for a while. Believe me, very soon you will feel like being back to your task. This technique is applicable for any sort of tasks or activities, in any situation. And it’s advantage is: there is no need in making extra efforts or persuading yourself that you need to start working on something. Moreover, do not try to control your thoughts and just go with the flow. Most probably, inspiration and motivation will come soon. Good luck!