The working parents I talk to all have one thing in common: they all want more TIME.
I don’t know ONE working parent who says, “nah, I’m all good on time, I have plenty of it.”
So when I came across a particular chapter in the book I’m reading, Take the Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success, by Rory Vaden, I wanted to pass this little nugget along.
I recently circulated a compendium of helpful time-management strategies, but the following 3 traps escaped my attention until now. Now that I’m aware of them though, I’m hoping they won’t sabotage my progress as much going forward.
Here’s how Roy Vaden describes each type of procrastination:
1) Classic Procrastination. Classic Procrastinators consciously delay what they know they should be doing. A person who struggles with classic procrastination becomes obsessed with minutiae while ignoring what’s truly important.
2) Creative Avoidance. Creative Avoiders unconsciously fill the day with menial work to the point where they end up getting busy just being busy. A person who struggles with creative avoidance takes things that aren’t important and makes them urgent.
3) Priority Dilution. Priority Dillution is most commonly found in high-performing people. They know what their goals are, but they still allow their attention to shift to less important tasks. A person who struggles with priority dilution takes things that are urgent and makes them important.
If you suffer from any of these procrastination traps, here’s what you can do to overcome it:
1) For “Classic Procrastinators.” Do the hardest task first. Get it out of the way when you’re fresh in your day (for me that’s first thing in the morning). Or you can follow the snowball effect, and do the easiest, least-time consuming task first, then the next, so you can build momentum and cross things off your list. That feeling of accomplishment can keep you going.
2) For “Creative Avoiders.” Set short-term goals and take action. Do ONE thing to further your most important goal every day. Slow and steady. Let go of the need to consume your life with “busy work.” If it’s not important, don’t do it. Go through your list and eliminate, automate, or delegate it. Avoid the temptation to focus on what’s URGENT over what’s IMPORTANT.
3) For “Priority Diluters.” Commit to your priorities. Choose ONE or TWO priorities that will guide your life. If you have too many priorities that you’re trying to attend to, you really don’t have any. Make a list of all of your current priorities. Then choose the one to two things that are MOST important to you. Those are your guiding lights. If an activity doesn’t support those priorities, and especially if it hinders them, then say no. Move on. Let it go.
I never really considered the fact that there could be different ways to procrastinate. There was a long time where, as a busy professional mom, I figured as long as I was checking items off my to do list, I was being productive. But there’s simply too much going on in our worlds now to just hustle. We need to be smart about the energy we expend. We need to be strategic about what gets our attention and our time.
One of the most effective ways to avoid these little procrastination traps is to be aware that they’re out there, and then create systems in our lives to overcome them.
Check out our Library of free guides, trainings, and challenges to help you become the working parent you are meant to be.