Archive for January 12th, 2011

Time Management Challenges – Poor Habits

Time Management Challenges – Poor Habits

We all know we have bad habits! Actually, we have many more good habits than bad. It is just that the bad ones stand out or cause us grief in some way. One of the greatest challenges to managing our time and activities lies in not giving in to our bad habits: time wasters, failure to organize our lives, procrastination, etc. You get the picture. And can probably add a number of things to this list.

What is happening in your head when you know you are wasting time and just cannot make yourself stop?

  • Are you avoiding something?
  • Is there a fear of failure?

If you just don’t want to do the task, figure out what is the blockage to action. Ask yourself: Why? In fact, ask yourself “why?” five times!

In the Root Causes Analysis process, we ask “why?” at least five times. For example:

  1. Why am I avoiding the task? Answer: I am concerned about getting the right outcome.
  2. Why am I concerned? Answer: I will look like I don’t know what I am doing.
  3. Why will I look like that? Answer: I am supposed to know how to do this without help.
  4. Why should you know how? Answer: I stated that I could do it without help.
  5. Why did you say that? Answer: Because I wanted to prove I was ready for the promotion.

So the there is a deeper motivating factor here! If you claimed you had the knowledge and experience to take on a greater challenge, but have self-doubt, a fear of failure to meet expectations may be the reason you can’t get yourself started on a task. It is more comfortable to avoid it by making yourself “busy.” Being busy without results that matter will not serve you well in the end.

Sometimes it is a matter of being on overload – too much to do and not enough time. This is especially true when there have been so many cutbacks and shifting of duties and responsibilities.

What finally motivates you to get the task done?

At some point you will run out of time. The deadline is looming and you HAVE to get it done! There are even people who claim they like to let things go because they work best under pressure. They think they are more motivated by the pressure of the deadline. Actually, they are forced to focus on the task because time is running out! They can no longer avoid getting the job done. This creates more stress for the individual and those around them.

Your Action Plan:

  1. Create a list of habits that are working for you and a list of habits that are working against you.
  2. See if you can sort out those that are keeping you from achieving your best level of performance.
  3. Then consciously focus on eliminating them one at a time.

Remember: It takes working on a habit at least 21 days to make it stick. Work on one at a time so you can maintain your focus and commitment.