‘If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.’
It’s a little known fact that Jane Austen produced her best work when there was dusting to do. I’ve also been known to ‘get creative’ with housework hanging over me, and I know others whose shelves get built, gardens cleared, just at the thought of having a blog to write.
It’s known as avoidance by activity and it’s a great way of procrastinating while feeling productive!
‘If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done,’ as the saying goes.
How many of us do our best work when we’re really under pressure to meet a deadline? Last-minute-itis seems to galvanise the little grey cells – but is it healthy?
As our business grows, there are more demands on our time and more deadlines to be met. We realise that there’s just not enough time in the last minute, that one day a deadline may become a ‘drop dead’ line.
Still we avoid.
Does the task get any easier? No.
Do we know that we have to do it eventually? Yes.
So the only thing we do by avoiding it is waste time and increase our stress levels. It’s crazy when you think about it – totally counter-productive. Time stressing about what you have to get done is time you’ll never get back.
So turn stressing time into doing time.
Simply by following the MAC way.
M is for Mindset
Work on the way you think about time and how precious it is. Check out Stephen Covey’s work on Big Rocks and little rocks. Read The One Thing by Gary Keller and/or Eat that Frog by Brian Tracy.
Recognise that this is something you’re going to have to work at, every day – but when you crack it, it’s going to have a huge impact on your life and the success of your business.
A is for Action
Take Action. Develop a routine (I’d call it a system but I don’t want to freak you out!) for your daily activity, and make it challenging but realistic. I like to work in chunks of 90 minutes during the day, with 15-minute breaks in between (which I’ll sometimes use for social media).
The first 90 minutes is always used to crack a big rock – to eat the frog – to do the one thing that I may not be looking forward to, but that will have the biggest impact. The second 90 is for the next biggest rock, and so on through to the end of the day.
I include personal rocks that I want to get done, because that stuff’s important too. And I focus on just one thing at a time. Then finally, in the last 15 minutes, I review how I’ve done, and plan my next day for maximum productivity.
Simple, but it works, and the sense of achievement, having cracked the big rocks, even when you don’t get everything done that you’d planned to during the day – is enormous.
C is for Consistency
Work at your routine, work at it every day, until it becomes a habit that’s hard to break. Become consistently productive.
Then relax and enjoy that last minute before your deadline.
Do one thing: move away from the hoover, the lawn mower, the coffee machine and check out Stephen Covey’s Big Rocks here.