Time Management: How To Make Procrastination Work For You
One system that offers hope for the procrastinators in the organization is Mark Foster’s idea outlined in his time management book “Do It Tomorrow”.
The premise is basic: Whenever you are given a task to do or you think of a task to do, if it is not absolutely urgent, put it off until tomorrow at the very least, or a little longer if that could be appropriate.
By doing what appears to be procrastinating, you are instead creating a time management system that leaves you with time to do what must be finished on a deadline and take control of your workload.
The system functions on the idea that we must all learn the limits of each day. Failure to fully comprehend this is a key reason why people get overworked and stressed. They just keep adding everything that comes up to their “to do list” without regard for the finiteness of time.
Poets and painters may be struck on the concept that time is infinite, an endless stream running through generations and connecting the past and the future. But effective employees know that, in real work, time has very definite limitations.
If seven or eight hours are available to complete a set number of tasks, than those tasks must fit within those hours. Otherwise the tasks that will spill over into the time abyss, deadlines will not be met, and we will suffer from the stress of things undone.
Foster also believes that, in all cases, common sense should override lists and systems. Whenever possible, allow sufficient time to complete one full task at one time, rather than working many tasks a little at a time, he suggests.
When you do take on a task, define it as completely and as intricately as possible. Have a clear view of your goal and of what “finished” looks like. Eliminate what is extraneous and focus solely on the beginning, middle, and end of your task in a logical order.
Work regularly for maximum accomplishments. You will get more done than if you do very little for two days and then try to do a mammoth project on the third day.
You will also achieve your work goal faster and with more creativity if you set specific time limits for tasks, working in bursts of energy and intensity. After 45 minutes of total focus, take a break.
By working this way, you can turn a daily “to do list” into a list of accomplishments and feel good and calm with your completed labor. If you overload your list without consideration of the finiteness of time, you will arrive at the end of the work day with a large number of undone tasks chiding you that, once again, you have failed and you will feel stressed.