18 January 2018
When you have a deadline, how do you approach it? Are you a planner who sets out what needs to happen step by step, scheduling it in? Or do you wait until the last moment and rush to get the job done on time?
Have you ever found yourself with a looming deadline and instead you’re doing something significantly easier and more enjoyable instead?
I watched an interesting TED Talk recently about procrastination that really resonated with the life of an entrepreneur. In ‘Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator’, blogger Tim Urban describes the routine of a procrastinator. He describes an analogy that there is a ‘Rational Decision Maker’, an ‘Instant Gratification Monkey’ and a ‘Panic Monster’ in our heads. These three work in relative harmony – the monkey causing chaos and distraction but the panic monster kicking in to take over when a deadline is on the horizon.
He also asks the question, what happens when there is no deadline? There’s no panic to ensue. For a business leader or entrepreneur, often there are no deadlines. You have to motivate yourself to get moving and achieve what you want to achieve.
Beat time wasting with a schedule
Procrastination could easily rob you of your goals and ultimately your potential, if you let it. This is one of the reasons I place so much focus on scheduling.
Whilst I am a huge advocate of setting goals, it’s essential to schedule the actions to meet those goals – especially if you’re in a position to motivate yourself. By accident or by design, I rely on scheduling in so many areas of my life to make these actions more tangible. Setting your own deadlines kick-starts what Tim calls ‘ the Panic Monster’ where you know you have to stop procrastinating, log out of social media channels, climb out of your Wikipedia rabbit hole or your chess game and do the actions that will help you achieve your goal. That’s not to say you shouldn’t switch off with leisure activities from time to time; it’s about finding balance.
Tim’s is an interesting TED Talk; it’s one of the most popular talks of all times. I was certainly engaged hearing about the habit of time-wasting talked about with such humour and honesty. I am sure it’s something that a huge portion of the population relate to!
So, the next time you catch yourself delaying a task that would move you closer to reaching your goals, stop! Take out a notepad, write down your goals along with the actions you need to take to achieve them. Then schedule the actions in. Set deadlines and use your time wisely.
Have you seen any great TED Talks lately? Share them in the comments.