A colleague of mine recently shared that she enjoys procrastination so much that she has decided to give herself permission to do it daily. So, once a day she sits down and plans, schemes, and lists anything that comes to mind -- particularly things she knows she "should" do. She said that "it feels delicious constructing those plans with full awareness that I'll probably not carry them out! Who cares? The fun is in planning!" She reported that since she started allowing this frivolity, she gets it out of her system in one sitting, and she no longer feels desire to procrastinate. She has cut in half amount of time she "wastes" in this manner, which has freed her to fill time more productively. She says, "Since it's going to happen anyway, why not be at choice?"
A few hours after I read my colleague's e-mail about how she plans to procrastinate, Oprah was on TV interviewing life coach Martha Beck about how to de-stress your life. During her interview with Oprah, Martha suggested that instead of making a To Do list, we make a NOT To Do list.
That same week, I came to realization that I had over committed myself when I agreed to be part of a weekly teleconference meeting over next eight weeks. As I thought about topic of teleconference, I had to laugh. The Teleconference topic -- Balancing Between Work and Life - hit a nerve. I realized I was getting out of balance myself!
How often do you commit to something that you later regret, and then say to yourself, "Well, I HAVE TO DO IT because I gave my word!" Then you go on your way, grumbling about how over committed and stressed out you are. That's what I used to do, and I am getting better at recognizing when it's in my best interest to renegotiate commitments I have made. In this case, I renegotiated my participation in teleconference, and by doing so I have freed up several hours a week of my time over next eight weeks.
I think it is more than coincidence that I was bombarded with similar messages from several different sources, all within same week. Perhaps universe was telling me something that I needed to hear…and just in time for March Forth Day and National Procrastination Week, which coincide with each other first week in March.
Last year at this time I wrote an article titled March 4th…Time to March Forth! located at http://www.orgcoach.net/newsletter/march2001.html and year before that my March article was titled Fear Not! - The Perfectionist's Credo -- an article about procrastination found at http://www.orgcoach.net/newsletter/v3issue3.html. To do or not to do -- to march forth or to procrastinate -- that is question. Or IS that question?
It occurred to me that perhaps best way to march forth in my life is to NOT do some things, to just say NO! I think that's why my colleague enjoys her procrastination exercise so much, and why Martha Beck has helped so many of her clients reclaim their lives by creating a NOT To Do list. We're all too busy being busy! Meanwhile, life is passing us by.
Several years ago I made a poster that says, "Every time I say YES to someone or something, I am saying NO to someone or something else." (Remember, I'm a recovering workaholic!) This poster has helped me make better decisions about what I say YES and NO to. Given that procrastination means not doing something, perhaps one of reasons that many of us procrastinate is because our lives are so full of things that deserve to be on our NOT To Do lists. Of course, there are also many other reasons for procrastinating. What is possible once you de-clutter your life of activities and commitments that are not top priority to you? What does your NOT To Do list contain?
Just Say NO! "It's easy to say 'no!' when there's a deeper 'yes!' burning inside." --Stephen Covey As an organizing consultant, I get calls every week from individuals who suffer from stress, disharmony, and sometimes dysfunction. People call me asking for assistance getting organized. I often ask, "What will getting organized do for you?" These are some of replies I hear: "If I didn't waste so much time looking for things, I could focus on things that are really important that I just don't have time for now," or "I'd have more time to relax and do things I enjoy."
Although a good storage or filing system and tickler file will help my clients find things quickly and remember important follow-up, there is no organizational system in world that will fully address most common concern that I hear from nearly every person who calls me-not enough time. Visit http://orgcoach.net/find5sec.html to read more about a remarkable filing system that can help you find ANYTHING in 5 seconds or less. Visit http://www.orgcoach.net/companystore ickler_file.html to read more about how to set up a tickler file and to view a photo of accordion part of customized tickler file system.
We all have 168 hours a week. You say that's not enough? What if you could wave a magic time wand and add an extra day to each week -- for a total of 192 hours a week. Would that be enough? I'll bet not! It's buffet syndrome! Whether we get a smaller plate or a larger plate, most of us will fill it to rim at an all-you-can-eat buffet!
I frequently tell my clients that organizing their time and environment without first clarifying their priorities is like rearranging deck chairs on Titanic. Since more time will not solve problem, other alternative is to have less stuff you "gotta do." The NOT To Do List "With so many options and choices nowadays, you will have to start saying no to some of good things in order to accommodate best things." --Harold Taylor
How do you determine what goes on your NOT To Do list? Here are some suggestions: FIRST, get clear on big picture. What is most important to you?