TM Article 1
Slay Your Procrastination Monster
Tomorrow, every Fault is to be amended; but that
Tomorrow never comes.
When most of us hear the term ‘time management’,
deep inside us one of these two responses stirs:
Yup! I need me some of that; or
Nope! I’ve tried it and it just doesn’t
work for me!
collaboration with consulting clients over the
years has taught me that most of us know what
should be done to accomplish more during our
work hours. That’s not our problem.
The real issue is a devastating lack of purpose.
This ‘vacuum of intent’ is a chronic malady that
attacks our daily schedules. It festers and
becomes a breeding ground for four time-sapping
my time management workshops, I use the acrostic
P-A-I-N to help
participants remember these foes of effective,
head honcho of that fiendish foursome is our
ancient nemesis the ‘thief of time’ –
just as cutting off the head of a fairytale
monster is the key to killing it, eliminating
procrastination has the predictable result of
rendering those three other time thieves –
apathy, inertia and nuisances – impotent.
exhibits powerful Phoenix-like
tendencies: It is a trait so fused onto our
human DNA that it
refuses to stay dead. Which, incidentally, is
why so few of
us accomplish great things with our lives.
Benjamin Franklin observed way back in 1756,
“Tomorrow, every Fault
is to be amended; but that Tomorrow never
comes.” Therefore, the most effective
human beings are those who have learnt to deal
with the chronic malady of procrastination on a
regular, preferably daily, basis.
Here are my five steps for doing so:
At the end of each working day, in the
fifteen minutes before you tear yourself away
from the office, focus (and refocus) on why
EXACTLY you are paid to do what you do;
With that reason seared into your mental
pathways, decide on the three or four major
tasks that MUST be accomplished the following
day to justify your existence as an economic
Set your priorities, while
relinquishing your posteriorities, in
terms of specific tasks. Then go home to your
The next day, get to the office early;
aim to be the first in; and
Before the distractions – ‘nuisances’
like ringing phones, persistent emails, and
meetings – set in, start on your number one
prioritised task. Stay on it, like a ravenous
dog on a bone, until it’s finished or you can’t
move it any further along that day! Then begin
immediately on the next most important task.
Keep going until a quarter of an hour before
knocking off time. Revisit step 1.
Steps 1,2,4 and 5 are straightforward. But the
central Step 3 warrants elaboration.
Remember our purpose here is to defeat personal
procrastination and thus become more effective.
To do so, paradoxically, we should harness our
natural procrastinating tendencies! Let me
goal in Step 3 is to set priorities and
A priority is something more
important than something else. For
instance, exceeding your boss’s expectations is
a higher priority
than going for that second latte of the day. But
because each of
us has only 24 hours a day, there’s no way we
can get everything
done that clamours for our attention.
guru Peter Drucker,
therefore, coined the term ‘posteriority’ to
refer to relatively unimportant things that
should be dropped from our lives to clear space
for what is important. In this area – and this
area alone – we need to exercise intelligent
Therefore, giving up that second coffee break
with colleagues in favour of creating time in
your schedule to begin a high priority task is a
classic example of wise posteriority setting.
five steps outlined above form a structured,
practical blueprint for overcoming
my blueprint every day for a month; see what