Most of us have been on numerous time management workshops and read books on the subject. We know what we should do, but we still can’t seem to apply the strategy consistently.
Having the tools, processes or strategy is one thing…Setting your thinking and programming your inner dialogue for success is another!
Here are the top five reasons for not getting things done that I’ve experienced when coaching and training my clients (Oh! And I’ve observed a few of them in myself too!):
Overcomplicating things – It’s easy to become overwhelmed and create a complex strategy for something that is relatively simple. If you have too much to remember: doing this, not doing that and worrying about the other, then you become anxious and worn out and nothing gets done. You’ll look for other distractions.
You keep a complex plan in your head – You add to the problem by trying to keep a complex plan in your head. Relying on your brain as a storage device to remember EVERYTHING doesn’t work! Have you ever thought you’d remember stuff, then when you’ve gone back to it later, you can’t remember the detail and have to start all over again?
“I’m just not very organized…” This label is an excuse to give you permission to stay stuck. The reality is that you are VERY organized at being UNORGANIZED: You are following entrenched old habits and patterns. They just take you to a negative outcome. You’re just organizing the wrong things! See the pattern here? You may feel out of control, perhaps your emotions have taken over.
Quality of your inner dialogue – If I say to you: ‘Don’t think of the colour blue…’ What do you do first? You think of blue before you decide not to think about it! So if you’re saying to yourself: ‘I mustn’t forget to…’ you are programming yourself to forget! This is known as a bad command in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) terms. If you repeat this to yourself, you are likely to forget! You are focusing on forgetting rather than remembering!
You are too busy to think about it – You are stuck in the ‘do-do’ of doing and don’t take time to think something through to decide how you might do it differently. You wallow in procrastination. Thinking seems too easy to do so you resist or you perceive that it’s not a valuable use of time.
Here are some potential solutions:
1. Clear out the mental clutter – You can over-plan and over-strategize. So step back and get rid of the clutter. You might have far too many steps in the process, or you’re going into too much detail.
- Lighten the load by simplifying your process.
- Place high value on simplicity!
- Look for an easier route. You have to choose the right strategy for the situation.
2. Get out of your own way – Are you fighting with yourself, getting caught up in drama and creating feelings that are sabotaging your progress? Notice what is going on inside – write it down. You don’t have to put so much pressure on yourself.
- Become organized at being organized!
- What needs to change?
- What would being organized look like for you?
- Lose the label and dump the excuse of being unorganized.
You can do this!
3. Change your language – Listen to your inner dialogue. Are you giving yourself bad commands? Remember if you’re saying to yourself: ‘Don’t forget to call Jenny.’ You are actually saying: ‘Forget to call Jenny.’ You are more likely to forget! Change the quality of your inner dialogue by turning it around to something like: ‘I will remember to phone Jenny today.’ Give yourself commands in a positive way.
4. Make time to think it through – Allow thinking time! Use visualization as a tool to set your mind for success. See yourself making the call to Jenny:
- What are you saying?
- When are you calling her?
- Walk this through in your mind several times.
- Then take action straight away to make it happen.
- Make a post-it note and keep it in sight so this call is your mental radar today.
You are re-training your brain to get things done. Simple strategies work well. Think simple!
5. Attitude changes everything – To change your thinking you need to change your perspective towards the situation. The situation IS the situation, it doesn’t change – you are wherever you are right now. If you know that this is something you should do, then change your attitude towards it. This is what is holding you back.
- What would it be like to be in control or on top of this situation?
- What are you doing?
- What are you saying?
- How are you acting?
- How will you feel when you’ve completed it?
- What difference will it make?
Having a coach can help take responsibility for getting things done.
Clear out the rubbish in your current strategies for getting things done, stop fighting yourself, listening to your negative inner dialogue, and getting lost in the mountain of steps in your process.
Simplicity is everything! Look for a more effortless path and don’t be so hard on yourself!