Category: Procrastination

6 Ways to Deal with Paperwork!

By , March 20, 2011 6:39 pm

I have to confess that paperwork and administrative stuff isn’t my strength. I think I’m safe to say that it’s not one of my Unique Abilities!

In the past I found any excuse not to have to do it!

The teenage tantrum voice in my head gets a little ‘uppity’ when I’m faced with paperwork because she sees it as BOR-ING! If allowed to get her own way, the paperwork and admin’ stack gets bigger and BIGGER. Enter procrastination and excuses about ‘not having the time’ or ‘I’ll get around to it later!’ or a personal favourite: ‘I’ll do it tomorrow!’

Inevitably… the hord of paperwork  forms a ‘holding pattern’ spilling out from an over-stuffed intray waiting for Paper-Traffic Control to sit down and just sort it out! This happens only when there is no more visible free space left on the desk!

Once a stack of paperwork gets to certain height, then you have a stability problem… the whole thing is in danger of falling over a bit like Jenga bricks! Honestly, in the past, I have been known to start a second stack at this point!

Along with the stacks of paper comes overwhelm, guilt, stress and anxiety that something very important may have been missed. I feel totally out of control.

Are you familiar with any of this?

Seriously…The only thing you should be scared of with paperwork is a paper cut!

Here’s 6 ways to blast through your paperwork and take control back…

  1. Stop Making Excuses – Saying that you are ‘crap at paperwork’ doesn’t solve the paperwork problem. It keeps the issue external to you so you can blame your personality or parents instead! Take 100% responsibility for the situation and change it. Decide to deal with it by focusing your energy on clearing the back log a little at a time in a structured way.
  2. Take time to make time – Paperwork won’t get done unless you schedule some time in advance to specifically deal with it. I schedule a 1 hour paperwork block of time from 8-9 am every Friday morning when I’m working from home. I feel great afterwards because I know that I’ll be starting my weekend from a physically and mentally lighter place. I have taken some control back.
  3. Close everything else down – Turn off the phone, close down your emails (Unless specifically needed for actioning paperwork!) and any other programmes that could distract you. Focus on the stack one thing at a time and nothing else.
  4. Do it First Thing – This is VERY liberating. My expenses are the first action on my schedule every Monday morning. I show up and I get them done! JUST DOING IT makes me feel lighter because I can then concentrate on my High Value Work without being held to ransom by an inner chorus of should’s, must’s or ought to’s. I release the negative energy of having to do and replace it with it’s just what I do.
  5. Batch it – Plan your paperwork by batching it into similar activities. For example, I work on my expenses and invoicing in the same time slot because they are connected. I send workshop PowerPoint slides to delegates as I’m returning course attendance lists to clients. Get clear on what paperwork you are going to work on before you sit down to do it. Start small, do a bit at a time – but little and often. Create a positive habit. The stack will reduce and you’ll start to feel momentum and more in control.
  6. Create a Paperwork System – You may have a process for handling admin’ and paperwork already but if it isn’t working well, step back and explore how you can handle it better. Implement your plan. This may involve automation, using better software, getting a VA (Virtual Assistant) to delegate some of the basic stuff to save you time or deleting processes that no longer serve you. Improve your processes and you’ll improve your productivity.

It’s only paperwork after all! Claim your power back and blast through it!

Mwahahaha… look out paperwork here I come!

I’m a lean and mean paperwork blasting machine!

Am I really allowing this?!

By , July 10, 2010 4:59 pm

“I’m stuck in a rut. The walls are so high, I don’t know how to climb out. I work long hours, when I get home the kids are often already in bed. I’m tired and usually stressed out! All I do is eat junk food and sit in front of the television in a coma! My wife isn’t very pleased with me because I’m always putting things off until tomorrow, later or next week. Of course, I’m too tired when ‘later’ comes around. Everyone wants something and I just haven’t got the time. It’s not my fault!”

Andrew, a coaching client.

I believe that we directly cause things to happen by our actions or inactions. In other words, we create or allow them to happen!

Now…this wasn’t what Andrew wanted to hear.

He wanted me to reinforce his belief that he was a victim of circumstance. After all, that’s just the way things have to be if you want kids, a wife and a successful career right!?

It’s sometimes hard to come to terms with the results we are producing in life.

We don’t see it because we are sucked into busy-ness – too busy reacting to the chaos around us. As Andrew says, we get stuck in a rut and the walls appear too high to see a way out.

Unwittingly we also allow things to happen simply by our inaction to do something:

  • Not dealing with the damp issue in the kitchen – now it’s spreading into the dining room
  • Not  making time to develop your leadership skills because you were too busy doing the job. You’ve just been passed over for promotion
  • Not getting around to getting the car repaired and now it has broken down
  • Not discussing that disagreement with your colleague and now it has escalated to your manager.
  • Not speaking up in the meeting about your idea. Someone else mentioned it and got the praise!

Why?

Because the thought of taking action makes us feel uncomfortable and out of control. So we take the path of least resistance. We just stand by and let things happen. So we:

  • keep the peace by saying nothing
  • pretend not to see it
  • hope it’ll just go away (close our eyes, fingers in ears!)
  • say yes when we meant to say no
  • settle and survive

Here’s the thing…

By holding the mirror up to Andrew he was able to see that he was the one who was creating his own life and maintaining it the way it was.

He recognised that he was in the driving seat of his own mind and how he showed up. He’d got lost in the busy-ness and overwhelm. So he decided to claim his power back and choose a different approach.

Here’s how:

  1. You get to choose your actions. Act in ways that gets you more of what you want. Recognise that you are not the victim here.
  2. Pay attention to your warning signs – We all get them (and often choose to ignore them!). Listen your internal alerts:
    1. Gut feeling
    2. Intuition
    3. Suspicion that something might happen/might not happen
    4. A sense or fleeting thought
  3. Be proactive – Don’t wait for the other shoe to fall off!
  4. Learn to be uncomfortable – Face the situation, don’t hide from it. Work through the discomfort one step at a time.
  5. Take 100% responsibility for your actions and inaction.
  6. Everyone needs support – Don’t be frightened to ask for help. Talk to like-minded people. A coach can really help you to recognise what you are allowing into your life and whether this is what you really want.

Just what are YOU waiting for?

By , April 15, 2010 10:37 pm

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I was working with a client. Let’s called her Jenny. Jenny is really making some changes in her life. She admitted that she has been putting off telling her parents about the career decision she has made, because she is worried about their reaction. Jenny doesn’t think that they will understand or approve.

She is now procrastinating about this ‘difficult’ conversation and has played it in her head many times including their anticipated negative responses. The more Jenny thinks about telling them, the more she procrastinates. Here are a few of the scripts that are currently being played in her head:

  • ‘Why do you want to leave your well paid job?’
  • ‘You can’t just pick and choose what you want to do!’
  • ‘You’re lucky to have a job!’

These scripts feel real. They are beginning to affect her judgment.

So she’s waiting…

There have been many times in my life where I have chosen non-action over action, because I was frightened of the potential response that I would get from my parents, partner or friends even though I was clear about my intention or goal.

Here’s what I was waiting for:

  • approval
  • judgment
  • criticism
  • disappointment
  • understanding and acceptance
  • to be rescued from the dis-comfort

What I learned about waiting:

  • Waiting drains your energy.
  • Waiting distracts you from your goal.
  • Waiting compounds the situation because you start to believe the voices in your head.
  • Waiting dis-empowers you.
  • Waiting causes you to question your original choices.
  • Waiting robs you of your power and can make you defensive.
  • Waiting can kill your dreams because you want everyone to be happy with your decision before you step forward.

In my experience, waiting inevitability leads to the realization of my ‘self fulfilling prophecy of doom.’ The ‘difficult’ conversation is ultimately played out because I’ve already rehearsed it so many times in my head.

Waiting makes us feel that we have to explain, justify or defend our decision and this behaviour increases the other person’s disappointment or criticism.

Stop waiting!

Here’s how:

  1. Step into your own power – focus your energy on your intention. Get clear about the decision you have made and why you made it. Restore your power by giving YOURSELF permission and approval.
  2. You don’t have to explain – take personal responsibility for your decisions and the actions you take. You have the freedom to make choices. Trust your own intuitions and instincts. YOU get to make the choices in your life. You don’t have to explain them.
  3. Face the reality that others will be disappointed – You can’t please everyone all the time. Sometimes we pay too much attention to other people’s opinions of our choices. This blocks our creativity and we settle for less because we reach for a compromise rather than listening to our deeper self. Learn to accept that people won’t always agree with your ideas or decisions. This isn’t a reason to walk away or change your mind. It’s okay for others to be disappointed with your decisions sometimes.
  4. Stop playing the movie in your head – We often label a situation as ‘difficult’ because of how we have framed it in our own mind. The more you play the imaginary scenario, the more uncomfortable you become. How you think, affects how you feel, which ultimately effects how you behave. Therefore, our thinking and feeling fuels our actions and outcomes. How do you want to think, feel and behave during this conversation? If you were to think and feel this way, how will it make you act? What results could you achieve?
  5. Stop waiting for the ‘difficult’ conversation – I learnt to stop waiting in anticipation for the ‘difficult’ conversation. When I stopped waiting for it, the difficult conversation didn’t manifest! Because I didn’t get hooked into the old negative patterns of trying to ‘please people’ or ‘please understand me.’ Instead, I was confident and clear. I wasn’t sucked into the drama or the disappointment of others.

So what are you waiting for?

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