5 Tricks to Overcoming Procrastination

Are you behind on things or putting important tasks off until the last minute? Thenn take a look at these tricks.

Are you behind on things or putting important tasks off until the last minute? Thentake a look at these tricks!

photo by ailatan

We know we should not do it but we do anyway. What is it? Procrastination. How often have you had something you needed to do and then you just decided to put if off for a little while or you got caught up doing other ‘important things’.

It is just so easy to put something off until tomorrow. We often do it for a variety of reason, such as anxiety, busyness, boredom, or dislike for the task. But whatever the reason, it needs to stop, which is why we have 5 tricks to help you stop procrastinating today.  You can read about them tomorrow if you like.  Just kidding.  You need to read them now or you would not be on this page.  :-)
  • Take on only what you can accomplish – If you have so much to do that you cannot get any of it done on time then cut back and focus on a few tasks that you can do on time. A key part to fixing procrastination is simply managing your time and energy well. Look at all the activities and tasks you have, and then try to see if you can actually accomplish them in the amount of time you have. if you need to reorganize your life, then do it. Sometimes it takes some change in other areas before you will see change in this area.
  • Structure your time – set aside time for doing the things that usually distract you. If you like to take a break from accomplishing things by visiting your favorite websites plan a time to do that or use it as a reward after you have accomplished something important.
  • Tackle the hardest thing first.  Often we put off the hardest task and do things that are less difficult in their place.  Many times we never get around tot he really important things.  If you tackle the important things first the rest of the day will go much easier.  I have quit responding to my email in the morning and have started leaving it until the afternoon.  I’ll check to make sure there are no emergency emails but then I get started tackling projects and answer email later in the day when I have less project time.
  • Don’t get distracted – when you set out to do something, then keep doing it until you finish. Don’t let friends or other things distract you. Be sure that you set aside enough time to do the task in the first place.
  • Just do it – get your tasks done when you think about them, don’t but it off. If you think about another task while you are in the middle of one, then write it down and continue on your current task.
If you are stuck on what to focus on take a breather and ask God for wisdom both on what to work on and how to go about it.
Procrastination can be a difficult habit to break but you’ll be on you way if you follow these tips.  Not only will you find you are accomplishing more but your energy will increase and you’ll feel better about life.

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Signs of Burnout

burnout, stressed

Burned out

Burned out

Photo by Rockin’ Rob

Are you feeling overcome by the stresses of life? Do you feel like you are about to burn out? Tired of people, ministry, even life? Do you have a hard time getting up in the morning? If any of these make you stop and think, you may be well on your way to feeling burned out. Burnout occurs more often than one might expect with stress being the main cause. You are not alone though; here are some statistics and facts relating to stress and burnout in America.

  • One-third of Americans feel they are living with extreme stress.
  • About half of Americans (48%) feel that their stress has increased over the past five years.
  • Money and work are the leading causes of stress (mentioned by three quarters of Americans).
  • Clergy, Pastors and Religious workers lead some of the most stressful lives, along with doctors and lawyers.
  • Stress has been directly linked to disease and death.
  • Stress can have huge effects on physical and mental health.

Source: American Psychological Association study, 2007. www.helpguide.com

Now you might be feeling even more stressed, but don’t worry, the point of all this is to help you realize and recognize and then remove the stress in your life and prevent burnout.

Now, what are some of the reasons for feeling burned out? Well, there could be a number of reasons why you are feeling depressed, tired and stressed or maybe just one or two. It is important to identify them, and then to try to start cutting back or avoiding those things that cause burnout in your life. Read the following to learn what the 7 major burnout signs are and if you notice them in your life.

The 7 major signs of Burnout:

  • Constantly busy with “Important” things that cause you to feel overwhelmed. This could be due to an inability to say no to things, or simply a difficult and demanding job.
  • Feeling tired or constantly staying up late at night and not getting enough sleep. People might tell you that you look tired or you often fall asleep in meetings or church.
  • Reacting negatively to people or getting angry over little things. This doesn’t mean just getting angry with close friends and family, it also means you ignore or respond harshly to people you normally have to work hard at being nice to.
  • A sense of being spiritually drained or uninterested in the Bible and church. You might find yourself being distracted at church or simply wondering why you bother going.
  • Spiritual stagnation, no motivation to grow in your relationship with God.
  • Neglecting personal needs and those of your family. You might feel that you are already spending all of your energy on ministry or other ‘good’ things and when you come home you have nothing left and you just want to sit and be left alone or do whatever you want to do.
  • Work or ministry has become monotonous and you feel no enjoyment in what you do. This could be from working in the wrong kind of job.

Do you see these signs in your own life? Even small parts of these signs could be an indicator that you might be getting burned out from your ministry or job. And when you get burned out, your effectiveness in your job or ministry drops to near zero.

Now that you know what signs of burnout might be in your life, its time to look into what the ramifications of burnout are. Read the next article called Ramifications of Burnout to learn what happens when you get stressed, depressed, and burned out.

It is important to note that stress at times in some small amounts can be good. It can help motivate, and encourage you to get things done. But it is easy to go from a reasonable amount of stress to way to much, stress in your life. It can sometimes be hard to tell when you have a reasonable amount and when you are overloaded but if you notice any of the signs, it probably means you have to much stress in your life.

Burnout on the other hand, is not something you want any amount of in your life. It is important to realize the difference now so that you can deal with it and recover as soon as possible.

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Cut that out

Do you ever wish that there were just big scissors around the things in your life that it made sense to cut out? Probably some of us would love that and others would rebel that we were being told what to cut out of our lives. I think in this picture the paving crew was being told where to cut the road. :-)

Well for better or worse (mostly for better I think) it is left almost entirely up to us what to cut out of our lives so that we can make time for the really important things.

Here are some things that you might want to cut out of your life so that you can make time for reading.

1. TV. Especially now with being able to download TV shows commercial free on Itunes it might be a good time to get rid of the TV. I have met a few families or friends over the years that haven’t had TV and I think they were better off for it. We went a year without a TV and we will be without TV starting in September again and I can’t wait. If you can’t cut out TV just try reading during the commercials.

2. Eliminate Unnecessary commitments. Perhaps you have been locked into somethings that aren’t in your areas of strengths or that someone else could be doing much better. Think of clubs, civic organizations, church activities that aren’t what God has for you. Many of these things might be really good. But really good is the enemy of great.

3. Facebook, MySpace or Surfing Online. If you track the time that you spend online that isn’t purposeful you might be able to read a book a week. Seriously the amount of time that people spend online is eclipsing the amount of time that they spend in front of the TV.

4. Unsubscribe from Email Lists. I started unsubscribing from email lists about 3 weeks ago and literally every day I have more email lists that I am getting off of. It’s not just the time it takes to delete the emails each day but they often distract us from what we need to be doing when we are at our desks in front of the computer. An additional idea is to have a seperate email for mailing lists that you check once a week.

5. Don’t Shower. OK. I admit this one is a little extreme. But it just goes to show you that things really can be cut from your life so that you can read. I heard a guy speak that makes about $50,000 a month online and he was talking about the things that people do instead of accomplishing things. There were the typical things like TV and procrastinating. When he talked about not bathing to accomplish things I realized he was serious about what was important in his life.

6. Work Less. You might have scoffed at this one. I am a firm believer in working hard and giving whatever you are doing your all. The hours that we work continues to increase and I am sure that most of us could accomplish what we do in less time if we worked a little less and worked a little smarter.

Hopefully those ideas get you jumpstarted about what you can cut out of your own life so that you can make time to read.