Friday, 11 August 2006

Procrastination the Key to Success

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On the subject of procrastination, the Humorist, Henry Wheeler Shaw said:

"The greatest thief this world ever produced is procrastination, and he is still at large."

If you want to become a success in life then you have to learn how to procrastinate. I know you've often heard that procrastination is the reason why people fail. You may have even said it to yourself about yourself. But procrastination is also how successful people accomplish so much.

You see, generally, 20% of what we do produces 80% of our results. High achievers therefore do the 20% first and foremost and procrastinate the 80%. Others procrastinate the 20% and do the 80% first and foremost. It's that old Pareto Rule in operation again.

The trouble with the latter approach is that it focuses on the trivial many rather than the vital few and the trouble with the former approach is that it often requires that you do your feared thing first. If it's not your feared thing then it is often the things you don't like doing even though you know they need to be done.

We tend to do the trivial things first because they are quick and easy to do. However, this is an illusion, as they tend to be so many of these things that they take up far more time than anticipated leaving either a lack of time or energy or both to do the things that really count. Yet, it these things that frequently get bumped off your daily to-do list, that will move you in the direction of your goals.

The next day the same thing happens and before long it's the end of the week, then the end of the month and some of those vital things still remain undone. Cracks start to appear in the foundation of your life, which unless you take steps to address will compromise your entire infrastructure.

Doing the feared thing first may mean confronting your fears but once you do this several positive things happen, including the following:

1. You often find that your fear was unfounded.
2. Your energy levels increase.
3. Your self-confidence and self-esteem increase.
4. You successfully push back the boundaries of your comfort zone.
5. You are motivated and inspired to get even more done.

In this manner, high achievers often accomplish more in a week than some people accomplish in a month.

So how can you get into the habit of procrastinating the trivial many so that you can get on with the vital few?

Here are five proven tips:

1. Delegate the less important items on your to-do list.
2. Eliminate the less important items on your to-do list. Yes, some things are perhaps better left undone!
3. Identify your distractions and eliminate them.
4. Schedule time to handle the stuff that is important but not urgent.
5. Get into the habit of doing it NOW when it comes to that all too important 20%.

With respect to the last point, as Leland Val Van De Wall said,

"Doing at once what needs to be done will ensure the possibility of success."

Here's another great success strategy. Dr Jack Canfield author of Success Principles practices the Rule of Five. Here's how the Rule of Five works:

1. Each day, decide upon five things that must get done that day.
2. Work on these five things until they get done.
3. Schedule any new and unimportant jobs below these five things.

If you see procrastination as the key to success rather than an obstacle you can learn how to dance with this thief. With practice, you will find yourself accomplishing more and more each day and your life will be enriched as a result.

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