“I know I want to think ahead but somehow, I can’t get started.” Sound familiar? Probably. For some, procrastination seems to be a way of life.
Dr. Joseph Ferrari is a professor of psychology at DePaul University in Chicago. He’s a leading international researcher in the study of procrastination. His research shows that 20 percent of the men and women in the U.S. are chronic procrastinators. But even if putting things off is only an occasional stumbling block it can prove to be a dilemma, especially for those of us facing our next challenge – Life 2.0.
Consider the “GPS” formula found in a recently published book, Get Organized, Get Focused, Get Moving. This GPS formula stands for Goals, Priorities, and Scheduling. It can help people get things done whether it’s writing a report, reorganizing an office or even planning life after retirement.
Sometimes it seems just getting started is the biggest obstacle you face when tackling a daunting task. To be successful you must have a plan. Here are four questions to always consider as you prepare for retirement or any other task or transition:
- What is the ultimate goal?
- What is the plan for reaching that goal?
- What are the priorities?
- How are you going to make it happen?
In life, you may have many goals. They change over time but hopefully those goals will always be important enough to motivate you to stick with them and not get sidetracked. You need to emotionally “own” the goals and make the commitment to see them through.
To make GPS work, you must formally start the process. That will often mean you must take baby steps first. But even those small steps will start the process.
Follow through with the plan. Express your goal for the process in explicit terms. Outline and prioritize the steps you will take to reach your goal. Develop a realistic schedule for completing the plan.
Keep in mind that even the experts in the field sometimes have problems getting started.
How many times have you heard about writer’s block? Here is one story fellow authors can easily recognize. You set what you think is a realistic deadline for completing a book. When you miss that deadline, you set another for the month after. You miss that deadline, too. You seem to be getting nowhere.
Finally, you arbitrarily pick one chapter from the book outline you have already crafted. You decide to write just one sentence to start that chapter. Four hours later you have finished that complete chapter. The next day you pick another chapter with the intent to write just one sentence.
It takes you just three-and-a-half hours to complete that chapter. After that it is merely “rinse and repeat.” That’s how you finish the book. You have a plan and you work it.
Typing that first sentence was the hardest part but perhaps unknowingly you followed Mark Twain’s advice. He said, “The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small, manageable tasks and starting on the first one.”
Certainly, you don’t have to have your life planned to the last minute, but when you don’t have some sort of plan and system for time management it’s like shooting here and there instead of shooting at the target. That’s why GPS is important. It leads you to set logical goals. It helps you prioritize tasks you must accomplish. It allows you to schedule and plan your time wisely. Then it’s up to you to Just Do It!
What is one task you have been putting off and what is one thing you could do to get started? What seems to be a bottleneck right now and what could be a workaround? What tools do you use to prioritize tasks? Do you have your own personal GPS – Goals, Priorities, and Scheduling? How are you using it? Please share with the community in the comments.