“I know I have a project to complete 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.
Cynthia Kyriazis understands the struggle. She works with people who are chronic procrastinators. Cynthia is a productivity strategist, coach, and trainer and the Founder and President of Productivity Partners, Inc. in Kansas City.
She’s developed a simple formula to help people get things done whether its writing a report, reorganizing an office, or even planning life after retirement. Cynthia calls her formula “GPS.” That stands for Goals, Priorities, and Scheduling.
Using this GPS plan is especially important no matter how busy you are or where you are in life’s journey. It’s a system that works for completing daily tasks as well as planning for your next steps in life.
4 Very Important Questions
Sometimes it seems just getting started is the biggest obstacle you face when tackling a daunting task. To be successful you have to 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 whatever those goals are, they 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.
Follow Your GPS
To make GPS work you must formally start the process. That will often mean you will have to 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 even the experts in the field sometimes have problems getting started. In workshops Cynthia leads quite often she brings it down to the personal level. She talks about the problems she encountered while writing her latest book, Get Organized, Get Focused, Get Moving. She had set what she thought was a realistic deadline for completing the book. When she missed that deadline she set another for the month after. She missed that deadline too. Cynthia seemed to be getting nowhere.
Finally she arbitrarily picked one chapter from the book outline she had already crafted. She decided she would write just one sentence to start that chapter. Four hours later she finished that complete chapter. The next day she picked another chapter with the intent to write just one sentence. It took her just three-and-a half hours to complete that chapter. After that it was merely “rinse and repeat.” That’s how she finished the book. Cynthia had a plan and she worked it.
Typing that first sentence was the hardest part but it was Cynthia’s breakthrough. Perhaps unknowingly she had 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.”
It’s Up to You
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 in planning “what’s next”. 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!”
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Engage: the Power and Profit of Facilitating Collaboration, an e-Book that contains key ingredients to help you achieve business results, whether you are a professional facilitator, corporate executive or budding entrepreneur.
The Power and Profit of Knowledge, a primer on market research for small business.
The Power and Profit of Employee Engagement, a collection of key trends and blogs on the value of employee engagement to accelerating profitable growth.
Recalibrate: A Strategic Guide for Accelerated Growth, a book based on interviews with business executives from various industries, sizes and geographies and four tenets of Recalibration – Relevance, Differentiation, Engagement and Expression.
Recalibrate for Life 2.0, a book based on conversations with fourteen executives, C-level corporate leaders, and business owners who offer straight-forward insights, ideas and strategies they used to carve out a path to a new career and a new life—a Life 2.0.