I just want to print some labels!
It has been the toughest of mornings for me. You see, there was a presentation that I needed to prepare, I'd already put it off for a couple of days, and the deadline was creeping closer.
"Right," I thought, "I'm absolutely going to do this in the next 2 hours, definitely, no excuses". So, I made a call to my business partner, we had a catch up, I tried to extend the conversation for as long as possible so as to delay the presentation. But, the call came to an end with her stating that I should get on with the presentation and send it to her for feedback before I get sucked into anything else.
Great idea - a bit of accountability - that's sure to work.
So, I sat at my laptop and began. I reached slide number 2, when the doorbell rang. Glad of the distraction after such deep concentration (deciding on a title for the presentation), I leapt up to find out who needed me. Amazon - better just check what's inside the parcel (this could have been my fatal mistake) it was a LABEL MAKER! Those of you who know my love of spreadsheets, lists & tick sheets, will understand that for me, this was about the most exciting thing that could happen to me on a Tuesday morning.
What to do now? My absolute NEED to print some labels was almost overwhelming, there are so many things that deserve a label...but... the presentation.
Many of you will identify with this terrible procrastination and active search for distraction, it can be an awful time thief and requires significant self-control to break away from. Self control that I don't always have. Aware that I couldn't put off the presentation forever, and that I really didn't want to write it in a panic at the last minute, I called upon two techniques that we have recommended in the past.
Firstly, I decided to eat my frog (Eat that Frog! A great book by Brian Tracy). I chose to tackle the least appealing of all the tasks that I need to do, straight away. I moved away from distractions (the label maker) and sat down to focus. The second technique that I used was the Pomodoro technique. I set myself a 25 minute timer and committed to focusing only on the presentation until that timer went off. When 25 minutes had lapsed, I took a two minute break to plug in and charge up the magic machine, then settled down for a further 25 minute slot.
At the end of the second 25 minutes, I was just completing the last two slides, so elected to finish them, and send the presentation to my business partner.
What I learned -
1. Procrastination is no fun. In fact, it just prolongs the agony of an inevitable task.
2. Eating the frog really works for me, no excuses, just get it done
3. Working in concentrated slots helps me to focus, and a short break is enough to refresh and re-focus
4. It's amazing just how much you can get done when you remove distractions and give yourself a limit
Hurrah! presentation done! Now I'm off to print some labels.