Over the past twenty years we've observed how smart people use three habits to get themselves to take action, even in tough times
San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) February 20, 2007
You know what you need to do. You know why you need to do it. You even know what steps you must take to get it done. But there's one small problem: you can't seem to get moving. It's a common problem. Maybe it's chronic procrastination or maybe you're just so overwhelmed that you feel paralyzed. Either way, the task you must complete is just sitting there, gathering metaphorical (or perhaps literal) dust, and growing more ominous by the day.
Good news. You can motivate yourself to do what needs doing. Management consultants Karen Leland and Keith Bailey--the authors of Watercooler Wisdom: How Smart People Prosper in the Face of Conflict, Pressure and Change (New Harbinger Publications, 2006, ISBN: 1-57224-436-4, $14.95)--have spent two decades studying what makes some of the world's most effective workers so, well, effective. That includes making "just do it" more than a snappy slogan.
"Over the past twenty years we've observed how smart people use three habits to get themselves to take action, even in tough times," they write. "These habits act as an inoculation against procrastination and feeling overwhelmed so that smart people are ultimately able to press through and get things done."
Sound good? Okay, here are the three "Habits of Action," excerpted from Watercooler Wisdom:
Habit #1: Chunking Down: Focus on the Trees, Not the Forest.
Chunking your projects and goals down into smaller pieces will help you take action more quickly and easily, while at the same time helping to combat the feeling of too much to do. If your goal is to publish a book, for instance, you might break your process down into milestones (1. Write the book proposal; 2. Submit it to agents; 3. Follow up with agents; 4. Sign with an agent) and then into "micro-milestones" (1. Write a two-page overview of the book; 2. Write one-page author's biography; 3. Research on Amazon to find similar books already in print . . . and so forth). The point of micro-milestones is to create steps small enough that they seem doable--physically, mentally, and emotionally. This frees you to take action.
Habit #2: Take Energetic Credit for Completion.
Often, even though we're achieving pieces of our projects and goals all the time, we don't fully acknowledge them. Smart people are in the habit of enthusiastically taking credit for any action they complete, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant. Smart people know not to wait until the big item is 100 percent done before experiencing closure. Rather, smart people generate energy all along the way by recognizing each item they complete.
Habit #3: Time-Planning: Put a Stop to Putting It Off.
Smart people are in the habit of using a time-plan to get beyond procrastination. A time-plan is a method of assigning blocks of time to those items you want to get done (but not a minute-by-minute description of your day). Here are two easy steps to creating your own time-plan:
Step 1: Identify your power times for different types of activities. Everyone has high and low periods of energy, attention, and focus. Do you like to plan for the next day on the morning of the day or the night before? What is your most creative time during the day? Use your power times to take on your most difficult items. Use your down time for more routine items and errands.
Step 2: Set aside blocks of time for getting certain things done. Keeping in mind your power times, go through your calendar and schedule a specific day and period of time when you will work on an item. Time periods ranging from fifteen minutes to two hours are the most effective. Every hour or so, schedule a ten-minute break from your task.
Don't just plan your time in your head--write it down! Keeping a record of your time-plan is key.
About the Authors:
Karen Leland and Keith Bailey are co-founders of Sterling Consulting Group, Inc., an international management consulting firm whose corporate and management training programs have served American Express, Avis Rent A Car, Bristol Myers-Squibb and Microsoft, among others. As international experts on customer service and co-authors of Customer Service for Dummies, they have been interviewed by dozens of media outlets including API, BBC, CBS, CNN, Fortune, Newsweek, The New York Times, Time magazine, and The Oprah Winfrey Show.
About the Book:
Watercooler Wisdom: How Smart People Prosper in the Face of Conflict, Pressure and Change (New Harbinger Publications, 2006, ISBN: 1-57224-436-4, $14.95) is available in bookstores nationwide, from major online booksellers, and from http://www.newharbinger.com.
If you would like a copy of the book for review, please contact Lorna Garano, New Harbinger Publications (510) 652-0215 x107