Overcoming Procrastination

“Tomorrow”: a mystical land where 99% of all human productivity, motivation and achievement is stored.”

For most of us, “Procrastination” is King

As we plunge into each day, it is easy to become derailed by trivial and non essential tasks. In fact, we often actively avoid the essential tasks out of fear and uncertainty, even though this makes us anxious. Brooding about unfulfilled tasks can lead to intrusive thoughts, while planning to complete them helps relieve those thoughts.

A physical To-Do list, whether on paper or digital, provides structure and magnetizes us to return to what matters most. But it needs to be carefully curated to prevent frustration and avoidance.

Avoiding the common traps of the To-Do list

Making a To-Do list should be easy: You just write down all the things you need to do, do them, and check them off your list as you go along, Right?

Wrong! Most of us fall into all kinds of traps with our To-Do lists. We allow wishful thinking to take over and put too many tasks on our lists.

We have lists all over the place, sometimes both, on paper and electronics. We put vague and unrealistic goals on our lists or we set up impossibly short time frames for completing our tasks.

Too often and too easily, our To-Do list will turn into “A Daily Failure List.” We put stuff on our To-Do list that we have no intention of doing.

Avoid the common traps of the To-Do list, so that it does not become a record of your failures: Restrict yourself to an “Humble To-Do List”.

The Humble To-Do List

Planned and executed wisely, the “Humble To-Do list” can be a goad to productivity.

On days when you have lots of things to do, a well thought To-Do list, breaking down large tasks into smaller ones, will help you set priorities thus avoiding procrastination. Put your list on paper. It is enormously satisfying to make a check mark with your pen against a finished task. On particularly harried days, draw empty boxes next to your tasks and check mark all completed tasks. Making a mark inside a box feels particularly emphatic. Writing down and checking off a task serves to “emblazon” it in your mind and offers positive reinforcement that is both visual and tactile.

For those of you who “think into their fingers and into the keyboard,” a digital To-Do list would make more sense. Whatever your preference, do not use both. Decide on a single, consistent system: paper or electronic, and use that system as the one and only place to record everything you need to do.

Group your personal and professional goals separately

Each day, most of us have personal goals along with professional ones. Keep your professional and personal goals on the same page or in the same file, but group them separately.

My suggestion is to keep four lists: one with life goals, along with yearly, weekly and daily lists. Life goals should flow into the yearly list, which should then flow into the weekly and daily lists. Say one of your life goals is to start a business: a yearly goal could be to write a business plan; a weekly goal could be to send emails to four business owners asking them if they would be willing to send their business plans to you; a daily goal could be to simply send one email.

Review your To-Do list daily

Spend 15 minutes each day reviewing what you have completed and planning your goals for the following day, plus two days beyond that. This will give you the chance to adjust your tasks and helps prevent last-minute crises.

A Daily To-Do list needs a strong dose of realism and specificity

It is important to add time estimates to your daily tasks. Estimating how long things take will not only help you plan your days more realistically, it will also help you take advantage of blocks of time that will open up unexpectedly.

Make sure to convert big, continuing tasks, like solving a client problem, into concrete, measurable action steps you can complete and cross off your list.

Keep your lists fairly short

Finally, keep your lists fairly short. It is so dispiriting when, at the end of the day, your To-Do list with fifteen items on it, or more, has only a few or maybe none at all checked off.

Better to pare down your To-Do list and make the goals on it less far-reaching.

One last word:

If you opt for the digital route, many To-Do apps are available, from Evernote, Astrid, Remember the Milk and Todoist, to name just a few. Personally, I prefer, use and recommend Evernote.

Most of these To-Do apps have the advantage of being able to sync across all your devices and calendars. Some apps even have options that let you share your To-Do items and have your friends egg you on to accomplish them. But therein lies a danger: You may not want to share all of your goals with everyone, especially the personal ones, and these could often accidentally end up on your shared lists.

Michel Ouellette JMD, ll.l., ll.m.

JMD Systemics,

A division of King Global earth and Environmental Sciences Corporation

Avoiding Procrastination

Neuroscience Says Our Brain Is Wired to Procrastinate

Most of us procrastinate finding ways to avoid doing what we feel and know that would make a huge difference in our lives.

Neuroscience says our brain is wired to procrastinate. Our limbic system is this part of the brain that helps control our behavioral and emotional responses and playing a key role in our survival adaptation. Our limbic system only focuses on the proximate and immediate, on the present, on the “Now” moment. By contrast, our neocortex is this part of human brains that deals with higher-order brain functions like cognition, spatial reasoning, language and making decisions that affect our future.

While our neocortex realizes and is telling us that we have to do something about our live, our limbic system prevents us, to take immediate action. That is why we procrastinate: our limbic system and neocortex are always engaged in a constant battle, one that the limbic often wins unless we find ways to take it out of the equation or fool it into thinking it is winning.

The key to procrastination avoidance is to find a way to align all possible future outcomes with our present and actual outcomes; to make something now that we know is good for us in the long run and also feel good in the short term.

How do we do this?

First, we have to shift our focus from the future to the present. We have to find ways to trigger the “now” portion of your brain. Then, we have to modify our goals without upsetting our limbic system. The goal is to avoid our limbic system influence and interference completely. If there are recurring tasks we often put off, we have to find ways to automate them. This way, our limbic system will no longer get involved in our decision-making process and the things we want to do will always get done. The other thing we want to do is to adopt and follow the 5-Minutes Rule.

If we resent doing something, we have to make a deal with yourself to give it at least five minutes of our time. In most cases, after five minutes doing what we resent to do, we will end up doing the whole thing. Once we get started, something magical happens: We realize that what we were afraid of starting is not so scary after all. The endorphins kick in. Our mental muscles warm up. Our limbic system loves that feeling and we end up completing the task at hand.

When you are struggling to get started, do not think about all the work involved. Just give it five good minutes of your time. That will quiet your limbic system and the magic will happen. From there, it will be all downhill.

JMD

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JMD Systemics, a division of King Global Earth and Environmental Sciences Corporation

JMD Systemics is a premier, full-service crisis management and communications firm serving business owners, corporations, businesses, non-profit organizations, individuals and governmental clients  worldwide.​
Headquartered in Kingston, Ontario, our firm’s principal has over forty years of field experience providing crisis management, strategic communications, public affairs and public relations counsel to clients facing a broad spectrum of issues and daily challenges

Is your life off-course? Here is how to fix it!

Small things, if not corrected, always become big things. For better or worse, even seemingly inconsequential aspects of our lives can create ripples and waves of consequence.

Is your life off-course?

What feedback are you receiving to correct your course?

How often do you check your guidance system?

Do you even have a guidance system?

Where is your destination?

When are you going to get there?

Are you currently off-course?

If your answer to the last question is “YES”, here is what you have to do to get back on-course, to minimize the actual turbulences and other conditions distracting you from your intended path and final destination

  1. Organize Your Life

Life is busy. It is difficult to keep everything organized and tidy. And maybe you do not want to have an organized life. But moving forward, like it or not, requires a minimum of discipline and organization. Everything in life is energy and moving forward requires far less energy if you remove all unnecessary aggravation and tension from your life.

In life, there are some important, and urgent things and most people will spend their entire life prioritizing insubstantial activities such as answering emails, putting out proverbial fires, and just day-to-day stuff. Very few people organize their lives prioritizing almost exclusively truly important urgent activities and issues relevant to their health [either mental or physical], and personal lifetime rewarding achievement.

No one should care about your success more than yourself. If you are not a meticulous enough or do not care about proper planning of the important details of your life, then you are not responsible enough to get or to become what you say you want to get or become.

You want to reach your final destination? You want to be a winner instead of a loser? You have to manage your time and organize your life!

Manage your environment

Does your environment facilitate the emotions you consistently want to experience? Does your environment drain or improve your energy? If so, clean up your cluttered and messy living space.

Manage your finances

Do you have unnecessary debt? Do you know how much money you spend each month? Do you know how much money you make each month? Are you making as much money as you would like to make? Are you creating more value in other people’s lives? What is holding you back?

Most people do not track their expenses. But if they did, they would be shocked how much money they waste on stuff like eating out. Most people procrastinate and avoid as much as possible all administrative and logistical details about their life and, this lackluster behavior is holding them back from the very goals they are trying to accomplish.

You want to achieve your goals, whatever they may be, you have to hone in your finances; regardless of your actual income, you have to organize your life in such a way to maintain and develop and maintain a healthier financial living situation. Until you take complete responsibility of your finances, you will always be a slave to money.

Manage your relationships

Do you maintain toxic relationships that no longer serve you? Do you spend enough time nurturing the relationships that really matter? Like money, most people’s relationships are not organized in a conscious and conscientious manner. Today, with something so critical, all of us, including you, should take better stock of our relationships.

Manage your health

Does your body reflect your highest ideals? Is your body as strong and fit as you want it to be? Are you conscious of and in control of the foods you put in your body? Do you eat with the end in mind? Are you healthier now than you were three months ago?

Health is wealth. If you are sick, bed ridden or dying, who cares about how organized are the other areas of your life? Have a healthy lifestyle. Exercise, avoid foregoing sleep, over consuming stimulants and maintaining or developing poor eating habits.

Little things become big things. And eventually everything catches up.

Manage your “Inner Energy”

Do you have a sense of purpose in life? Have you come to terms with life and death in a way you resonate with? Have you truly living or simply existing? How much power do you have in designing your future?

When you organize your “Inner Energy”, you become clear on what your life is about. You become clear on what you stand for, and how you want to spend each day. You develop conviction for what really matters in live and what really matters to you: There is no more room for any kind of “distraction.”

No matter how well defined, everyone has a moral system governing their behavior. Most people believe in being honest and good people. But until you organize your life and live as your “Inner Energy “dictates you to conduct and live your life, you will always, inevitably and constantly experience internal conflicts.

Manage your time

Are the activities you spend your time doing moving you toward your ideal and preferred future? How much of your time do you feel in complete control of? Are you spending most of your time furthering someone else’s agenda? How much time do you waste each day?

Until you organize your time, it will disappear and move quickly. Before you know it, you will wonder where all the time went. Once you organize your time, it will slow down. You will be able to live more presently. You will be able to experience time as you want to. You will control you are time rather than the other way around.

Stop What You are Doing and Get Organized

If what you are doing is not working, stop doing it and, once and for all, get organized. The fastest way to move forward in life is not doing more or what you do; it starts with stopping the behaviors holding you back.

Getting organized and conscious of your present circumstances puts you in a position to finally build toward the preferred future you want. Stop your negative behaviors now and start implementing good ones. Constantly repeating what is not working for you will only always and invariably result in taking one step forward and one step backward.

If you want to get in shape or better health, the first thing to do before you start exercising, before doing anything else, is to purge the junk food from your diet.

Before focusing on making more money, reduce your spending. Detach yourself from needing more and become content with what you have. Until you do this, it does not matter how much money you make. You will always spend more than what you have.

Everything is a simple matter of stewardship

Rather than wanting more, it is key to take proper care of what you currently have. Organize yourself. Dial it in. Your life is like a garden. What good is planting if you do not have a fertile soil, if you do not prepare the soil and remove the weeds?

Why do most people stay stuck? Why do most people never achieve their goals? Why do most people never achieve success? They never organize. They simply try doing more of what they are doing and is not working.

My best possible advice: Before you “hustle,” get organized.

  1. Plan and Invest in “Your” Future

Even though the moment you decide you are worthy of it, you have complete power over the details of your life, very few people take the necessary time to consciously plan and design their life.

Are you worthy of that power or not?

You have to ask yourself this question and answer it right now, right this minute.

If your answer is “No”, do not bother to read this article any further; just stop complaining and enjoy your miserable life.

If your answer is “Yes”, I have to tell you that you are in for some real hard times. Your decision to plan and invest in “Your” future will result in tangible behaviors and difficult choices to make, decisions like fixing or eliminating troubled relationships from your life and saying “No” to some of your preferred activities that are nothing more than a waste of your time and immediate momentary gratification.

When you choose to forego momentary, you are investing in your future and most people fail to do this successfully. Most people do not purposefully invest in their finances, relationships, health, and time. But when you invest in yourself rather than immediate gratifications, your present moments will continue to get richer and more enjoyable, tremendously enhancing your chances to a guaranteed better future.

Thus, your life will continue getting better and more in line with your ideal vision every day.

  1. Tracking Important Metrics

Getting organized and investing in your future are futile if you are not tracking your progress. To be and to keep being the best in the world at what you do, you need to be on top of What is going on in your life. when behavior is tracked, and evaluated, your performance and productivity improve drastically. One impediment though, tracking is challenging. Tracking and monitoring your performance and progress requires discipline and most people quit doing it within a few days. The good part is that once you start monitoring and tracking, desired change happens quickly.

Track the things that are closely related to your core priorities and just remember this fundamental rule: If you have more than three priorities you have none. Keep your priorities to a minimum and start building your life around them, tracking and monitoring all your progress and actions toward your ultimate goal, your preferred future.

You can track whatever priorities you may have, either your key relationships, your business and finances, your health or how you use your time and once you do, your conscious awareness of these things will increase. Your ability to control these things will enhance. Your confidence will wax strong. And your life will become a lot more easier and simpler. You will be living a simple, yet organized and refined life.

Start monitoring and tracking your priorities now!

  1. Listening to your “Inner Voice” to Reduce Noise

There’s a lot of emphasis on hustle these days. But all the hustle in the wrong direction isn’t going to help you.

People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall. This happens way too often; far too late do we realize that in our mad rush, we were pursuing someone else’s goals instead of our own.

Spending time listening to your “Inner Voice” for advice and clarification does more than provide clarity to what you are doing. This opens your mind up to possibilities you cannot see, perceive or get while keeping busy hustling.

Spending time looking for and listening to your “Inner Voice” brings you insights and enlightenment to guide you in whatever may be your endeavor. It will bring you clarity, ideas and concepts that may prove to be absolute gold and new insights regarding your actual personal or business relationships.

But there is more

Your ‘Inner Thoughts”, your “Inner Voice” is a source of incredible power. This is the “power Within”, the “Power Within You”. That “Power” actually governs not only your actions but the interactions that you have with people around you and their actions and reactions toward you. The way you interact with people around you impact their lives either in a positive or negative way.

If you think positively about the people you interact with, this actually makes a difference. In both, your life and their life. Your thoughts create endless waves and ripples of consequence all around you. If you maintain a positive attitude, interesting things will begin happening.

Your life will improve and everything that you will touch will turn to gold. If you are uncomfortable with the idea of miracles, you can think of it as “Bona Fortuna” or even luck. Whatever you want call it, when you spend large portions of time every day in deep reflection mode, good things start happening. Things happen for your benefit that are completely outside of your conscious mind or conscious control.

Tap into your “Inner Power” and you will unlock limitless possibilities. The only thing holding you back from those things is your mind.

  1. Moving Toward Your Goals Every Single Day

How many days go by where you did nothing to move toward your big goals?

If you do not purposefully carve time out every day to progress and improve, then without question, your time will get lost in the vacuum of our increasingly crowded lives. Before you know it, you will be wondering where all that time went.

Now that you got yourself organized, finalize your initial planning, that you are tracking your progress and listening to your Inner Voice, taking action and hustling shall have become instinctive and automatic. Focusing on the right thing and in the right frame of mind to actually execute them every single day shall be your daily modus operandi.

Keep doing it every day, first thing at the beginning of your day. This is the only way to get and to keep things done. If you do not, nothing will get done even though that by the end of your day, you will feel exhausted and fried. There will be a million reasons to just start over tomorrow and tomorrow will be the same: by the end of the day, nothing will get done.

Starting today your mantra shall be: The worst comes first. Do that thing, those things you have been needing to do and never did. Then do it again tomorrow and the day after. Do it every day for the rest of your life.

It is really easy to get off course in life and we constantly need to make course corrections. Follow my lead long enough and you will be shocked.

Just remember: “Tomorrow Starts Today!”

JMD

Owner of Bunkumless.com and King Global Earth and Environmental Sciences Corporation, JMD, a former attorney, is a Columnist for The Futurist Daily News and editor of the Social and Political Blog JMDlive.com  Follow JMD @ jmdlive

 

 

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Learning as a Form of Procrastination

knowledge

“Knowledge, unless you apply it, does not, and will never make you more efficient, influential, powerful or successful.”

Today, thanks to the instant access to the internet, everyone can now study and learn from home. The tremendous quantity of information available online provide anyone with the best ever opportunity to broaden his knowledge in every sphere of activity one can imagine.

For who is starting a new project or new business, the magnitude and quality of information available online literally invites the new entrepreneur, before anything else, to gather as much intelligence as possible related to his undertaking. Ultimately, delaying all productive action, the new entrepreneur is ending up trying to be everywhere, reading and trying to do everything that is suggested or recommended by the so-called pundits.

Reading everything you can get your hands on, listening to every single podcast you can download, taking every online course you can afford, learning how to write the best possible resume; how to land the job of your dreams; how to launch a successful business or new product; how to create the greatest blog and website; how to write and publish a new book is not going to help you whatsoever. Ultimately, doing everything except taking action, you do not start or achieve anything. All those activities do not and will never take you anywhere close to whatever you wish to accomplish.

The key to power, greater achievement and success is not excessive expertise, but the ability to use it. Knowledge is absolutely worthless unless it is applied. The truth is that no matter how extensive your knowledge, there will always be obstacles and unexpected circumstances that you will have to face. There will always be issues that never have been described or covered in any book. And, one day or another, you will be ending up having to deal with situations no one ever has met before. These are the days where you will have to show some initiative and creativity, having to look for solutions and make decisions that no one probably has ever thought of.

While constantly looking for new sources of information and content, nothing is being done. Thanks to the Internet, learning has now become a major social trend and major form of procrastination. Constant researching, learning, planning, thinking, rethinking and visualization will not accomplish anything other than letting you spinning in your tracks and leaving you stranded in the place you are now. You will never start, even less accomplish or finish, anything. Only actions will drive you where you wish or want to be.

My point is that for anyone that have read even only these three books: “The Bible”, “The Prince” and “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, there is no need for further learning. You already have and know everything you need to know to live the life of your dreams and achieve power and success. There is nothing more you need to learn in order to take the first step. Stop reading everything that has been written, stop listening to everyone that has something to say.

Everything has been written, everything has been said centuries ago. There is nothing new under the sun. Read “The Bible”, read “The Prince”, read Machiavelli, read “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, read Carnegie, maybe Zig Ziegler and stop right there. Start writing your own book, the book of your own life. Take action now, turn your unstoppable procrastination into unstoppable action and start learning from your own experience.

JMD

Owner of Bunkumless.com and King Global Earth and Environmental Sciences Corporation, JMD, a former attorney, is a Columnist for The Futurist Daily News and editor of the Social and Political Blog JMDlive.com  Follow JMD @ jmdlive

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Making It Today

no-excuses


Always so many excuses
The final countdown | by: Michel Ouellette JMD

Change is not only difficult; it is often really scary.

There is always a natural inclination to want to delay beginning for as long as possible. No one wants to fail or look silly and the easiest way to avoid failure or to look silly is to never try or start anything, chiefly anything new.

All the excuses are good: no money; no approval and more than often, the universal excuse, life is getting in the way; sorry, no time. Because of all these excuses or whatever, one will decide that it is better to wait, to delay the project, to postpone it to tomorrow. All these reasons and excuses, I truly believe that you truly believe that they are very much valid. But quite frankly, I don’t think they matter. What I really think is that you are bullshitting both of us, yourself and myself.

Either you want to make it or you don’t.

If you really want to make it, if you really want to reinvent yourself, if you really want to empower yourself, if you really want to start something new, if you really want to create this better future for yourself, for your family, for the people you care about, you will. Nothing will stop you, nothing will frighten you, and nothing will scare you away.

When you fall off out the boat into the ocean, what do you say: “Oh my God! This is so cold, this is so scary, this is so difficult, my mother told me; I think I shall wait for tomorrow, for a better day to start doing it”?

I am telling you my friends, start swimming now; Tomorrow Starts Today.

To be continued…

JMD

jmdlive@lefuturistedailynews.com

Michel Ouellette JMD is a talented keynote and motivational speaker, public affairs & communications Strategist. For more about “Making It” in the years to come and coming soon: “Standing Out” by JMD.
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