Simplifying life, goals, objectives and tasks is part of the solution to procrastination as simplicity purifies and clarifies the path ahead, making it more attractive to bear. Here are 6 suggested approaches to make things more… SIMPLE! This works best in reverse order!
S – STREAMLINE
Streamline any processes by designing a system of working that presents very little resistance to flow of intentionality, increasing productivity and efficiency of those less enjoyable tasks. One example of this: schedule a specific time to allow for distractions. Otherwise, 100% focus. Another example is to schedule timed bursts of productivity like the Pomodoro method.
I – IDENTIFY
Get to know and understand the root cause of the procrastination. Work with a coach to get clarity on the root of procrastination so that it can be addressed and overcome moving forward. This needs to be addressed in order to avoid ‘regular bouts’ of procrastination. Importantly, there could be deeper issues there making procrastination an outcome.
M – MILESTONES & MOOD
Set deadlines. Enter specific milestones into a diary (or a project planning software if the objective is big enough).
Sometimes a particular mood is required for optimal productivity. Mood regulation (aka emotional control) is a helpful self-mastery technique enabling fluidity & consistency of productiveness.
P – PRIORITISE
Using the Eisenhower Matrix is a great way to sort a task list out into 4 categories of priorities. When one knows the order of one’s life and activities, one can organise and plan accordingly. Do remember though: more often than not, time management is not the root cause of procrastination, and for long-term changes away from procrastination, the issue will have to be solved at the deepest level.
L – LESSEN
Procrastination presents a gap between intention and action. Lessening this gap could take all sorts of forms including giving a personal meaning to the task, rewarding oneself as an incentive to complete a task earlier than needed, trying different motivational methods that will work, and forgiving oneself from procrastinating and starting again with a fresh slate.
E – EASY
Yes. Make the tasks easier for yourself. If what has to be done is complex or large, break things down. Take baby steps if necessary, or go ahead and just ‘eat that frog’ (which isn’t that easy – but for those people whose core values include ‘challenge’, this might be the right way forward)! Try different things.
I’m Claz, a Professional Life, Career & Wellbeing Coach based in West London, accredited in the UK. I work with individuals as well as organisations providing high-end coaching. I also run affordable workshops that you can check out on my events page. Alternatively, you can contact me through my website www.touchofclarity.com.
🤷♀️ Why do people get stuck when making a decision?
That’s a really good question, and there may be many answers to it! This is why I find it helpful to take a systematic and structured approach to the decision-making thought process. At every stage self-awareness is as necessary as the content that surfaces when thinking through a decision. Many obstacles and hindrances to decision-making often and subtly surface up into the light but can then be excused by the irrational self. In these moments, it can be a challenge to have clear perception.
Whether you are making a life-changing decision about your relationships, your career, your life goals yourself or your wellbeing, here is my 7 step personal decision-making approach for clarity. I hope it will save you time, stress and ultimately heartache, when trying think through your decision!
Step 1: Define your situation
This is where it begins!
The more self-knowledgeable you are, the faster you will pass through this stage. Here, you’ll get to weigh up the significance of this decision you’re making against who you are, what you stand for, where you’re heading, and decide whether this decision needs to be taken now.
If you are a person of faith, then you will also want to bring God into this entire journey.
Self-Coaching questions for step 1
What is/are… [aka Define]:
the significance of this decision?
your vision, mission & values?
the implications if you do not make a decision about this?
the ideal decision?
the timing of your decision?
Step 2: Clarify what you’re making a decision about
Clarifying what the driving and resisting forces of this decision are, what is influencing the decision and how much power those influences have over you and your decision, as well as gaining insight into your decision-making strengths and weaknesses will help clarify what your decision is really about.
Self-Coaching questions for step 2
how does this decision align with your values?
how does this decision align with your goals & vision?
how does this decision align with your purpose & mission?
what are your decision-making strengths and weaknesses?
what are the driving forces in your decision?
what are the resisting forces in your decision?
what are the influencing factors in your decision?
what gaps are there in your knowledge, skills, competencies and experience re this decision?
who is/are influencing this decision?
Step 3: Identify outcomes of your decision
This activity will help you to separate what are assumed, and what are certain outcomes of your decision. Broken down into short, medium and long term outcomes, this step will help you to reflect on your emotional and psychological commitment tothose outcomes.
You’ll also gain some insight into your change readiness.
Self-Coaching questions for step 3
Identify the short, medium and long term outcomes with:
what will this decisions’ impact be on your physical, spiritual, emotional, psychological health?
how will it affect the people directly involved in your life?
what it will mean for the regular routine you live by or your daily activities?
what are the material considerations of your outcomes (e.g. possessions & value of them)?
what are the financial considerations of your outcomes (e.g. regular income, savings, investments, retirement)?
what are the career & job considerations of your outcomes?
Step 4: Consider the options, alternatives, consequences & opportunities of the decision
Here is where you identify all the risks in your decision, as well as the impact of this decision to your and others before actually committing to it.
Self-Coaching questions for step 4
what are the pros and cons?
what are the risks? How to mitigate them?
what are the positive and negative impacts?
where can opportunities be found?
how will it cost you in time & personal resources?
what sacrifices will be required?
what would you ideal choice be if you had to choose?
Step 5: Understand any emotions behind your decision
Your heart is greatly influenced by your past experiences, your desires, your passions, your pains, your personality, and a myriad of other factors and qualities.
Here is an opportunity to check the balance between your emotions and your rationale, moving forward without looking back in regret.
Self-Coaching questions for step 4
what pressures may this decision be feeding on?
what needs may this decision be feeding on?
how can I be more balanced (head vs heart)?
what emotions are influencing here?
what are my fears?
where might I be experiencing limiting beliefs?
how will my feelings change after this decision?
how are my past experiences influencing my emotions & feelings?
when am I likely to change my mind because of others’ feelings?
Step 6: Capture other viewpoints & objective opinions
There is GREAT VALUE in seeking counsel.
Seek the opinion of those:
immediately involved in this decision
indirectly involved in this decision
experienced in this area
whose wisdom you appreciate & respect
in the ‘helping’ professions
Self-Coaching questions for step 6
what do the people most involved in this decision have to say?
what do people indirectly involved in this decision have to say?
what do people with experience of this decision have to say?
what do people whose wisdom you appreciate and respect have to say?
what do professionals from the ‘helping’ professions have to say?
Step 7: Prepare & commit yourself to your decision
Often, limiting beliefs and self-sabotage about a decision happen before the very moment of committing to a decision. This is unlikely to happen if you’ve gone through the previous 6 steps to decision-making clarity. You will know what actions are needed to move forward confidently and courageously.
Self-Coaching questions for step 7
Prepare & Commit:
what are my critical activities moving forward?
what personal preferences do I have?
how can I exercise greater freedom of heart?
where do I need to exercise more resilience?
where do I need to exercise more courage?
what are my coping strategies?
how often should I review my progress and approach?
what does my task list look like?
Need an objective opinion to walk through the above with?
Depending on your situation (particularly the time limitation) and the gravity of the decision you have to make, you may be interested in an intensive breakthrough coaching session to get to decision-making clarity quickly, and for putting a sketch plan in place.
Intensive Breakthrough Coaching Session for decision-making clarity (2.5 hrs)
What is included in your session?
Initial email outlining your preparation for the session
Any relevant tools or materials required for activities in your session
Face to face to face session in West London OR video meeting call (prices vary by location & added onto base price. Video meetings via Zoom are no extra cost.)
Follow up email with reflections from the session and suggested actions
My intensive breakthrough coaching session is great value at a base price of £325. For this amount you will gain:
peace of mind and of heart that you have made the most informed and thought-through decision you could possibly have made
clarity on 99.9% of elements, factors, influences and options worth considering
an impeccably designed set of action points / plan to make any changes smoothly based on who you are and where you’re heading
greater knowledge of your blindspots and choke points, with an increased desire to manage those
confidence because you’ll have cleared mental and emotional obstacles preventing you from moving forward
enhanced or maintained good quality relationships (personal or professional)
holistic & well-balanced perspective, energy and momentum
avoidance of more time and money spent down the line from a decision that ultimately cost you more than you could afford
relief from stress and heartache that would have been an outcome of a poorly-made decision
I don’t consider myself an #academic… but I’m just so fascinated by #human #behaviour at the moment!
I agree with the UK Government’s current standpoint on the Coronavirus. Why? Well… because they have taken into serious consideration human behaviour.
In my 30+ years of life, I have observed how much we as human beings have changed in terms of our behaviour. I’m sure that many of you who are older, will see an even starker contrast in human behaviour from when you were younger, to today. We have become more impatient. We need things to be done faster and better. And, we have become so much more focused on ourselves (this is an iCulture, remember) and insular. We no longer connect with the dimension of time – and it’s going to hit us BIG TIME.
I’m not a scientist, nor am I a medical expert. I’m not a human behaviour expert neither. However, I do care very much about people. I care very much about the vulnerable in society – the disadvantaged, the marginalised, the isolated. I do this out of choice – not just because it’s inspired by my faith but also because it’s an intrinsic part of who I am. I was very pleased to have been able to watch the entire press briefing on BBC News on Thursday 12th March and I really have to say that it made entire sense to me.
If we go into lockdown too soon, people will become frustrated and lonely (depending how active or dependent you are on others). Perhaps I would never have heard myself saying this in the past, but it seems that on this occasion, the British Government appear to understand its peoples’ blind spots and weaknesses better than we do. Around a few months ago, I remember standing in a queue. I was only in the queue for around 10 minutes but the woman behind me spent 5 minutes constantly complaining at the fact that she’s in a queue. I mean, when we can’t even queue for 15 minutes without complaining, how are we conceivably going to remain on lockdown for an extended period of time? I know that not everyone behaves like this, but the truth is, the vast majority of us are extremely active – in our mindsets, our communications, our work, our lifestyles, etc.
Today, I was watching the movie ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ (LOVE that movie!) and every single time Brooks narrates the line “the world got itself in a big hurry”, I always think that this is even more true of today, than it was back then. Our human behaviour has changed from allowing things time to take its course, to wanting immediate results. I’m a coach – for sure this is something that I even experience in my line of work. It’s one of the reasons why I love the elderly, and spending time with them. They really teach me the value of patience and self-control, in ways that can’t be explained in textbooks.
It’s too late to kill the virus, so therefore we need to let it continue to run its course, whilst of course doing all we possibly can to develop immunity to it. The situation is going to get worse, and it makes most sense if the peak of impact was delayed, and risk mitigated as much as is possible. The Government’s recommendations are on-point if you think that what they’re asking people to do is to remain indoors for a week should symptoms of the virus make an appearance. This is to prevent the spread. It’s very sensible advice. Eventually, the lockdowns will have to happen… but they shouldn’t happen before their time.
In terms of my business, I’m here to be of service, not to be of risk! Unfortunately, I’m someone who is currently showing symptoms of the virus although I don’t know if I actually have it or not. I’m stopping all my volunteering activities and I’ve also cancelled my Career Strategy workshop that was due to take place on Thursday 19th March, for the reason that it will be my 7th day of self-isolation.
What I’d be most interested in now is having a good conversation with experts in the arena of human behaviour during times of panic such as the time we are experiencing now. If there is anyone out there who reads this and who can point me in the right direction, or connect me, I’d be delighted to speak to them and learn more. So much to learn… always! I’m so glad that I have a love of learning.
Here’s what happened when I turned off all my devices for an extended weekend…
In 2016, I managed a web-app project targeted at 14-18 year olds. As part of our direct field research, I interviewed target audience members on their device usage and their time online. Here were some interesting statistics on the device usage and online habits of our 14-18 year olds during a typical school day:
60% spent up to one hour on a PC
66% spent between two and four hours on their phones
Online usage averaged at just over three and a half hours
13% spent between nine and twelve hours on devices
During the weekend, the largest majority, which was one third, of the target audience spent between nine and twelve hours online in one day.
At the time, these statistics shocked me. However, recently, I have noticed how stressed my eyes were feeling. The major symptom of this was when my eyes struggled to focus between looking at my phone close up, and then looking up to a television three metres ahead of me. I decided to review my own device usage and online habits.
On a work day, I often spend between eight and twelve hours a day on a device, with nearly all of it being online. I’m a first wave millennial and grew up enjoying the outdoors as well as console gaming on a Nintendo SNES and Gameboy. It was definitely a better balance than the one I have now. It’s clear that I’ve lost that balance, so I set myself a challenge to turn off all devices for a good eighty hours between a Thursday night and a Monday mid-morning, away from home, to kick-start a more balanced screen routine. I had a great appreciation for what happened.
My screenless weekend became an unexpected wake-up call… literally. At home, my Lumie wakes me up. I didn’t have this whilst away. I would have used my phone as my alarm clock, but hadn’t thought about this when packing. Neither had I thought about how I’m going to tell the time! This revealed to me how much I rely on my phone for keeping schedule and to a degree, dictate my actions of the day. I was at the mercy of a friend to wake me up on time, and either had to measure the time by looking at the daylight outside the window, or finding a clock in the house. I found this to be an incredibly liberating experience. It reminded me that there is only so much in my life that I’m in control of, and that it has been a long time since I could simply ‘BE’ for a period of time longer than one hour, as opposed to ‘DO!’. It connected me to a deeper freedom that opened up the door to a beautiful perspective of life. Disciplining myself to turn phone, laptop, iPad and TV off restored an essence of clarity and openness to the world outside of myself, not to mention clarity of sight. So by the third day, not only had my physical eyes freshened up, but it appeared that my interior sense of sight (my perspective) had also received a ‘screenwash’. It’s something I’ll assess when putting together my personal 2020 goals during the month of December!