I am going to stop putting things off starting tomorrow.” Sam Levenson

Procrastination is defined as the act of replacing high priority and important tasks with tasks of a lower importance, or delaying the actioning of important tasks to a later time. Procrastination may occur for a number of reasons, including the fear of failure, anxiety in starting or completing tasks, the need for an adrenalin hit as a result of self-imposed working under pressure, ineffective decision-making, perfectionism and ‘planning fallacy’, which means underestimating the amount of time required to complete a set of tasks.

Procrastination is very common amongst the population with many people procrastinating to some extent. Humans generally have a tendency to replace important tasks with tasks that are more familiar or fun to perform. Chronic procrastination is a more severe form that can be very damaging to a person’s life or career.

A number of steps can be implemented to manage or deal with procrastination:

  1. Recognising that you are procrastinating – You need to be honest with yourself in order to recognise that you are procrastinating. Characteristics of procrastination include: focusing on low value tasks and actions, being engulfed by your emails throughout the day, getting ready to begin an important task and becoming immediately distracted, waiting for the perfect conditions to begin a project, and keeping tasks on your To Do list for some time even though they were marked as ‘important’.
  2. Understanding the reason why you procrastinate – The mind has a tendency to convince yourself that a valid reason exists to procrastinate, often involving subconsciously lying to yourself. The reasons why you procrastinate could be due to either the type of work involved or your beliefs and behaviour. One of the reasons why people procrastinate may involve the work not being interesting, or a feeling of being overwhelmed by the tasks. Other reasons can include being disorganised which can result in anxiety in starting or completing tasks, or having a fear of failure/success stopping you from engaging the work. Being a perfectionist will also result in procrastination because perfectionists wait for the right conditions before they begin a task, or they try to achieve  the most perfect outcome thereby never actually completing the task. The final reason for procrastination relates to ‘planning fallacy’, which means underestimating the amount of time required to complete a set of tasks resulting in a delayed or slow start to actioning tasks, thereby escalating the required effort towards the end of the deadline. This is common with many university students who undertake assignments and examination preparation, and is often labelled as ‘Student Syndrome”. No matter how much time is provided for the student to complete their assignment they will take all the available time and end up cramming all the work just before the due date for the assignment.
  3. Implementing strategies to deal with procrastination – A number of strategies can be employed to deal with procrastination:
  • Keep a To Do list and ensure that you complete the required tasks quickly and efficiently
  • Break down the activities into manageable tasks in the form of an action plan that can be tackled quickly and easily
  • Utilise an Urgent/Important Matrix to identify high value tasks

  • Implement a reward system that is linked to the completion of important tasks
  • Start some easy tasks every day to fuel your momentum, which then allows you to tackle the larger more important tasks
  • Focus on goal setting, scheduling and planning to streamline your project management skills
  • Employ a mentor or coach to help you overcome procrastination or to encourage you to maintain your momentum on a particular project
  • Tackle the worst task in the whole To Do list first thing in the morning (e.g. Brian Tracy says ‘Eat the Frog’ – since this is the worst thing you could do everything else should be easy to undertake)
  • Repeat the cycle for 20 days so that it becomes a new habit

The longer you spend time without procrastination the better chance of breaking the habit.

Dr John Kapeleris

Did you like this? Share it:

In establishing your life purpose and lifelong ambitions the best way to start is to think about your passions and interests in a world without limitations or constraints. For example, if you were given the option of any position or career in the world what would you choose?

However, we generally find ourselves in a paradigm that is familiar to us, has clearly defined boundaries and has become comfortable. We have learned to become complacent with what is presented to us and we don’t generally challenge the status quo. As a result we get the same thing out of life that we have always gotten, because we don’t do anything differently and many of us try to avoid change.

The world is changing at such a dramatic rate that we must also adapt to the changing environment. We must stop and think about our current situation, and determine whether our life path is being driven by ourselves or influenced by external people. We therefore need to re-evaluate our purpose and ambitions in life.

Following are a set of questions that I have used to identify my passions and desires in a life without limits. Try answering the questions below as an exercise to better understand your defining purpose and your ambitions in life.

1. If I wrote a book, the book would be about…

2. If I produced a movie, it would be…

3. If I painted a picture, the subject would be…

4. If I wrote a stand-up comedy routine, I would tell stories about…

5. If I composed a song, I would write about…

6. If I was going to do something nobody would expect me to do, I would…

7. If I was going to cook a meal for a number of friends, I would cook…

8. If I won $5000 to throw the party of the year, I would make it memorable by…

9. If I designed my dream home, it would have…

10. If I designed my ideal vacation home, it would certainly have…

11. If I could be paid to study any subject for a whole year, I would study…

12. If I could spend two months anywhere in the world, I would go to…

13. If I could live anywhere in the world, I would live in…

14. If I could have dinner with anyone on the planet, I would want to dine with…

Don’t hesitate. Give the task a go. You will never know what new ideas or opportunities emerge.

To your success!

Dr John Kapeleris

Did you like this? Share it:

“The purpose of man is in action, not thought.” — Thomas Carlyle

We are fast approaching Christmas and this is always a sign that we have once again reached the end of another calendar year. I always find the end of the year to be a time of reflection and review. It is also a time to evaluate the progress of your life purpose, goals and objectives that were set at the start of the year or the longer term goals set in previous years.

The end of the year also offers a fresh start for activities that we had intended to do but never got around to doing them. Although I had previously stated that any day can be the start of the rest of your life, the end of the year can be a special time because it can provide closure to outstanding action items that may no longer be relevant, but also removing limiting beliefs by leaving them behind in the current year. The dawning of a new year provides the incentive to start a fresh action list and the motivation to get things done.

Many people make New Year’s resolutions, however, they quickly discover that the resolutions fade even before the first quarter of the calender year is reached. It is not just about making New Year’s resolutions at the dawn of the New Year, it is about making a committed effort to set written goals and objectives for the coming year and for the medium to longer term timeframe.

I challenge you to make a committed effort, that is, take ACTION, to review your previous goals and objectives, and to set new goals and objectives for 2011. Begin by identifying the major achievements and highlights for 2010. These could include work achievements, financial objectives, family highlights, personal development, educational achievements or personal success outcomes. Achievements should also be acknowledged and celebrated to ensure mental reinforcement and capitalizing on the motivation that this can provide to your subconscious mind. I try to reward myself when I achieve a particular goal or objective. For example, I will buy a gift for myself that reminds me of the success that I have achieved, or I will organise a special holiday trip for myself and my family. Last January I decided to go to Byron Bay and live in a beach house for ten days to celebrate a very successful 2009. In previous years I bought myself a Tag Heuer watch to remind me of a successful multi-million dollar deal I had closed in the year.

I use a visual journal with white pages to document my goals and objectives for the new calendar year. Once I complete this activity I then develop Action Plans for the major goals and objectives. Throughout the year I periodically review my goals and revise any action plans that are not progressing as expected. You should also prepare a vision board which consists of a portfolio of visual material or a collage of images that portray your vision, goals and objectives. The vision board helps to stimulate your reticular activating system in your mind to reaffirm your subconscious.

Like most people I also identify a few missed opportunities or disappointments for the year. This allows me to learn from the experience so that I can strengthen my future plans moving forward. Go ahead and document the missed opportunities and disappointments. Ask yourself, “What could I have done differently to capitalise on the missed opportunities or overcame the disappointments?”, and document potential changes and actions for the future. Don’t spend too much time regretting the missed opportunities. The rest of your life starts now, therefore focus on your future goals and plans for 2011. Some of these goals could also be carried over from 2010. Particularly goals that were over ambitious, which is common amongst high achievers.

I had also previously posted a number of blog entries that can provide further detailed information on developing your goals and objectives (see below). Furthermore, I have included a Personal Development Plan Template that may also be used as a guide. A decent driveway paint site will get you the driveway paint you want.

What does your personal development plan look like?

Have a merry Christmas and I wish you every success for 2011!

Dr John Kapeleris

Did you like this? Share it:

What is Success?

February 4th, 2010 | Posted by John Kapeleris in Success - (1 Comments)

Success means so many things to different people. For many, success is about achieving financial freedom in their lives and having the time to do what they enjoy doing. For others, success may involve achieving harmony with their mental, physical and spiritual aspects of their life. Success can also mean achieving the goals and objectives that you set out for your life journey and achieving the outcomes that you anticipated.

Your own idea of success may be a combination of the above, but the key will be to make it happen now!

Three Steps to Success

I have tried to simplify the process of moving to the next level of personal development and achieving success in your life. Having read numerous books and listened to a number of audiovisual programs on success I have reduced all the different approaches to three key steps in achieving success:

  • Think – positive mental attitude, beliefs, creative thinking, intuition, dreams and desires, subconscious programming, visualisation
  • Plan – life purpose, goals and objectives, commitment, detailed action plans
  • Do! – positive doing, self-discipline, taking action, implementation, evaluation

Although all three steps are important to achieving success the emphasis should be on the “Doing”. Ultimate success comes from the actions you implement in life once you have taken the opportunity to think about what you want and then plan what you are going to do. Success is a journey therefore you need to start working on it now. Today is the start of the rest of your life.

Many people spend a lot of time thinking and dreaming of success without actually planning and putting into action their plans. Don’t get me wrong. Thinking and having a positive mental attitude are important precursors to success, however these alone won’t pull you through. I can now understand why Thomas Edison stated that genius (success) is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

What is your definition of success?

Did you like this? Share it:

More on Goal Setting

January 19th, 2010 | Posted by John Kapeleris in Goals and Objectives - (5 Comments)

Goal setting is a key antecedent to success. Many of the successful people that I have worked with are strongly goal-oriented. They spend time articulating clear and specific goals, they write these goals down in detail, they work on their goals daily and review their goals periodically. Successful people also have clear, specific and written organised plans of action.

Your goals should contribute towards achieving your “Major Life Purpose” and related core values in life. What is your major purpose in life?

For goals to be affective they must be SMART Goals. That is:

  • Specific – don’t be vague
  • Measurable – quantify your goal
  • Attainable – be honest with yourself
  • Realistic – real and practical
  • Time-based – associate a timeframe

 

Although your goals should be attainable it is also important to include a few stretch goals that have the ability to take you out of your comfort zone.

The template that I use for goal setting is outlined below:

Step 1 Brainstorm all your goals and objectives

  • Take a sheet of paper or use a journal and list all your goals and objectives. They could also include your dreams and desires in life.
  • Some people have suggested you list 100 goals for this step, but if you can’t get to 100 don’t worry
  • Once you have your list then prioritize and label each as follows: 1 = goals to be achieved in one year or less, 3 = goals that are two to three years out, 5 = goals that will take about five years to achieve, and 10 = your ten year goals and dreams.

 

Step 2 Focus on your One Year goals

  • Ensure your goals satisfy the SMART criteria and rewrite if required. For example, your goal may be to “lose weight”, however this does not satisfy all the SMART criteria as it is written. The goal should be written as – “Lose 5kg by 30 Jun 2010 through 30 min of exercise at least 4 days per week, coupled with a healthy eating diet”.
  • Group your goals under the following categories:
    • Financial/Material Goals
    • Business/Career Goals
    • Personal Relationship/Social Goals
    • Health & Recreational Goals
    • Personal Development & Growth Goals
  • Further prioritize your goals under each category. I usually have 4 – 5 goals for each category and I prioritize further by asking what are the more important goals that will have the biggest impact in my life

 

Step 3 Develop Action Plans for each goal

  • Write each goal at the top of a fresh page and develop the details of your plan.
  • Break down the plan into workable individual tasks. Assign a completion date for each task.
  • Some goals may require the assistance of other people. You will need to assign specific tasks to the individual people identified who can assist you with your plan.

 

Step 4 Repeat Steps 2 and 3 above for your 3, 5 and 10 year goals

  • Some of your longer term goals may be dreams or desires. You will need to convert these dreams and desires into specific and defined individual goals with timeframes. The individual goals together with their specific tasks and actions, collectively will achieve your overall dreams.
  • Long term goals require periodic review to ensure you are on track to achieving the outcomes that you have documented in your plan.
  • You may need to revise your plans if you discover that you are not progressing as originally planned.

 

Step 5 Take Action

  • You now have the winning combination of a goal with a plan.
  • Take action immediately with the highest priority goals.
  • Self-discipline and commitment will be needed to work on your goals and plans every day. Do something every day, no matter how small, to move towards achieving your goals.
  • Document your progress in a journal or diary and make any adjustments, if required.
  • Celebrate your success and achievements by rewarding yourself.

 

Enjoy!

Dr John Kapeleris

Did you like this? Share it: