Personal Productivity

Photo for Business Insights blog-Are You Procrastinating... Try Breaking It Down

Are You Procrastinating? Try Breaking It Down

There are many reasons we procrastinate. One of the main reasons is that the task at hand seems too overwhelming or difficult. It’s only a matter of getting started, but if a task seems too big and overwhelming, you don’t know where to start.

The way out of this situation is to break the task down into smaller pieces. This allows you to see that it’s a process and it shows you exactly where you need to start first.

Milestones and Deadlines

In every big task, there are many milestones and deadlines. These can be further broken down into tasks that are achievable daily. With most big tasks, these small milestones need to be done in a certain order. This makes it easy for you because you can see the individual steps. Try to identify milestones and deadlines within the big tasks you have to tackle, and then break the big tasks down.

Cut Smaller

What if you break down a big task into smaller ones and you still can’t get started? Again, you may be procrastinating because your small tasks aren’t small enough. This means you need to break them down further. You really can’t break down tasks too small. If a task is something that takes only a few minutes to do, you’ll find it much easier to avoid procrastinating and get it done.

A Few Minutes of Your Time

If you’re still having trouble getting started, try setting time limits. Even the biggest procrastinator on earth can take five minutes out of their day to work on a project. No matter how overwhelming or intimidating the project is, working on it for only five minutes is easy. It’s much easier to work on a large-scale project when there’s a time limit where you stop and work on other tasks.

Avoid Over-Planning

When you see how easy it is to break down big projects into small tasks, it’s tempting to create a detailed plan with all the steps involved and a timeline for getting it done. Creating a detailed plan may help, but it may also hurt. You need to be flexible because at the beginning of a project there’s no way to account for all the variables and things that may change along the way.

If you like to plan, make a detailed plan for the first few steps or tasks, and start working on those tasks. Plan for the next few tasks only as you move forward on the project. This gives you flexibility in case you need to make changes. Over-planning can be another form of procrastination!

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Setting Priorities Effectively – Proactive vs. Reactive Tasks

In his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey identifies two types of tasks – proactive and reactive. The difference between these types of tasks, he says, is crucial to how we set priorities. In order to run a business or organization smoothly, you need a mix of proactive and reactive tasks in your daily list of things to do.

Proactive Tasks

Proactive tasks are those that relate to the big picture. These are things that don’t bring immediate results but rather long-term benefits, such as seeking out business opportunities, offering to help a colleague, updating your website, or posting content for backlinks. These are tasks you do regardless of outside circumstances or pressures.

Reactive Tasks

Reactive tasks are regular or routine tasks that need to be done. They’re necessary for the smooth and efficient running of your business. They may be things you do for clients or customers. They don’t bring long-term results, but they get the routine work done.

To state it as simply as possible, proactive tasks are those you want to do. Reactive tasks are those that other people want you to do, or that your business requires you to do. Reactive tasks come from outside of you.

Why It Matters

The reason it’s important to consider proactive vs. reactive tasks is that both are needed. You need the long-term benefits proactive tasks bring as well as the reactive tasks’ daily running of your operations. But when we get busy, the proactive tasks often get forgotten, and then their long-term benefits disappear.

Unlike reactive tasks, there are no negative consequences to not completing proactive tasks (at least not now). If you don’t seek out any new business opportunities this week, you’re not going to have an angry client or any other immediate problems as a result. Proactive tasks are easy to procrastinate because they don’t feel urgent. They also require more critical thinking, which may make them challenging.

Getting It All Done

When we make prioritized lists, we often list items based on urgency or negative consequences. Tasks that are urgent or that will cause negative consequences if not done usually go at the top. But since proactive tasks don’t fit this category, they often get forgotten.

So, it’s important to identify which tasks are proactive and which are reactive, and to make sure the proactive tasks are in your daily to-do lists. No matter how urgent certain tasks are, make sure that you devote some time each day to things that bring you long-term results.

photo of priorities image for article-Why You Need to Set Priorities

Why You Need to Set Priorities

Setting priorities is extremely important in making any kind of progress in life. Unfortunately, not many people realize just how important it is. When you don’t set priorities, you are essentially running on autopilot, doing the first thing that comes to mind rather than the thing that needs to be done the most. It is well worth the time it takes to clarify, organize, and set priorities.

Get More Done

The main advantage of setting priorities effectively is that it helps you to be more productive. You’ll move more quickly to the goals in every area of your life, whether career, finance, business, family life, relationships, or creativity.

Keeping Balance

Setting priorities helps you to keep the various areas of your life in balance. If you don’t make family a priority, you may end up working all the time and neglecting that area. When you set priorities, you give each area of your life its due time and make sure you’re making progress in each area. When you set priorities, you can also make sure that you allot some time for leisure activities and hobbies, even when you’re busy with work or other obligations.

Limited Time

Setting priorities is essential in time management. We all have limited time in which to work, so choosing which tasks are the most important ensures that you get them all done and waste no time in doing them.

Your To-Do List

We all make to-do lists of things that need to be done today or soon. List making defeats its own purpose if you have a list of ‘should’ crowding out the ‘have-to’s’. If you know how to choose priorities well, you can organize this list so that the most important things get done. Your lists will be more effective.

Relief from Stress

Finally, setting priorities offers serious stress relief. It’s hard to juggle work, family, and all the other areas of your life. When you have many things to do, you feel swamped and out of control. Setting priorities helps you to take control. When you feel like you’re on top of things, your stress levels will be significantly reduced.

The difference between people who set priorities and those who don’t is that the former has more control over their lives. The latter set priorities unconsciously. Learning how to make lists, arrange your time, and see that you get things done helps you take conscious control over situations.


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