How to Mask Procrastination and Wasted Time

How to Mask Procrastination and Wasted Time

Habits are hard to break. Habits are hard to create. Any productivity book I have read that doesn't state those two points clearly goes in one ear and out the other. I liked Zen to Done because it's simplicity states that. Go ahead, give 450 rules and I might as well not start.

But even in simplicity, the complexity can be deceiving. Sometimes it takes rereading just to revisit the initial spark that set you off on the course.

Zen Handbook for Life comes in when I get to the habit breaking part of the issue. The habit I am currently trying to break is multitasking where it isn't useful. It was only a few months ago where that the single tasking chapter was the one I threw out. "I'm a multitasker and I'm not changing. Single tasking is a lazy man's load."

But now I see most of the time, focus is needed. I get no more work done multitasking. In fact, I get less actually finished. It masks the true issue, which is I can only do so much with the time I have.

But I still worry. I can't fight that sometimes. But I can go around it. I can make worry look at the numbers. I am using Cool Timer to limit my time on activities. I have two preset times: 10 minutes or 30 minutes. This is for the weekdays. Anything longer will have to wait for the weekend, where I will get one maybe two 4 hour blocks of time.

I set the timer before I start something. When it goes off, I have the choice of continuing on the same thing or choosing another way to spend the block of time. It force me to see time pass. Also it allows me to give focus to tasks I thought could just come along for the ride during other tasks. It ends up that that was just a way to hide procrastination on things that really needed attention.

Each morning of my workweek, I have an hour and a half to get what I need to get done. Only so many 10 or 30 minute chunks will go into that time period. The numbers are obvious. They aren't the blur you see when multitasking.

We are currently trying to teach a daughter to understand the value of money. I have yet to really understand the value of time. She has learned that food costs so much. This toy costs so much. So she knows that in order to get something, she has to save so long.

What I was doing with time was the direct opposite. By nickel and diming myself to death doing everything at once, I never understood the value in time projects had. While teaching our daughter to be a walking, talking Price is Right, I was wasting time. The cop out: I have a bad time estimating how long a project will take.

Did I know it was a cop out at the time? Nope.

Until right about the third paragraph, this post was under my lead. I was about to write out my new game plan. But what the hell, let it run free. You see where that gets me.

And sometimes it really sucks when I learn something as I write a post, because there it is. Don't have the time to write another post. I am not afraid of knowing I was an idiot. Or that you know. But now it's public record. Which brings us around to habits again. Many times, building a habit sometimes involves breaking another one. There is about 7 degrees separation between knowledge and action.

Stephan Miller

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Kansas City Software Engineer and Author

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