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Procrastinate on Purpose: The 5 Permissions of Creating More Time.


The 5 Permissions of Creating More Time

By Rory Vaden


"Priority Dilution has nothing to do with being lazy, apathetic or disengaged. But it is the same net result of classic procrastination in that we delay on our most important priorities by consciously or unconsciously allowing our attention to shift to less important but more urgent tasks." In one word a life of "Priority Dilution" is characterized as a constant state of interruption. In spite of working longer hours than ever before on less sleep than is anywhere close to healthy, many days come to a close with our most important priorities yet to be completed and our inbox nowhere near zero.

It is not enough to spout off platitudes about productivity. And it is unfair to make bold claims about "do less" or "only focus on what matters" without giving people a workable solution for what to do with the rest. We need a system that is robust enough to handle all of the diversity of tasks that we each come across, yet simple enough to remember and execute on a regular and repeatable basis.

Procrastinate on Purpose offers a 5-step framework that helps people effectively procrastinate on everything else so that only their priorities remain:

1. Eliminate: The widest swath of opportunity for immediate productivity improvement for most people is developing sharp clarity about what they should stop doing. From email spam, to over-volunteering, to spending time re-making decisions on yesterday's stuff there is a tremendous amount the average person can eliminate. The first questions we should be asking ourselves when any task comes into our environment is "is this even ever worth doing? If not, how can I eliminate it altogether?"

2. Automate: It is incredible what percentage of our inbox and our life is tasks or activities that have to be repeated on a regular basis. Paying bills, doing expense reports, and scheduling doctors' visits are some of the obvious ones but there are so many more. Some important questions to ask yourself are "is this a regular recurring task? If so how can we automate it to take care of itself?"

3. Delegate: If you were to add up the number of dollars an organization loses each year by paying highly skilled people to do tasks that someone else in the organization could complete for much less you'd be astounded! And yet that is what we do at the office and at home. We don't appropriately value our time and we don't realize that anything that wastes our time is a waste of our money. Learning to effectively delegate is one of the simplest yet most difficult skills for high performers to master. And if answering email, taking care of the house, or anything else seems like a full-time job, it probably is--which means you likely need an assistant (or several)! You absolutely must ask yourself on every single task "Does this task require my unique skillset? If not, how can I delegate this?"

4. Consolidate: Another of the most effective and simple strategies that really is easy to employ is learning the concept of "batching." It means to save like activities to complete at like times. The key elements here are "when is the best time to do this?" and "can this be grouped with other similar activities for a later time?"

5. Procrastinate: If your task has made it this far past the other filters then you know it is probably a task worth doing and it does require your unique skillset. Naturally the only remaining question, and perhaps the most important of all is "do I do it now or later?" In other words, "Should I Procrastinate on Purpose?" If the answer is "yes" then you decide to be undecided on what and when to do it and you consciously put it back into circulation to come up again at a natural later time. If the answer is "no" then what you have is truly a priority and it needs to happen now. A priority then, is anything that is protected from the possibility of distraction.

It is a sobering thought to consider that we may never truly be able to keep up with all there is to do because there has been no conceivable legitimate solution for managing it all--until now.

Rory Vaden is the founder of The Center for Self-Discipline (CSD) and as a "Self-Discipline Strategist," his book Take the Stairs is a #1 Wall Street Journal, #1 USA Today, and #2 New York Times bestseller. Rory is the world's thought-leader on modern day procrastination, called Priority Dilution[TM]--in fact, he coined the term. He speaks and consults on how to say no to the things that don't matter, and yes to the things that do. His insights have been featured on/in Fox News, Fast Company, Inc., Fortune, CNN, CBS Moneywatch and dozens of others. He is a regular contributor for American Express Open Forum, The Huffington Post, and The Tennessean. His weekly radio show, The Rory Vaden Show, is the only one of its kind specifically tailored for "movers and shakers in the world of business[TM]"; it's syndicated in 13 states across the U.S.
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Publication:SAM Advanced Management Journal
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jan 1, 2015
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