Website Design, Strategy, Social Networking, SEO, Susan Pomeroy, Ph.D.

Do You Really Need More Time-Management Techniques, or Are You Just Bored?

by Susan Pomeroy

Time management and procrastination

I’ve tried them all. Time-management techniques like setting a goal and an intention for the day. Budgeting time by day or by week. Making appointments with myself. Relying on last-minute-itis. Calendars. Reminders. Tickler files. And on and on. None of them work for longer than a few weeks at most. And now I know why. I’m not enjoying what I do.

I’ve got a huge project going on right now. It’s for a client I adore, who is doing something worthwhile in the world, and pays well. And yet each day I spend more time “working up to working” than I do on the actual nuts and bolts of the project. And why? Because it’s boring. Excruciatingly, mind-numbingly, boring.

Here’s the chain of foolishness that ensues: my biggest-paying gig right now is boring. I procrastinate doing it. Yet all the while I feel so much pressure—gotta get it done—that nothing much else gets done either because “I don’t have time.”

So my books aren’t balanced, my letters not sent, other projects getting dangerously deferred, my office a mess… and this project’s not moving ahead very fast either. AND I’m stressed. And feeling crummy and ashamed. And reading news/writing blogs/playing games to try to get back in the groove, or get “warmed up.” But not taking time truly off, either, to exercise, rest, work in the garden, visit with friends.

And the problem? It’s not news addiction, or game addiction, or procrastination. It’s that I felt trapped into doing a job I don’t enjoy. And now, I’ve simply lost the muscles I used to have that allowed me to force myself to do things anyway.

These muscles worked for years. Years of working in offices. Years of school, and graduate school (you can’t get a doctorate without having a pretty strong “do it anyway” muscle). And now? Nothing, zero, nada. Total flab.

I don’t know why this ability is failing me now. But I do know that the answer isn’t to force myself harder. Or find the latest time-management technique or trick. It’s to revamp my work schedule so that I’m doing more of what I enjoy, and less of what I hate. Will I ever be a person with a pristinely cleared desk and all the items on my to-do list ticked off? Nope! But the goal is to be functional, not perfect. And that I can manage, if I like most of what I do.

How about you. Is it really time management we need, or is it choice management?

Note. I wrote the first draft for this post over a year ago. Since then, I’ve made choices that bring me a lot more satisfaction in my work. Do I still procrastinate? Sometimes, but not often. And I’m not bored! How about you? Are you bored? How do you handle procrastination?

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Rob Record

This post is great! It reminds me of my situation pretty much exactly. I was thinking perhaps more strategy wasn’t the answer.. and you hit it on the head. I think I need to be doing more of the things I enjoy and less of what I don’t.

It’s important to get the root of a problem rather than fixing the symptoms – and this is it. I think it might be a common cause for most procrastinators.

Thankyou!! 🙂

Janet Bailey

“Is it really time management we need, or is it choice management?” I’d say mood management. Flushing out and managing the self-talk. Which makes choice management easier.

Excellent post. I hate it when a task is so odious that even strategic procrastination seems impossible (not only do you put off the task, you also don’t get any pleasure/ progress from whatever you’re doing instead). Congratulations on arranging your life so that you’re doing more of what you enjoy!

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