Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lazy or busy?

Do you sometimes find it hard to distinguish busyness from laziness? No. Well that's good. But I'm not sure I can be so certain. Let me explain.

Most of us experience the situation where the job we have to do expands to fit the time we have available. I'm a deadline sort of person and it takes enormous effort to discipline myself to do things before the deadline looms. The thing that helps me is knowing how inefficient working to a deadline can be. The pressure focuses the mind, but you make a lot of mistakes that you would normally catch if you had the time to review and rewrite what you've produced. My solution is usually to set an earlier dealing and even a series of mini-deadlines. To complete a course I was once doing, I set up deadlines for assignments in my diary that went from blue to green to red as they went from coming up to imminent to missed. The objective was to complete the assignment before it went red and if I managed it before it went green then I got a day off!

How does this help distinguish between being lazy and being busy? Well, when you work from home with only yourself to check your output, it's easy to assume either extreme is the case. Because there is always something to do, you think you are busy, but in fact you might just be avoiding things and lacking the discipline and motivation to organise yourself properly. Believe I know how that feels.

On the other hand, it's so easy to presume that you are being lazy because you aren't getting everything done, when the truth is that you simply have too many things to do and you're not focussing on anything for any length of time.

In my experience both of these things looks remarkably the same.

In the end I can't seem to get away from the need to practice good habits of self-disciple and honest reflection without self-recriminations. Learning to apologise to yourself and then getting on with what needs to be done is just part of the process.

Over the years I've had to learn how to work with my internal wiring without allowing it to become an excuse for failing to make changes that will help me achieve more. Asking good personal questions is important too. For example, ask yourself how you can do it more efficiently rather than why you are no good at being organised enough in the first place.

Now, talking of self-disciple and getting things done, I'm off to play tennis for a while and then it's back to sort out some paperwork that I've been avoiding, and do some coursework reading and preparation for the weekend. That and decorate the new house, refit the radiators, commission the heating system, choose floor coverings, go to the tip, get Anne's birthday present.....

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