Comstock's magazine 0219 - February 2019 - Page 45

“Set good goals. Not just end goals, but incremental goals along the way.” — Sharyn Gardner, associate professor of management, Sacramento State bump them into the future and not feel a lick of guilt. “Decide to procrastinate on, outsource, delegate and eliminate those activities that don’t make much of a contribution to your life.” • Revisit your goals. “Eat That Frog!” says to ask ourselves: “Which one project or activity, if I did it in an excellent and timely fashion, would have the greatest positive consequences in my work or person- al life?” I hadn’t expected soul-searching on a project about time management, yet Tracy in- structs us to make quick lists (taking no more than 30 seconds) of our top-three business goals, family and relationship goals, financial goals, and so on. Initially skeptical, I did this, and then realized something startling: The pathway to these goals, in most cases, cuts through the very tasks that I’ve been putting off. That can’t be a coincidence. My No. 1 business goal — and the thing that would have the “greatest positive consequence” — is writing a new book. Yet I kept procrastinating, as it seemed overwhelming. I was anxious and lacked a hard deadline, loitering in the lobby of Urgent but Not Important. Shaking off my feelings of silliness, I boldly announced the goals to myself. I will write a new book. I thought about the underlying values: I chose to become a writer. This is important to me. Once I hugged these goals, and then incorporated the other strategies — small chunks, block time on the calendar, start sloppy, 30 minutes each morning — my mindset began to change. I choose to start the book. I choose to be a writer. That reframing can work in any job or any career. (For the VP dreading a budget review: I choose to lead this division. The budget is necessary for my division to thrive. I choose to work on the budget.) Armed with this new mind- set, on a recent weekend, I actually looked forward to Monday morning. The last time that happened, I was 8 years old and carried a GI Joe lunch box. Pychyl isn’t surprised by my change in think- ing. He sees procrastination as an issue more pro- found than to-do lists or productivity hacks. “I argue that procrastination is a deeply existential issue,” he says. “The one limited, nonrenewable re- source we have in our life is time. We can’t make more of it. To waste it is mind-boggling.” To think about procrastination is to think about how we spend our time, and to think about time is to ref lect on what we care about, and to do that is to remind us of the kind of person we want to be. On that note, I’ve got a book to write. n Jeff Wilser is the author of six books, and he’s now (finally) working on a new one. His writing has ap- peared in print or online in New York Magazine, GQ, TIME, Glamour, Esquire, Los Angeles Times, Chica- go Tribune and others. For more visit February 2019 | 45