Beat procrastination

Last week, my friend and study partner found out how terribly lazy and what a master procrastinator I can be. You’ve probably heard of writer’s block? I was stuck with a “study block”. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t focus and instead could see any other project needing immediate attention. I could see what I was doing and even wrote down a few notes as time passed.

2:02 pm: started reviewing… Felt hungry, looking for something to snack on… I didn’t really like these vegetable crisps, it’s been too long since I’ve eaten them last time…
… One more look at the news. There was a prominent event that influenced Dubai that day….
… Just 2 more games of Mah-jong. I lost the first one, so I had to play the second one…
2:39 pm: got a bit done… Time to look at the telly again and to take a break with a cup of tea. My tea is already cold and the smell of the chips is annoying me. Better put the bag in the bin. Oh, it’s getting really interesting on the TV now…
2:43 pm: only 4 minutes lost, not feeling too bad about it. Better continue…
…No, just one more game…
3:21 pm: finally working on my review again. Yeah!
3:31 pm: That’s done. Now let’s start the questions. Maybe I can play one quick game of Mah-jong….

Something that should have taken me about 20 minutes took 1 ½ hours. That’s 4.5 times the original time!! To beat procrastination and to gain your time back, try these tips:

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Hope is not a financial strategy

In a few days, I’m going to my home town and I cannot wait to see friends and family again. It will be fabulous to sleep in a bit and catch up with them. Despite my best efforts, I will also look after tedious banking affairs. “Hope is not a financial strategy”, as Suze Orman once fittingly said.

Your strategy may be adjusted over the years, reflecting your age, family and job circumstances. When you’re in your 20s, retirement may be far away and you may focus on paying off any student debt. Forward 30 years and planning for your retirement may have become your top financial priority.

What do you want to achieve in life? Or what do you want to get out of life? For some, it’s saving enough that they’ve achieved financial freedom. Others may want to make enough money to travel to foreign places. For others, it may be providing private education for their children. I realise that this is probably one of the hardest questions you’ll ever ask yourself. By defining (in writing) what you’re looking for, you’ll gain clarity.

One you know where you’re heading, ask yourself:

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Productivity tips from entrepreneurs

This weekend, I was meeting some ex-colleagues for a delicious and relaxing high tea. It was so lovely to see them again and, as usual, one of the first question we asked each other was how the other one was. “Busy!” This seems to be the answer these days. When was the last time you heard anyone answer with “Good, keeping well, thank you”? Who’s not a busy bee?

As our afternoon carried on and we left the superficial “How are you” question, it became apparent that “busy” had all kinds of meaning. One was introducing an automisation project at work, for others, it was relocating the offices, helping their children with their homework or researching the next holiday destination for the upcoming Eid weekend. Everyone had so many things to juggle every day.

The conversations left me thinking how we use the same 24 hours in a day. Like you, I know some folks who seem to be constantly chasing the activities on their to-do list, looking frazzled about what to do and completely stressed when not achieving as much as they’d like to. Then, there are others who seem to just breeze through their day, with hardly any signs of stress or panic.

What can you do to use your 24 hours in a day more wisely? Here are some tips from entrepreneurs for you:

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Eat your frog first – 10 tips to beat procrastination

Does this ever happen to you? There’s something lingering on your to-do list. No matter how often look at it, it’s still there. No matter how much you wish it away, it’s still there. It’s procrastination of its finest and it happens to all us.

Having to write that business report, ironing the shirts or deciding when to visit relatives may make you cringe. It’s easier to wait for another day, then tackle it. How many other things can you do than the one you should be doing? It happens to all of us. Yes, also to me. Rather than cleaning my stove top yesterday (it was already long overdue), I could find everything else to do. Calling a friend, doing the weekly shopping, watching TV, surfing the web, you name it. It’s procrastination of its finest.

What can you do to eat your frog first? Here are 10 tips to beat procrastination:

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Are you benefiting from a routine?

Anybody with children knows how important a routine is for them. Ignore their nap time and you’ll have a grouchy kid for the rest of the day. In the past, routines were ridiculed as taking the spontaneity or creativity out of something. These days, more and more people are recognising the benefits of routines.

The benefits have been widely described as:

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Time savers = Life savers?

Do you ever have the feeling that time just flies by? This happened to me this last weekend. It was a fun packed one. An organising job, meeting my friends, playing a decent round of golf and finally having purchased new bedroom curtains. Luckily, I didn’t have to do any of the boring or time consuming activities. I’m very grateful for having found some time saving shortcuts, making my life a lot easier. Here are some of my favourite time savers = life savers:

  • Automate your bills and savings. Set up a direct debit or standing order and have your mortgage/rent, utility, TV and phone bills paid directly. While you’re at it, create a regular transfer on pay day and put however much you can afford to into a savings account.

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Setting boundaries – How far do you let others go? (Part 2)

Last time, I’ve taken through the basics of determining and setting your boundaries. Here are some practical tips for setting boundaries in the office:

  • Do you need to do all these tasks? Often, you may be doing tasks for your colleagues or are working on tasks that can be cancelled or delayed. Start pushing back and don’t take on more favours. Ask whether another 1-hour-long meeting is really necessary or whether a phone call won’t suffice. If your team is already above capacity, does this new project need to be implemented now or can it be postponed by 4 months?

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Setting boundaries – How far do you let others go? (Part 1)

Everybody is talking about work-life balance. Like there’s an equal balance between the two. But how easy is it to set boundaries and actually live them?

Working in the Middle East, where the work week is Sunday to Thursday, I’ve often worked on Fridays, too. It was frustrating and took a toll on my family life. Until I’ve set up limits and started living by them. What a difference they’ve made to my life!

How can you improve your life by setting boundaries?

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Own the Weekend!

The weekend is barely over and I’m already writing about the next weekend. Am I nuts? No, though some of my friends may question it at times. Rather than waiting for Thursday night, then debating how to spend the weekend and wasting valuable time, start thinking about it now. To me, it’s also a great motivator which carries me through the week. Are you also looking forward to some of your weekend activities?

When’s that opening of the long awaited restaurant again? Is there an artisan market which you meant to visit for weeks going on? What about this nagging home improvement list that you’ve been putting off? Do you need to complete a proposal for your business?

Follow these easy steps and you’re ready to own the weekend:

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Just where to start

“Oh, I’ll need to make this one call.” or “Let me just wash the dishes and I’ll start.” These were some of my excuses when it came to writing this post. For some reason or another, I didn’t seem to find the right start and postponed and postponed and postponed writing.

For many of my clients, the thought of getting organised is overwhelming. How many times have I heard them say: “I just don’t know where to start.” Starting is actually easier than you think:

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