Monday, March 17, 2008

I have no initiative

no, I'm not being self-critical. it's true. Taking initiative and having ideas of how I can do things better does not come naturally. By nature, I will do things the way I have always been doing them until the day I die. I will not change and I will not start something new until it becomes the easy thing to do.

I've learned recently that if a task must be done, if I impose a deadline on myself I am much more likely to do it. This does not mean i turn into Superman and do my work twice as fast as before. But if I pick a reasonable time period in which to do x, y or z and tell someone I will do it by that time, chances are high that I will get it done because someone else expects it to be finished by then.

For example, at work I've been tooling around with a spreadsheet for a week and a half now. Every so often my supervisor would ask me how it was going. I'd say, Not bad, about halfway there, or Yep, it's on my list to work on after lunch, and usually I'd mess with it for a few minutes that day. But it didn't get done. Then finally I said to my boss, "How about we sit down and go over that spreadsheet the day after tomorrow at 9:30?" I put it on her calendar and THEN it moved up on my priority list. Once I actually started to focus on that spreadsheet, I realized that the way I was setting it up was silly and needlessly complicated. I deleted a whole section of the project and was finished earlier than I thought I would be.

By placing external pressure on myself, I was able to condense my work and ultimately produce a better result. Now that I know that doing this...method, shall we effective at work for projects I'm not super-excited about, I'm going to start using it in other places in my life where my interest level is low (such as the oil change i'm due for or the pile of clothing i need to mend) and see how it works. Hopefully this will help me become a more productive person who is NOT constantly fighting guilt over pesky little jobs, but rather tackling them because I know how simple they really are.


Anonymous said...

I find that it is almost literally impossible for me to get anything done other than the routine such as showering and loading the dishwasher unless I have a deadline. It seems that as a procrastinator, I am immobilized unless I have a looming deadline that threatens to crush me.

Anonymous said...

I think it goes along with the theory that if you don't have goals you will go through life without accomplishing a lot of things that you are capable of. Maybe deadline is another word for goals we don't care so much about. That sounds dumb but maybe you know what I mean. M