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Chapter 20. Get a Job—and Keep It > Keep Your Job - Pg. 214

Get a Job--and Keep It 214 To reduce the temptation to play computer games, don't keep them on your hard drive. If you have to take the extra step of putting in a game CD, you might be less inclined to waste time playing it. · Devise systems for getting things done more easily. Suppose that you have to bill clients peri- odically and that doing so is a hassle because you have to gather lots of random data related to prices, dates, and the like. To make yourself less likely to put off doing it, make it an easier task. Not only should you have a template for bills; you should also have a system for inputting the data little by little while working with the client, rather than having to gather it all at the last minute. Depending on the nature of your work and the types of tasks you procrastinate about, you can develop your own simple systems or use more sophisticated project management soft- ware. · Do your best to keep interruptions to a minimum, especially during times when you need to concentrate on a project. As you use these techniques, don't forget to use the Stop, Look, and Listen formula as well! (That formula was discussed in Chapter 12, "The Secret Formula to Overcoming Procrastination.") Write Like You Mean Business If writing is the task you put off at work, whether it's reports, memos, e-mails, proposals, or corre- spondence, many of the tips in Chapter 18 can get you past your blocks. In addition to trying those strategies, ask yourself these four questions: 1. Is it a writing style problem?When writing for business, many people feel that they have to be much more formal than they would be when writing something outside of work. That's why you see lots of business memos that sound something like, "It has come to our attention that, by unanimous consensus, the aforementioned documentation previously distributed was er- roneous in its declaration of the holiday time allocation ...," instead of saying, "Sorry for the inconvenience, but our offices will close at 4:00 P.M. on the Friday before Labor Day weekend, not at 3:00 P.M. as I had stated in yesterday's e-mail." If you get hung up writing because you're trying to be overly formal, try writing in plain English and see whether the words flow more easily. Action Tactic If your writing style leaves a lot to be desired, contact the Association of Professional Communication Consultants at or 918-743-4793 for expert advice and assistance. 2. 3. Is it an information problem?Writing on the job often involves gathering lots of information from various files, places, and people. So if you're at a loss for what to say next, don't assume that the problem is a lack of writing ability or a men-tal block against it. Make sure you have all the information you need. Is it a problem of organization?When you collected all the information needed for your report or other written communication, did you organize it well? Is it in clearly marked files or, at the very least, sorted into stacking trays? As you learned in Chapter 3, people often procrastinate on their jobs because their desks and other work areas are cluttered. If you can't find, or easily access, what you need to inform your writing, you'll probably end up putting off the task until later.