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Chapter 12. Time Management > What You Will Learn in this Chapter - Pg. 122

122 Chapter 12. Time Management What You Will Learn in this Chapter To explain how procrastination increases your stress level. To follow the six steps for combating procrastination. To lower your stress level through effective management of time. To describe Covey's system for managing your time, including the role of importance and ur- gency. · To use Covey's system to lower stress and heighten your effectiveness. · To write your own personal mission statement for facilitating short- and long-term decision mak- ing and coping with stress. Maintaining faulty assumptions is not the only factor creating stress on the job. Sometimes we create stress for ourselves as a result of procrastination. If you are one of the rare individuals who is very self-disciplined and motivated, tackling all duties in a timely fashion no matter how hard, aversive, or overwhelming, then we applaud you. But if you are like the rest of us, you may at times add to your stress by putting things off. And for some people procrastination is a chronic problem that feeds on itself. Another common source of on-the-job stress is deadlines and time pressures. Continual fight-or- flight activation can be triggered by constant time demands. Study the following tips, suggestions, and guidelines for handling these contributing factors. · · · · Procrastination "Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow." That is the motto of the procrastinator. We all procrastinate to one degree or another. It becomes a major problem in your work life when important tasks or responsibilities are left undone or are completed in a slipshod manner because inadequate time was left to complete the task properly. Procrastination lowers anxiety in the short run due to the relief we feel from task avoidance. But it greatly increases our stress in the long run as tasks pile up or time runs short. The main and most direct cause for procrastination is low frustration tolerance (Ellis & Knaus, 1977). You need to accept the fact that to receive future rewards, you often need to undertake present discomfort. Low frustration tolerance is based on the irrational notion that present pain or discomfort is "too hard to bear." This belief that you cannot stand present pain for future gain invites and prac- tically commands you to continue your delay tactics. This can be a very debilitating cycle. Again, everything hinges upon what you tell yourself about the onerous task. To overcome a ten- dency to procrastinate, you need to begin by learning to identify your irrational thoughts (Ellis & Knaus, 1977) and then replacing them with thoughts that promote productivity. If your frustration tolerance is adequate, you will take the temporary discomfort in stride and conclude that, indeed, the task may be aversive, boring, or anxiety-provoking, but so what? Where was it decreed that you