Friday, 25 May 2012

6 Reasons for Not Getting Things Done

You probably procrastinate less than I do.  Not that I do it on purpose, far from it, I like to attack the day with vigour and get on with what needs doing.  It’s just that some things don’t get done.  Or they stay on my “guilt list” for too long.  And whilst there might be many reasons for why these things aren’t getting done, the bottom line is that either they should be on my “to do” list, or they shouldn’t.  If they should be there, but haven’t been done after a month or so, then I’m procrastinating. 

Identifying the problem often leads to a solution; or gets us some of the way.  So here’s my list of what stops us getting on with what needs doing:

1.     Fear.  We are complex creatures so fear includes fear of failure, fear of success, fear of trying but not succeeding, fear of doing it wrong, fear of making a mistake, fear or looking foolish, or fear of not doing it as well as someone else.  Plus lots more things we are frightened of, but hide away.    

2.     Too difficult.  We don’t have the knowledge, we haven’t thought about what needs doing, we haven’t broken the job into small enough tasks, or we haven’t consulted with people we need to consult with. 

3.     Conflicting priorities.  Real or imagined.  We have other more important, more interesting, or easier things to do.

4.     Need additional resources.  We may need advice, money, or something from someone to get the job done.

5.     Lack of urgency.  Important things are rarely urgent, and vice versa, which means the big, important things need extra attention to get done.

6.     Lack of perceived importance.  Tidiness, planning, communication, taking time off.  Many low-level activities don’t appear to be important and only show their value when something gets lost, or missed, or someone wasn’t consulted.
Of course this list isn’t exhaustive, nor is it necessarily real.  Or at least each and every item is real until you put it under the microscope and examine it for the paper dragon it is.

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