The first step in beating procrastination is to admit to yourself how often you do it and assessing your methods of doing it. Not very difficult, really, when you become aware of the tactics some of us use to hide from ourselves what we are doing. The key in overcoming procrastination and becoming more efficient is organization.

Plan ahead. Know what you want to accomplish today, this week, and in the long haul.

Make lists. The lists for today will probably be more detailed than the longer-term lists. That’s OK. Now look over the lists and rank the tasks in order of importance. Make three or four groupings based on importance. Within each group, star the things you least like to do. Each day you will have a “today” list to work on.

Tackle the tasks that are most important first. If you have several “most important” tasks on your list, take on the least liked things in that grouping before you do the better liked ones. When you have accomplished a task, check it off. You’ll be surprised what a good feeling you have when you check things off. What a sense of accomplishment! It’s an incentive to do the next task on the list. When you have completed the tasks in the first grouping, begin on the list of next importance. Again do the starred items in that group first.

Keep on checking things off as you get them done. Do you see what is happening? You get the most pressing, least liked tasks out of the way early in the day when you are fresh and rested. As the day goes on you will feel less and less pressure. You have reserved the less important tasks for the end of the day when you will be more tired. With this system you will have not only increased your efficiency but also reduced some of the stress in your day.

Stress can get in the way of efficiency. Your new efficiency will help you develop your potential. It is, in fact, a part of living up to your potential. Another important part of efficiency is in delegating work. If you are in a position where you have assistants or designated people under your supervision, you need to learn to delegate. If you are not in such a position yet, you still need to know – since you’re working on developing your potential you very likely will be some day.

Delegating work is difficult for many people. Some find it hard to ask others to do things for them – others find it hard not to demand that others do tasks. Delegating is an art. First, you need to realize that the people under your supervision are PEOPLE. Seldom, if ever, should you demand – that takes away self respect. In order to achieve a happy and co-operative crew, you need to help them build self-respect and self-confidence.

A happy and co-operative crew is an asset to you. Demands do not promote self-respect and co-operation. Oh, it’s probably effective to demand in the short run – but in the long run you will be better off to gain co-operation without demanding. People who are asked to do a task, are given explanations and clear instructions, and are praised for a job well done will grow in self-respect. They will also respect you as a good supervisor. If you hesitate to ask for their assistance, your crew will feel that you do not trust them or have faith in their abilities. This affects their self-respect and, as a reaction, will affect their respect for you, as well. When you delegate work, don’t delegate just the “junk” tasks.

Your crew needs to be given some important tasks to do as well as unimportant ones. The important task gives them a sense of the respect you have for them and the faith you have in their abilities. It’s a good idea to save some “junk” tasks for yourself. Perhaps the most respected and effective boss is the one about whom the crew says, “She never gives us anything to do that she wouldn’t do herself.” Why? Because, by her actions the boss is saying that, though her position is above theirs, she is still just “plain people.”

Delegation of tasks is important because you can gain in effectiveness and get more done if you properly supervise a crew. Don’t feel embarrassed or hesitant about delegating work. If it helps you to shine, it helps your crew shine, too. A well-run, effective department is a credit to the whole team. With proper delegating, you can help your crew achieve their potential as well as achieving your own. All of us have untapped potential – perhaps even areas of genius – that we have neglected to develop.

Whether your concept of success has to do with business, love, friendship, sports, a combination of these or something else, more fully developing your potential will help you achieve your goals. If you can learn to assess your potential, set realistic goals, and go after those goals with determination, organization, and purpose, you will use your potential more fully, gain confidence, and be a happier and more successful person.