Procrastination is not an uncommon word, so chances are you’ve heard (and perhaps know from personal experience) all about its effects on productivity. But, did you know there is a different level to procrastination called self-sabotaging?
When one procrastinates, projects are put off, tasks are delayed, goals are redefined and readjusted. But, when we self-sabotage, we not only procrastinate, but we do so in a way that places blame anywhere else but on ourselves. On the Across The Board blog, Lauren Moon gives the skinny on what exactly self-sabotaging looks like. Her first goal with the post—define what it is:
The concept of self sabotage, or self-handicapping, is a term used for those times when you perform an action that intentionally impedes your progress. Put simply, self-sabotage is when part of your personality acts in conflict with another part of your personality.
After reading this definition, it’s quite easy to see how certain activities can be dangerous to our productivity. In fact, so many of these self-sabotaging outlets can blend into our lives so easily that half the time we don’t even recognize we’re utilizing them! If you’re wondering what they look like, consider these innocent impediments that The Methodology Blog has talked about on numerous occasions:
- 1. Clutter in your brain
2. Impulsive web browsing
3. Ineffective use of Social Media
4. The Snooze Button
5. Immediate gratification
The short list above is just a small sampling of those self-sabotaging actions that can immediately become our scapegoat when loss of productivity comes to the forefront of our attention. Moon relays to her readers just how easy it is to place blame:
… when you do something directly in opposition to what you’re supposed to be doing, you have given yourself an external element with which to lay blame. Instead of blaming yourself for any “failure” you may incur, you now have another outlet, or excuse, for why something didn’t get done.
Long term effects of self-sabotaging
If we find ourselves self-sabotaging here and there, perhaps its effects won’t be astronomical on the overall state of our productivity. However, the difficult part is recognizing when self-sabotaging is more than just an occasional indulgence. After all, given some of the examples above, it’s easy to see how little routine changes and behaviors can morph into bigger problems as the aftermath unfolds. Problems that can develop from self-sabotaging could be things like lower quality of work, stress and an inability to focus. But continual self-sabotage can lead to even deeper issues like low self-esteem, loss of motivation, loss of trust and accountability, or even job loss.
In truth, allowing distractions to dictate what you do and don’t do can end up spiraling out of control. One small self-sabotage leads to two, to a dozen, to far more than you’d like to admit or even recognize. In her post, Moon highlights how this domino effect can wreak havoc on personal productivity:
With every failed attempt, you are effectively “proving” to yourself that you are incapable of accomplishing the task. This type of behavior can have long term effects on your productivity.
How To Stop Self-Sabotage
From the blog post, below are five tips she suggests in helping with overcoming self-sabotage.
1. The Pomodoro Technique is a method of intense focus for 25 minutes at a time.
2. Change your environment: Countless studies have shown that there are subtle ways in which your surroundings are affecting your ability to focus.
3. Document Highs and Lows. Take time to discover your most productive times of day. Get to know your habits and schedule.
4. The two-minute rule. If a task takes less than two minutes to accomplish, you should do it immediately.
5. Turn off notifications and limit browser tabs.
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