Personal productivity goes down the tubes when we procrastinate. How do we stay productive and keep on-task when distractions seem so enticing?
Let’s be clear: Our small business consultants are not talking about taking breaks or vacations. Procrastination is the ultimate anti-productivity disease. Instead of setting and meeting objectives, we work hard at finding ways not to get things done.
An article in Real Simple magazine offers a few helpful tips:
Do the Worst Thing First – Attack the hardest task when your energy is fresh and you give yourself the strongest chance of success. Doing otherwise can have a damaging domino effect.
Make the Job Smaller – Instead of being disheartened by how much you can’t do, look at how much you can. If you have 12 boxes of clutter to sort, do only one.
Create an Audience – It’s easy to blow things off when your commitment to yourself is the only thing at stake.
Start Your Day Over at 2 P.M. – “At 2 p.m. every day, assess how much you’ve accomplished, remind yourself of what’s critical, and alter your plan so you can tackle the most important thing,” says Wisnik. In other words, grant yourself a second morning in the middle of the day (complete with your caffeinated beverage of choice). And if there’s a new project that has become high priority, you still have the time and the energy to start it at 2 p.m. instead of feeling burnt out and procrastinating on that project until there’s no time to complete it.
Race the Clock – Having trouble even beginning a burdensome project? Try the old trick of setting a timer for 10 minutes. Work in a focused, perhaps even frantic manner for that short stretch, and watch what happens. “Anyone can do 10 measly minutes,” says Debbie Mandel, a stress-management specialist in New York City
Don’t Interrupt Yourself – If you get pulled away from tasks by every ding, whistle, and ring on your digital devices, well, you’re like most of us. But keep in mind that other people aren’t interrupting you; you are interrupting yourself.
These are great suggestions. But it’s important to keep at the forefront of our minds that the opposite of action is not always inaction. Sometimes, we get so obsessed with ‘done’ that our productivity growth suffers due to working on the wrong things. Personal productivity requires not just completing tasks, but being productive on tasks that actually matter. The way to meet objectives is to set productive objectives in the first place!
Highly productive organizations are filled with highly productive people. That doesn’t mean that these employees don’t have any fun, but that they make a concerted effort to stay on target. The true definition of productivity is setting goals and then working to meet those goals. Understanding the business process methodology by which we succeed is what matters. That’s how productivity can kick out procrastination. Try it and see what you can accomplish!
Remember, if you’re feeling an occasional lack of productivity, then you may be able to find tips that can help snap you out of that lull. But if you’re consistently struggling with your productivity, then there’s probably an objective or workflow issue in place. Re-evaluate your methodology and you may be able to find out what is going wrong. Until you access the problem, you won’t have any way to find a permanent solution.
Looking for more ways to bring a higher level of productivity to your organization? Need clarification on anything we’ve discussed in this post? Don’t hesitate to reach out to the business improvement consultants at AccelaWork today! We’d love to help!