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Motovational Tips For Procrastinators

Motovational Tips For Procrastinators

Procrastination is a problem for millions of people. Whether you are putting off doing some work that you do not enjoy or staring at that pile of laundry that just continues to grow, there are ways for you to break out of procrastination mode and into action. Here are some motivational tips for procrastinators that will set you on the path to productivity.

Make a List

It’s a simple idea, but making a list will help you increase your productivity. Famed speaker and personal development pioneer Zig Ziglar once said, “Goals enable you to do more for yourself and others, too.” When you think about it, that’s all a list is: the goals you want to accomplish in a given period of time. If you feel like you always make lists but never complete them, then try making a list of the simplest things you do every day. Have you taken your morning shower? Cross it off the list. Did you brush your teeth? Good. Check that one off, too. Seeing that you have completed even the smallest, most routine activities will give you a feeling of accomplishment and set you up for further success with more difficult tasks.

Don’t Allow Yourself to Put Off Daily Lists

Once you have mastered the art of making lists, the next challenge is regularly completing them. We all know that unexpected demands on our time tend to pop up at the worst possible moments. Staying current with your daily to-do list will help you be better prepared to handled such situations. If you suddenly find out at the last minute that your boss has requested a meeting with you that is expected to consume the entire last hour of the work day, you will be much less stressed if all of your daily reports have already been completed and filed. Walking into an end-of-day meeting with the manager is much easier to do when you know you don’t have to rush back to your desk and finish the rest of your work before you leave.

Devise a Realistic Plan

One reason that some procrastinators are not productive is that they tend to overwhelm themselves with ambitious plans that immediately set them up for failure.[1] Establishing a course of action is important when you are trying to get more done, but it is critical that you be honest with yourself about what you will be able to accomplish. You can definitely paint the family room, wash the car, do all the laundry, and make your daughter’s Halloween costume. You just can’t do all of that in one day. It is understandable that you might feel guilty for having let so many chores remain undone, but you will get more completed in the long run by giving yourself permission to take things one step at a time.

Make the Clock Your Friend

People tend to think that productivity only occurs when someone spends long hours on competing a chore, but small spurts of accomplishment can lead to great success. If you are struggling with procrastination, try setting a timer for a small amount of time such as 15 minutes. Spend that 15 minutes focusing on completing one task or even a few very small ones. Doing this will almost make being productive fun. It’s like a game for yourself. After you have completed one of these 15-minute sprints, you very likely will want to challenge yourself to see if you can do more the next time. You may even try reducing the amount of time to really see what you can do. Not only does this help you be more productive overall, it can give you that same sense of accomplishment you felt when showered and brushed your teeth earlier.

Figure Out Why You Tend to Procrastinate

It is easy to say that procrastination stems from pure laziness. While that may be true for some people, it is not uncommon for a lack of productivity to be a symptom of a much deeper issue. What if I try to accomplish a goal but don’t quite make it? What will everyone think? How will I pick up the pieces and try again after such a setback? These are all questions that people tend to ask when they are talking themselves out of doing something. Some believe that this fear of failure is rooted in the ancient parts of our brain. The instinct that kept our prehistoric ancestors from taking dangerous risks and therefore kept them alive is the same one than tends to hold us back from trying things that may not work. If you are saddled with a fear of failure, it is critical that you recognize it, acknowledge it, and take steps to defeat it. As pioneering businessman, Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”[2]

The reasons that people procrastinate are varied, and there is surely no shortage of things to avoid doing. But there are ways to combat procrastination and move forward. If you find yourself lacking motivation or simply do not know where to start, try some of these tips and remember to congratulate yourself for all of your accomplishments.

Featured photo credit: Sander Smeekes via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How Systems Thinking Makes You a Smarter Person

How Systems Thinking Makes You a Smarter Person

There are several perspectives on the term systems thinking. The discipline goes beyond a collection of tools and techniques. A lot of individuals are fascinated by tools like brainstorming tools, structural thinking tools, dynamic thinking tools, as well as computer-based tools. They believe the system thinking tools can make them smarter and productive. However, it goes beyond that as systems thinking is more strategic and sensitive to the environment we find ourselves.

So what is systems thinking and why is it good for you?

What Is Systems Thinking?

Systems thinking is a diagnostic tool that can help you to assess problems before taking action. It helps you to ask questions before arriving at conclusions. It prevents you from making an assumption, which is the lowest level of knowledge.

A systems thinker is curious, compassionate, and courageous. The systems thinking approach incorporates the act of seeing the big picture instead of seeing in parts. It recognizes that we are connected, and there are diverse ways to solve a problem.

Characteristics of Systems Thinking

Systems thinking can help you in analyzing the connections between subsystems and understanding their potentials to make smarter decisions.

In a soccer team, the elements are the coach, players, the field, and a ball. The interrelationships are strategies, communications among players, and game rules. The goal is to win, have fun and exercise. We all belong to several systems and subsystems.

Some characteristics of systems thinking include:

  • Issue is important
  • The issue is familiar with well-known patterns
  • Attempts have been made to resolve the issue.

Given these characteristics, systems thinking goes beyond an operational tool; it is a strategic approach and a philosophy.

How to Use Systems Thinking

Here’re 3 ways you can use systems thinking:

1. Understand How the System Works and Use Feedback Points

The first task is to know what system is all about and identify the leverage points or feedbacks that influence its functioning. This is what will help in adjusting the system.

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If you want the system to be productive, enhance the feedback points. If you want it to be less productive, exhaust the same points.

A good example is that of a bathtub. The leverage points are the faucet and the drain. If you forget to close the drain, having turned on the water, the water will never stop flowing, and the tub will never overflow.

If you want more water, close the drain while you turn the water. If otherwise, turn the faucet off and open the drain. You can apply this to your personal development.

Once you discover the feedback points in your life, find your leverage or feedback points, then enhance those points. If you want to be fit, get a trainer, find a mentor, or eat healthy foods.

2. Discover the Patterns, Structure, and Events

Trends and patterns could be compared to clues for a crossword puzzle. As you aspire to enhance the system, trends and patterns offer you hints and cause to shift your paradigm. Usually, they can direct you to unusual and unexpected aspects, to ideas, people, or places you have never thought about.

Smart people watch out for trends and patterns so they can be conversant with changes.

You can view the world from 3 different perspectives:

i. The Event Perspective

If you consider the world from an event perspective, the best you can do is to be smarter is ‘react’. You tend to be smarter by reacting quickly, becoming more lighter on your feet, and flexible as you advance through life.

So how do you view the world from an event perspective? You ask a question like, ‘What happened?’.

There is the possibility of becoming more aware and seeing more at this level. An excellent technique to achieve this is by telling a story to a group. If you can see beyond each event, see beyond patterns and trends, you will be empowered to anticipate, predict, and plan.

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ii. Pattern Perspective

To view the world from a pattern perspective, you need to ask, ‘What has been happening?’

It is most times difficult to see the actual size of an iceberg (underlying structures that are the causes of events). The waterline dissects what’s visible from what’s not visible.

A systems thinker does not assume from what’s visible only; he or she seeks to know what has been happening.

Take a look at this video to understand more about the Iceberg Theory:

 

iii. The Structure Perspective

To view the world from a structure perspective, you need to ask, ‘what is causing issues?’ The answers will be the factors and forces responsible.

If you find yourself in a traffic jam, you don’t blame the next driver as a smart person; you could ask, ‘what’s been causing the traffic jam?

The usual answers could be a decaying road surface, careless driver, or high speed, but that would be the same things identified as trends. What makes the structure perspective different from others.

The structure is what propels your energy. It is what affects happenings. A systems thinkers make deductions based on internal structures to arrive at a conclusion

3. People Problems vs System Problems

Several issues ranging from security breaches, product flaws, poverty, to transportation inefficiencies are systemic.

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Even when you misbehave, there is usually an internal system to blame.

If you are not productive in your business, it may not be caused by you. There may be a system that you need to enhance.

Do you remember our feedback points? As soon as you assess the system, you can focus on people. Is a new hire causing lag in the packaging process? Is poor communication affecting the team’s performance? Reallocating job roles may be a perfect leverage point.

In the traffic jam example, there could be a system-based solution such as installing traffic lights and subsequently enforcing traffic laws in the area to penalize reckless drivers.

How to Foster Learning with Systems Thinking

Systems thinking helps you to appreciate the interrelationships of people, organizations, policies, decisions, ideas, and relationships.

Peter M Senge propounded five disciplines that foster learning in your DNA- whether you are leading an organization, starting a venture, or working as a freelancer.[1]

1. Gain Mastery

You can take online courses, attend conferences, read blog articles and books, listen to podcasts, converse with leaders within and beyond your industry, watch documentaries, learn from your team, and stretch yourself by improving your skills.

2. Discover Your Assumptions and Biases

There was this parable of four blind men who made different assumptions about an elephant. Their assumptions and biases hinder them from understanding how the animal looks like.

Biases can rob you of innovation and prevent you from experiencing personal growth. To become aware of your biases, you have to take an internal trip and engage breakthrough thinking.

3. Establish Your Vision

Systems grind to a halt when the goal or mission is not defined. You will not have the motivation to complete the online course if you don’t know why you subscribe in the first place.

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Is it for career advancement? To up your game or to gain general knowledge? Vision inspires you.

4. Learn in Groups

There is power in shared learning. There is a solidification of understanding when you learn in a group. You can have the lessons etched in your long term memory.

For instance, you can join learning groups where information is shared weekly.

5. Think in Systems

Systems thinking is about lifelong learning and improvement. It has also been linked to the Iceberg principle, which affirms that visible events are insignificant compared to what’s visible. There’s more ice below the waterline than what you can see with your physical eyes.

Anytime you are battling with a challenge, think in systems. Understand the details of the issue. Discover your leverage points. Assess, adapt, and keep improving your models.

After all. If you meet a lion in the wild, you need to understand what you are facing.

Final Thoughts

You can foster systems thinking by modeling your own environment. Participate in training, watch TED Talks, and create time to connect with others.

Also, practice critical thinking instead of making assumptions before you make a decision. The more you think systems, the more you will become smarter and productive in every aspect of your life.

More to Help You Think Smarter

Featured photo credit: Olav Ahrens Røtne via unsplash.com

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