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The “What’s Up Doc?” Way of Getting Productive

The “What’s Up Doc?” Way of Getting Productive

    Have you seen me around?

    I’ve been all over the blogosphere lately – name your authority blog, and I’ve probably been on it; Copyblogger, Problogger, Think Traffic, Freelance Switch, DIY Themes, KISSmetrics, and about a dozen others, all in the last few weeks.

    (Some people have taken to calling me the “Freddy Krueger of Blogging” because wherever you turn, I’m there!) ;) And that’s on top of a major product launch on my own blog, my regular consulting work… and oh, yeah, planning my wedding, which is in just a few weeks.

    So yes, I’ve been busy. People are asking me how I find the time to get it all done – have I given up sleep? Do I have clones out there doing work on my behalf?

    Of course, the answer is no – but I do have a productivity secret that I learned from a cartoon character…

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    When it’s Okay to Run Off a Cliff

    The cartoon in question, of course, is Bugs Bunny. But what does he have to do with running off a cliff? (And what does that have to do with productivity?)

    The answer is that when you’re a cartoon, running off a cliff is perfectly okay – it only becomes dangerous when you look down.

    This bit of cartoon comedy comes packed with an extra-large helping of wisdom and life lessons, if you know where to look. And yes – those life lessons are all about productivity and achievement.

    What You Get is What You See

    Most of us work under the assumption that what we get is what we see. In other words, stuff is out there, and that stuff dictates our reality:

    STUFF IS OUT THERE -> THAT’S OUR REALITY

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    But the cartoon world works a little bit differently; yes, lots of stuff is out there, but only the stuff that the cartoon is aware of is part of its reality:

    STUFF IS OUT THERE -> YOU FOCUS ON SOME OF IT -> THAT’S THE REALITY

    As long as the cartoon is focusing on where they’re going, and isn’t worrying about all the obstructing details along the way, they can keep moving towards their goal.

    The funny thing is that the cartoons have got it right; the life lesson is in the fact that things work the same way for us that they do for them – our reality is determined by the things that we focus on, and allow in to our sphere of attention.

    The cartoons can all run off cliffs, because they focus on where they’re going, instead of the huge drop below them. But the cartoons all make the same mistake: they look down.

    You Don’t Have To Look Down!

    We all have that lingering temptation to look down.

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    You know what I’m talking about – the little voices urging us to think about all the things that could go wrong, why you won’t be able to achieve your goals, and why you aren’t ready for this challenge.

    Sooner or later, most people listen to those voices, and start doubting whether they can really achieve what they’re trying to achieve.

    And then we start slowing down, and losing momentum.

    Before you know it, we’re standing still in mid-air, looking down at the drop below.

    And then we fall. And boy, do we ever fall!

    But it doesn’t have to be this way. The whole process can be avoided by not looking down!

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    Don’t Bury Your Head In the Sand, Either!

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m not suggesting that you bury your head in the sand like an ostrich, and just ignore everything that comes your way.

    When the voices start whispering that you’re biting off more than you can chew, and this or that obstacle will stop you dead in its tracks, you really should give them a little bit of attention – hear them out, and ask yourself whether this new obstacle require an adjustment to your plans?

    If the answer is yes, then adjust as needed.

    If the answer is no, then keep on going.

    But either way, once you’ve heard them out and adjusted your plans if needed, tell them to shut up, and get back to work!

    It may sound simple, but that’s the whole secret behind my guest posting, marketing training program, wedding planning, upcoming books, and everything else I’m doing.

    I don’t listen to the voices, and I don’t look down – and the results speak for themselves!

    Hat tip to Jk Allen and Stuart Mills, who inspired this post!

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    Last Updated on August 6, 2019

    Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes And How To Tackle Them

    Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes And How To Tackle Them

    Procrastination is something many people can relate to and I, myself, have been there and done that. Yes, I write all about productivity now, but when I first started out on my career path, I would often put off work I didn’t want to do. And most of the time I didn’t even realize I was doing it.

    So what changed?

    I thought to myself, “why do I procrastinate?” And I started to read a lot of books on productivity, learning a great deal and shifting my mind to the reasons why people procrastinate.

    My understanding brought me a new perspective on how to put an end to the action of procrastination.

    Procrastination slows your goals and dreams way down. It can create stress and feelings of frustration. It rears its ugly head on a regular basis for a lot of people. This is particularly apparent at work with day-to-day projects and tasks.

    But, why do people self-sabotage in this way? Essentially, there are 5 reasons behind procrastination. See if you can identify with any of these in your own work life.

    1. The Perfectionist’s Fear

    Procrastination is sometimes a subconscious fear of failure.

    If you put off a task enough, then you can’t face up to the potential (and usually imagined) negative results. If you’re a stickler for minor details, the stress of getting things ‘just right’ may be too much and cause you to delay continuing the task.

    Either way, fear is at the root cause and can sabotage your desire to move forward.

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    How to Tackle It?

    Try visualizing the completion of your task in a positive way.

    For example, you have a presentation that your boss wants you to conduct for a potential client. Visualize yourself standing in the meeting room confident, meeting the eyes of the client and seeing them light up as you explain the concept simply and concisely.

    Imagine your boss telling you how great you did and you were the best person for the job. Think about how it would feel to you and focus on this as you move forward with the task.

    2. A Dreamer’s Lack of Action

    This is a person who is highly creative and has many brilliant ideas but can’t quite seem to bring them to fruition.

    The main reason for this is because there’s usually no structure or goal setting involved once the idea has been created. This aimless approach ends up manifesting as a lack of decision-making and significant delays on a project.

    How to Tackle It?

    Write down a timeline of what you want to achieve and by when. Ideally, do this daily to keep yourself on track and accountable for progression. Creative minds tend to jump from one idea to the next, so cultivating focus is essential.

    If you’re designing and creating a new product at work, set out a task list for the week ahead with the steps you want to focus on each day. Doing this ahead of time will stop your mind from wandering across to different ideas.

    Learn about how to plan your time and take actions from some of the successful people: 8 Ways Highly Successful People Plan Their Time

    3. An Overwhelmed Avoider

    This is one of the most common reasons for procrastination; the sheer overwhelm of a daunting task.

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    The complexity of a task can cause the brain to lose motivation and avoid doing it altogether choosing instead to stay in its comfort zone.

    The search then starts for a more enjoyable task and the harder tasks are put off. This can cause stress and dread when the task inevitably comes up to be completed.

    How to Tackle It?

    Break the challenge down into smaller tasks and tackle each one individually.

    For example, if you have a project that has technical elements to it that you know you’ll find challenging, list each step you need to take in order to complete these difficult elements. Think of ways you can resolve potential hurdles. Perhaps you have a coworker that may have time to help or even consider that the solution may be easier than you initially think. Put each task in order of most daunting to least daunting. Ideally, try to deal with the more challenging parts of each task in the morning so that momentum is created as the tasks get easier through the day.

    A reward system will also help you stay motivated so, once completed, you can enjoy your treat of choice.

    If you want to know how to better handle your feelings and stay motivated, take a look at my other article: Procrastination Is a Matter of Emotion, Here’s How to Stop It

    4. The Busy Bee Who Lacks Prioritization

    Either you have too many tasks or don’t truly acknowledge the differing importance of each task. The result? Getting nothing done.

    Time is spent switching constantly from one task to another or spending too much time deciding what to do.

    How to Tackle It?

    It’s all about priorities and choosing important tasks over urgent ones.

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    Make sure to question the value and purpose of each task and make a list in order of importance.

    For example, throughout your work day, you can waste a lot of time dealing with ‘urgent’ emails from colleagues but, you need to ask yourself if these are more important than working on a task that will affect, say, several office projects at once.

    Help yourself to prioritize and set a goal of working through your list over the next few hours reassessing the situation once the time is up.

    In my other article, I talk about an effective way to prioritze and achieve more in less time: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    5. The One with Shiny Object Syndrome (Distraction-Prone)

    This is another common cause for procrastination; just simple distraction.

    Our brains aren’t wired to focus for long periods of time and it looks for something else. So throw in a bunch of colleagues equally looking for distractions or checking your phone mindlessly, and you’ve got a recipe for ultimate procrastination.

    However, this type of procrastination may not always be an unconscious decision to sabotage and put off work. It’s simply a result of your work setup or types of coworkers you have. Only you know the answer to that.

    How to Tackle It?

    Be mindful of your workspace and potential distractions. Schedule a specific time to converse with your coworkers, put headphones on to minimize listening to what’s going on around you, and switch your phone off.

    Aim to do this for 20-30 minutes at a time and then take a break. This will be a much more efficient way of working and getting what you need done. This is also why scheduling down time is so important for productivity.

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    Whether this type of procrastination is self-sabotage or being a victim of a distracting environment, either way you can take control.

    If you need a little more guidance on how to stay focus, this guide can help you: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

    Bottom Line

    I’m going to be bold and assume you identified with at least one of these procrastination pitfalls.

    You could be trapped in the endless cycle of procrastination like I was, that is, until I decided to find out my why behind putting off tasks and projects. It was only then that I could implement strategies and move forward in a positive and productive way.

    I killed the procrastination monster and so can you. I now complete my tasks more efficiently and completely killed that feeling of stress and falling behind with work that procrastination brings.

    I know it’s not easy to stop procrastinating right away, so I also have this complete guide to help you stop it once and for all: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

    Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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