Procrastination is a vicious fiend that can destroy your productivity with murderous intent. If you want to get stuff done, you need to apply these three tips today.
1. Begin (even if you don’t want to right now).
If I told you I always feel inspired to write, that would be a lie. But funny thing about that: without fail, after I grunt through an hour or two of work despite not feeling like it, I find myself in a state of flow where I lose track of time and keep on going until I have no words left to express. I often end up wondering, “What was all that procrastination about? This is a much better way to spend my time than what I was doing before*!” Your mind will resist your efforts to take action with all of its might. Please understand that your thoughts are convincing liars that will try to prevent you from doing things that will prove to be fun and fulfilling (don’t listen to them!). Prove me wrong. I dare you.
*This morning, said “thing” was wasting two hours on Twitter. And that’s a convenient way to lead into…
2. Concentrate (even if that means avoiding all temptations).
Below is a list of my biggest time-wasters:
- Twitter (I am a news junkie and that is where I get my fix).
- Netflix (If I get sucked into a show, House of Cards for example, heaven help me).
- Reading (Not a bad thing in itself, but I’m a very curious person, and can consequentially end up with 10-20 browser windows open at a time, which is very bad for my productivity as a writer).
I deal with these temptations by banning the use of social media while I write; saving Netflix for lazy weekends when I have nothing to do (and can have a guilt-free marathon); and opening my publishing platform in full screen mode immediately after I find what I’m looking for.
I used to have more temptations than those, but have removed most of them without mercy. Below is a list of the ones you might know well and how I dealt with them:
- Answering texts as soon as you get them = Phone stays silent unless you’re expecting an important call or are flirting with a person you love (or just have a really big crush on).
- Refreshing your inbox obsessively = Set three specific times to check email in morning, afternoon, and evening.
- Distracted by social media = Disable all text and email notifications, or use a concentration app if you can’t control yourself.
3. Deliberate (even if that means taking a step back from the daily grind).
“Priorities” isn’t a sexy concept to consider, but it could be the key that will unlock your productive power. It’s amazing how taking a step back can improve your perspective and make you understand what is really important. Below are some questions you should consider:
- What is the point of my work? Why does it matter?
- Is there a way to combine related tasks in a more logical manner?
- Am I putting the needs of others before what makes me feel happy and fulfilled?
If you don’t see any purpose behind your work, it’s no wonder you don’t feel like working. Imagine the impact you hope to make in the lives of your readers, customers, or clients. What pain do you hope to help them deal with? What problem do you hope to help them solve? What goal do you hope to help them achieve?
If you are performing tasks in a haphazard fashion, it’s no wonder you can’t get anything done. It is more efficient to group similar tasks together than it is to multitask without thought process. Could you do all of your dishes, run all of your errands, pay all of your bills, answer all of your emails, or return all of your calls at a specified time?
If you constantly concern yourself with what other people expect from you, it’s no wonder you aren’t fulfilled. Understand that your ability to take care of others will be severely diminished if you don’t take care of yourself first. If you open your email inbox as soon as you wake up, you’re setting yourself up for a day that is ruled by the demands of others.
What helps you get stuff done? Tell us in the comments.
Featured photo credit: lazy sunday/David Urbanke via flickr.com