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That’s OK If You Are A Procrastinator…Some Last-Minute Hacks For You

That’s OK If You Are A Procrastinator…Some Last-Minute Hacks For You

Procrastination can be a real pain in the rear end. It feels good blowing things off because that usually means we got to what we want to do instead of what we have to do, but there are some drawbacks to all that too. Working in a frenzy isn’t good for your stress levels or your blood pressure. Sometimes it does happen so let’s take a look at some productivity hacks to help you get your work done at the last minute.

1. Cut out all distractions

When you’re coming down to the wire the last thing you need is a distraction. Every time you return a text message or stop for a moment to sing a song, that’s time you could have been spending working. Put your cell phone on vibrate, put it where you can’t see it, and focus on your work. If you’re at home studying for a big test, don’t put Netflix on because you’ll probably just end up watching that. If you must have music, try something without words like techno or classical because they can keep you motivated without stopping to make you listen to any lyrics. Distractions cost you time and if there’s one thing procrastinators can’t be wasting when a deadline is looming, it’s time.

2. Make a quick plan to tackle your work

productivity hacks

    One of the biggest mistakes procrastinators make is to just jump into a pile of work without thinking about it. We recommend that you stop and think about it for a minute. It’s very likely that whatever it is you’re doing can be broken down into smaller tasks that are easier to handle. By breaking down your task into smaller tasks, you give yourself focus and a tried and true way to estimate your progress. Do yourself a favor, take five minutes to sit down and look at everything you have to do, and then tackle them in a manner that makes sense instead of just throwing yourself at your work.

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    3. Take it easy and start out slow

    Doing last minute work is like running a mile. If you start running at a dead sprint, you’re going to wind up running out of steam more quickly. Start with something easy to get your mind and body prepared for the harder parts. You’ll find yourself in the zone eventually and then the harder stuff that takes longer will be something you’re prepared mentally to tackle.

    4. Don’t expect any miracles

    productivity hacks

      IF you’re coming down to the wire to get your job done then you’re not going to be producing your best work ever. Especially if it’s a difficult project. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to put out good work but it does mean that you should be prepared to make concessions when something takes too much time. If you’re doing a presentation and you had a really fun animation you wanted to do for a PowerPoint slide, you may need to let that go and focus on getting work done.

      5. Consume sustenance

      Food and drinks provide us with energy. When you’re meeting a deadline you’re going to need all the energy you can get. When you go to your desk to start working on that deadline project, take something to eat and drink with you. The added energy will help improve your performance and chances of getting a good project done on time.

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      6. Just get started

      productivity hacks

        Earlier we talked about making a plan and breaking your project into smaller chunks. It doesn’t really matter which chunk you start with first. The important thing is that you get started immediately. We also recommended tackling the easier chunks first which is still a good idea. However, if you find yourself just not getting the ball rolling, we recommend you pick a chunk, sit down, and do it. At the end of the day, the important thing is that you sit down and get into that mindset that you need to do work and if you need to start on a harder chunk to get that accomplished, then do it.

        7. Up the ante

        One of the reasons we procrastinate is because we simply don’t care about the end result. It could be a presentation at the office or that term paper in that class you never wanted to take anyway. To get around not caring about something, try thinking about it a different way to increase its importance. If you don’t get that term paper done, you’ll have to take the class all over again and do the term paper again anyway. If you don’t knock that sales report out of the ballpark, you may be demoted or fired. If you have to do something, you might as well do it right because it could affect things you have to do in the future. Doing something over again because you didn’t do it the first time is not a pleasant feeling.

        8. Identify when you’re just making excuses

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        producitivyt hacks

          This is the gateway to procrastination. You look at something and think of all the ways you can get it done later and not right now. If you can identify those excuses then it makes them harder to ignore. You may not feel well that day or you may want to watch the latest blockbuster in theaters with your friends. It’s something that doesn’t sound like an excuse but it really is. People work when they don’t feel well all the time and blockbuster movies are in theaters for more than one day. Netflix can wait, go get your work done!

          9. Don’t think in the abstract

          The difference between abstract and concrete is something you ought to know. When you think abstractly, you would say something like “I should write my term paper about the Civil War.” It’s okay to think abstract when you’re first starting out but if you procrastinated then you’re well beyond the starting point. You need to think more concrete. Woody Allen once said that, “80% of success is showing up.” If you don’t show up and put some concrete ideas down on paper (so to speak), then you’re not going to get any work done and you’re going to stress yourself out more.

          10. Don’t over-think it

          I am personally guilty of this all the time. I will sit and stare at a completed article for 25 minutes just because I’m not sure if it’s how I wanted it to be written. Meanwhile, my next article is 25 minutes closer to deadline. Don’t over-think things. Obviously if you spot a mistake or an error you should fix it but don’t over-analyze every little thing. That takes too long and you’ll begin to doubt yourself. Not everything has to be perfect all the time. In most cases, it just needs to be passable. You don’t graduate college by getting an A, you graduate by passing the classes. Remember that the goalposts aren’t set all that high and while you should try to do your best, you do not have to be flawless every time. Unless you’re a surgeon. Then you should probably aim for perfection every time.

          11. Forgive yourself

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          productivity hacks

            You may be sitting at your desk beating yourself up for letting this project of yours get this far out of control. Stop. It happens to everyone and you’re wasting valuable time, energy, and focus berating yourself. Everybody screws up. That’s why we have editors. Your job now is not to hate yourself but to fix the problem. So you should acknowledge that you messed up, forgive yourself, and get back to this business of living. You’ll save a lot of time and stress when you focus on the work instead of focusing on how you waited a week to start on the work.

            Really the bottom line to procrastination is to not panic. The work is going to get done one way or another and you owe it to yourself to not let things get in the way. The very first item on this list is to avoid all distractions and really the other ten points are just other (more abstract) ways you can get distracted. Bottom line: sit down, get it done. That’s all you really need to do.

            Featured photo credit: WhyAmILazy.com via whyamilazy.com

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            Joseph Hindy

            A writer, editor, and YouTuber who likes to share about technology and lifestyle tips.

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            Last Updated on January 6, 2021

            14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

            14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

            Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

            In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

            For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

            For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

            Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

            Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

            Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

            How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

            Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

            1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

            Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

            For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

            2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

            Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

            Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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            Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

            3. Create a System

            Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

            This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

            You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

            Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

            Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

            4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

            We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

            If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

            Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

            Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

            5. Use a Ratings Scale

            Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

            Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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            It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

            6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

            This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

            You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

            You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

            7. Offer Feedback Forms

            Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

            First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

            Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

            You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

            8. Track Cost Effectiveness

            This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

            Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

            Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

            9. Use Self-Evaluations

            Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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            Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

            10. Monitor Time Management

            This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

            Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

              The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

              While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

              11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

              We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

              Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

              For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

              Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

              Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

              From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

              12. Utilize Peer Feedback

              This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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              Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

              Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

              It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

              13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

              When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

              Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

              Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

              14. Use an External Evaluator

              Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

              They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

              While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

              Final Thoughts

              These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

              The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

              The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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              Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

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