by Dominic Mann
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The more intelligent you are, the more likely you are to find yourself procrastinating. If you’re someone with a high-intelligence, you’re able to see the repercussions of any task, you realise that it might be boring or difficult, therefore, you put it off for something that might be more stimulating.
So it’s the over-thinking of any task that leads us to procrastinate, if only we could all just begin work on a task without conceptualising what it will entail.
Don’t consider a project as an entirety, just focus on the next small task involved in making some progress.
”To stop procrastinating, shift your focus from the overwhelming immensity of the entire forest to just a single tree."
Momentum is important, once you get started working, it’s easier to continue. So just start!
”Productive people tend to stay productive. Or, as they say, nothing succeeds like success.”
Have a useful to-do list, where you only write down the very next actions. This way you can move through it quickly.
Find a way to balance the satisfaction of getting things done and pursuing your biggest and most ambitious goals by setting ‘macro goals’ and ‘micro quotas'.
All you need to do is commit to sitting down at your desk (butt-in-chair) for a certain amount of time each day. Ensure that you have no distractions, put your phone on silent, turn off email notifications and just work.
Mann notes just how common it is for people to feel that they are extremely productive when on flights, particularly business flights. People question why this is, but to Mann, it’s clear. Absolutely no distractions. No wi-fi, no texts, no calls, no pesky meetings, no shared office morning teas. Just you and your work.
There’s no need to wait until your next flight to feel that productive. You can create the environment you need anytime you like. Have a day away from the office (and all those pesky interruptions), put on an out-of-office automatic reply and turn all of your devices onto airplane mode.
How often do you find yourself in the middle of work when your suddenly overcome with the desire to do something else, something non-work related, something has distracted you and grabbed your attention.
Mann suggests rather than giving into that desire right then and there, write it down. Create a distraction to-do list that contains all the things you want to do. This way, you don’t have to worry that you might forget about it later.
It involved setting out a 60-minute period and focusing on work.
First, set a timer on your computer or watch or phone for 10 minutes. For 10 minutes you can work on the given task, with no distractions.
When the 10 minutes is up, take a 2-minute brain break, then back to work.
Use deadlines as a motivator, whether someone else sets them for you or you set them yourself, create a consequence for things that aren’t done.
It’s easy to want everything to be perfect, all of the time, but in reality, nothing is perfect. You can learn new skills, develop, grow and thrive, but you’ll still never be perfect. And it’s time to accept that.
Doing nothing is the worst case scenario. It’s always better to be doing something, anything.
Instead of giving up on work altogether, shift your focus to easy, simple tasks that still need to be done but won’t take up much brain power. Whether it be returning a phone call, reading some emails or even just tidying your desk.
"When Olympians use visualisation as a tool, they don’t visualise standing on the highest spot on the podium triumphantly holding aloft their gold medal. What they do instead is visualise the race, the process of winning gold, not the outcome."
Telling yourself (or others) that you “can’t” do something impresses upon the mind that you would very much like to do the thing in question but you’re denying yourself of it.
The word can’t is damaging, however, the word don’t, according to Mann, is empowering. Consider the sentence; “I can’t drink alcohol” versus the statement “I don’t drink alcohol.” The word don’t implies that you make a conscious decision not to do something.
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