We put off small jobs, like a quick email to a colleague or menial paperwork. We keep putting it off. We waste time thinking about how annoying the task is, but it does not go away.
These small tasks take up a considerable amount of space in our minds. But there are simple ways to bring them back to size.
Procrastination involves the voluntary putting off a simple task, even though you will be worse off for doing so.
Procrastinating has little to do with poor time management. It's really about mood management.
Motivation often follows action. If you just do something immediately without stopping to think about why you don't want to do it, you will succeed better.
If you remember a negative emotional response that triggered past procrastination, start thinking about how you can reframe the task. You can look at the task as an opportunity to learn a new skill, or frame it as a fun and enjoyable task.
Don't beat yourself up too much if you've procrastinated. It's not some sort of moral failure. A little bit of self-compassion might be all you ned to get back on track.
... is how the brain changes (for better or worse) in response to repeated experience: the things we do often we become stronger at, and what we don't use fades away.
If you noticed fear or anxiety around starting (or not finishing) a particular task, pay attention. These emotions are a great indicator of why you’re procrastinating.
Nothing will ever get done if we wait for things to happen.
Take the reins in your own hands to start a movement.
Knowing where the end lies helps to put us into action.
Continue to keep your end goal in mind.
It can be tempting to stop something halfway through when it gets difficult.
The difficulty of an activity shouldn't change the fact that it's our priority. Stay the course.
Effective people can always imagine the desired outcome.
Visualize your goals and the steps you need to make to get you there.
Often, people jump into things without planning properly, resulting in fruitless actions.
Planning ahead can really benefit your end results.
Regardless of how capable we might be on our own, there is always greater strength in numbers.
Synergize on everything you can to help you become more effective.
Regularly allow yourself the time and space in order to be restored. You will find that you are better able to effectively achieve your personal best.
We know that what we wear affects our mindset. Our work attire helps us into our role.
Researchers found that volunteers performed better on attention-related tasks when they put on a doctor's lab coat. Another 2014 study found that volunteers negotiated more effectively when they wore a black suit compared to those who wore a tracksuit.
When working from home, even though your colleagues might not see you in your pyjamas, you could be losing out on the psychological benefit of dressing for work.
Other tips for increasing productivity when working from home include setting aside specific hours and creating a particular space for your work.
Open-ended tasks are any tasks that don't have a definite endpoint. Activities like "studying", "working" or "tweaking" waste your time and cause procrastination. "I should really study" is open-ended because it does not have a specific to-do list to learn the material.
A solution is to close all the ends. Set up specific to-do lists which outlines your tasks on what needs to be done. When the to-do list is completed, you stop.
When you have countless open loops in your life, you will never be able to relax.
Once some people complete their to-do list, they add more work. This is a dangerous move that can sabotage your productivity.
Sources of open loops:
When facing a seemingly untenable set of obligations - as many now have to juggle work responsibilities with closed-school childcare - it's still best to determine the full scope of the challenge.
Write down everything that's demanded of you, even if you can't get to all of it. Then make the best plan you can. The comfort is in the planning, not the achievable outcomes.
To "D Day" to-do list was written by one of the secretaries serving Churchill. It serves as a reminder that even when forced to deal with something so impossible and hopelessly complicated as the reconquest of Europe, the first step was to write down the full scope of the tasks required.
You cannot overcome the dragon until you can see it.
The brain can become addicted to productivity just as it can to other addiction sources, such as drugs, gambling, or shopping.
As with all addictions, the desire for the stimulant continues to increase while withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.
What makes addiction to productivity complicated is that society tends to reward it - the more you work, the better. A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, but in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh the short-term benefits.
Addiction affects the brain's reward system. It results in compulsive behavior while disregarding harmful consequences.
At the root of obsession with productivity is a fear of wasting time. Everything is seen as either productive or unproductive.
Buying groceries is seen as productive because you have to eat, while a hobby is viewed as unproductive. Productivity junkies are overly focused on a single aspect of their life. Potential sources of pleasure, such as spending time with loved ones, are very low on the list.
High performers who are extremely productive describe their work style as unsustainable. They acknowledge that they need help getting back on track.
There will come a point when performance suffers, and the effects become potentially life-threatening. It is essential to address the warning signs - such as rushing through a family meal to return to work - and to take steps to modify habits.
Being in a space that's free from distractions while managing your time may sound perfect. But working alone is not a cure-all. Remote work can make you realize that the battle was never external; it's internal.
Working alone is about creating a space where concentration becomes accessible. However, sitting in solitude for a few minutes makes you get up to grab a snack or check Twitter. Or you don't know when to call it a day.
Elements to help you reach a state of flow.
To allow this deep work to occur requires you to be vigilant about outside interruptions.
Solitude can initially make you squirm but later becomes a bedrock for intense concentration and creativity. Deflect distractions and use solitude to your advantage:
A routine is vital to get you to reach a deeper state of mind.
Be very clear and deliberate about what you should do, what you can't do, or wouldn't do. Without boundaries, you will work into the night, thinking you are productive.
We can learn through experimentation which environments are best suited for us at specific times of the day. Keep tabs on your mood and productivity when you're in different settings.
The fun of working alone is doing it on your terms. Don't let a productivity blog tell you the"right" way to work.
Whenever you feel stressed and on the edge of a burnout, you might as well try doing...well, nothing.
Niksen is a term used to describe the fact of doing nothing, of taking a break from all our daily tasks, in order to relax and gain our energy back.
If you have any doubts in what the multiple benefits that idleness can provide you with, just note down the fact that being lazy from time to time leads to increased creativity, productivity as well as developing problem-solving skills, as it allows you to take time to see the things more clearly.
In order to keep your effectiveness high while doing nothing, you might want to consider the following tips: