Becoming more productive is not a question of working more, but of being smarter about it. That often implies having less on your mind so you can work with clarity and focus.
The previous post in this series talked about causes of procrastination. This week, we’re going to begin doing something about it!
Part 2/8 – How To Overcome Procrastination – RIGHT NOW
As with many things in life, your resistance to do certain things is between our ears. It’s this resistance you want to deal with, before you begin with any practical techniques to do the actual work more efficiently.
I’ve tried pretty much everything, and these are the thoughts and things that work best for me. Any of these strategies can give you the momentum you need at a given time to break through your procrastination and get going.
Identify the reason why you’re delaying. Discover why you’re postponing the work. Reframe your resistance by discovering more about the work to be done. It’s often our fear of the unknown that causes a paralyzing stress, the first step on the slippery slope towards that unproductive frustration. So map things out, create an oversight and insight into what needs to be done. Often, your fears will become considerably smaller.
You can’t get everything at once! Install one new habit at a time. Plan time, prepare it, implement it thoroughly and do it until it’s automatic. Make sure you have all the necessary means. Doing things halfway just gives you more work without the benefits.
Tell others you’ll be working differently from now on. Find someone who will check on the work you want to be doing. Make sure it’s someone who wants the same as you (so maybe not your boss, that might push his or her own wants upon you) and who doesn’t tend to give you any excuses.
- ‘Begin’ instead of ‘stop procrastinating’
Your subconscious doesn’t process negatives. What do you see when you tell yourself to stop procrastinating? You probably see yourself procrastinating, right? So every time you tell yourself to stop it, you’re actually strengthening that image. Instead, focus on what you will do. What’s the first thing you’ll do? Take one small thing and start doing it, now.
- Begin with the beginning
Often an end result we have in mind can seem so big it’s overwhelming. Forget about having the overview, prioritising, planning… for a second. Let it go. Just do one small thing now, finish it and then do the next. Do that a couple of times, then collect everything into a big picture again. At least, now you’re already created something to work with.
- Just do something!
We often stop ourselves from starting because we think we’re not ready yet. We don’t know enough yet, still have to do all kinds of things first… But how often is that really true? What stops you is often less impressive from close by than it initially seems. When you think too much about something, it tends to become an incredible obstacle as all possible scenarios pop through your head. So stop thinking and make a first move, try some stuff out! Trust your instincts and improvisation. Often, the next steps flow automatically from just doing.
In part 3/8 of this productivity series I’ll tell you about the Golden Rule of Productivity. After that, I’ll give you some practical producitivity boosters that you can choose from. Make sure you’re in the right frame of mind though: clear those mental blockades!