As a business consultant, I have worked in the capacity of efficiency expert for various businesses, developing brand new infrastructure that best spoke to the office culture and budgetary constraints, and completing the job upon initial implementation.
However, with my own projects, “doing” wasn’t as much fun as “planning.” The fatigue of execution would set in and I searched for new problems for which to create effective workarounds.
When I finally recognized that over-planning was a form of procrastination– not productivity— I started to become less efficient and more effective. Just because you do a meaningless task well (efficiently) doesn’t make it important (effective).
Here are some tips:
1. Only check your email twice a day.
Everything in your box is someone else’s agenda. You don’t need to keep checking your inbox for TravelZoo specials, eVites and Kickstarter pleas. Take an hour–even a half hour–to run thru your inbox. Start unsubscribing to those emails which are distracting. I use unroll.me for gmail.
If you have a team project where email interaction is pressing, label emails from those people and favorite them. Those will be the only ones you get notification for. Otherwise, stay OUTSIDE the box!
2. Turn your phone off.
Your smartphone is making you dumber. From Instagram to Twitter and your best friend, these distractions hurt your productivity. Anything that matters can wait for those two half hours a day when you check your voicemail. I use Google Voice for business so that I get an email transcription of messages left.
3. Block distracting websites.
If your soul cries for Facebook, set aside 20 minutes during the work day with “Block Site” for Chrome (I don’t know why you’d be using a different browser) and you won’t be able to log on to the offending sites. It will also redirect you to the site of your choice, like womeneur.com
4. Make a to-do and a to-don’t list.
Your to-do list doesn’t need to be a mile long to frustrate and overwhelm you. You only need two items on it–big ticket items–that must be completed by you today. The second set of items are ones that would be “nice” for you to finish, but not a necessity, just productivity rewards for finishing your two important tasks.
Now, create your “to-don’t” list by jotting down tasks that must get done but not necessarily by you.
The faux-productive will want to do the things on this list INSTEAD of the big two. This habit, called pre-crastination, is when we do busy-work thinking we’re moving forward. Don’t get caught in this trap. Spend that time outsourcing or delegating these tasks. When you know how much your efforts are worth on an hourly basis, you’ll be glad to pay someone to take the minutiae off your hands.
5. Book an anti-procrastination appointment.
When you have one particular task that you just can’t seem to get done, block off the time to do it. You can’t do anything else at this time. Just this task. Boredom and restlessness will kick in and kick your rear into high gear.
What are your fall-back methods of procrastination?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]