So it’s Monday morning. Your mind is buzzing while you drink your coffee and think about everything you have to get done with Thanksgiving right around the corner.
It’s exciting to know you have a few days off but we all know that work will be piling up while you enjoy your turkey and pumpkin pie.
We always tell ourselves there isn’t enough time in the day or we need more time to get everything done. Or perhaps your vacations always feels too short and the work day too long. Do you see what you’re doing here?
Time Is Not The Enemy
You are. There I said it.
You are your own worst enemy when it comes to getting things done. The more you blame time, the more you are avoiding the root of the problem… YOUR time management skills.
So stop wasting time blaming time and get started on your to-do list. You do have a to-do list right?
Writing things down (with pen and paper preferably), really helps you to visualize exactly what needs to happen and when. I even like to draw in little check boxes so as I finish tasks I get the satisfaction of drawing a nice big check mark to signify my achievement.
If it Works, it Works.
You may spend hours reading your favorite productivity blogs hoping you’ll find enough tips to fill an entire emergency kit the next time you’re feeling unproductive, but just because something works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you.
Beating procrastination takes a little self discovery so try answering the following questions:
- What is one thing that really motivates you?
- What is the one thing that really distracts you?
- How do you typically deal with distractions?
There are two things you need to focus on, finding the right incentive and avoiding distractions. And as much as I’d like to wave a magic wand and solve the problem for you, it’s something you need to do on your own.
Even if you have all the tools in the world, they won’t do you any good if you don’t use them.
So try a few different strategies and think long and hard about what works best for you. I know for me, I need to make a hand-written list of things that are a “must-do” for today and then a separate list for things it would be nice to get done today but I can put off to tomorrow if necessary.
That way I take the pressure off and my list gets cut in half. A shorter list means less stress and it allows me to focus on each task individually instead being overwhelmed by everything all at once.
Wasting Time Can Be Good?
Don’t ever let yourself believe that you need to productive 100% of the time. What are you, a robot? Didn’t think so.
Think of wasting time as a reward for yourself. Set milestones on bigger projects and for every milestone you reach, reward yourself with a little free time. Make sure your milestones are measurable so you can hold yourself accountable.
Don’t Measure in Hours
Stop thinking of time as what you’re lacking. Really it’s the outcome you’re looking for. You can get more done in 90 minutes of highly focused work than five hours of dilly-dallying back and forth between what actually matters and that hilarious cat meme your friend just posted on Facebook.
Don’t measure your progress by watching the clock, measure by the actual results you can see or the value you’ve created.
Time really doesn’t play a role here. It’s all about reaching your next milestone and feeling confident in your progress.
The creative juices aren’t always flowing and sometimes taking a break and going for a walk or thinking about things other than work will be just what you needed to recharge and come back to your project with a fresh perspective.
Don’t confuse procrastinating with searching for inspiration. They are two very different things. Make your inspiration search productive in it’s own way. Step away from your keyboard and get a little exercise or cook a healthy new recipe.
Bam! You just turned that downtime into something you can feel good about. Nice work!
Battle stress with positivity. If you’re constantly feeling bad about all the work you haven’t done it’s not going to make you feel any more productive.
No one wants to work when they are grumpy or stressed. As soon as you feel stress starting to take over, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and focus on something that makes you feel good.
Think about how amazing you’re going to feel when you have a finished product sitting in front of you. That feeling is what’s going to drive progress. So stop worrying and just get started.
The Best Way to Start
The best way to start, is to just do it. Thank you Nike for these words of wisdom. So insightful.
All you need to do is get the ball rolling and you’d be surprised how the snowball effect kicks in.
According to Wikipedia, the snowball effect is “a figurative term for a process that starts from an initial state of small significance and builds upon itself…”
Convince yourself that all you have to do is take one tiny step towards your end goal and you might be surprised as momentum builds and you get more done than you think.
Now It’s Your Turn
Make this Monday a happy one!
“The evidence is clear: People perform better when they’re happier.” says Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer who recently completed a study about what motivates employees at work.
Tell me what you think. What are your favorite productivity tips and how do you get yourself feeling motivated and ready to get things done?
I look forward to reading your thoughts in the comments below.
Know someone else who could use a little motivation this monday? Make sure to share this blog post and help them stay stress free!