Do you have days when you just simply can’t get anything done? If this sentence resonates with you, these 4 productivity secrets will definitely help you out.
Sometimes the hardest task on your to-do list is an invisible one: motivating yourself to actually get stuff done. And the more important your tasks, the more likely you are to endlessly distract yourself from doing them.
This is human nature. Our brains are programmed to procrastinate. We struggle with tasks that promise rewards in the future in favor of the ones that we know will reward us now. It’s what behavioral scientists call “the present bias.”
So how do you overcome it? Today, I’m going to share with you my 4 secrets for beating procrastination and becoming more productive in everyday life.
Ready? Let’s begin!
1. Eliminate Distractions
This piece of advice is pretty obvious. It’s so obvious that most of us simply ignore it. Sure, a cluttered desk will give you—and others around you—the impression that you’re working at full speed. But it will also hurt your ability to concentrate and be productive.
Let’s start with the basics:
✔ Desk. Is your desk clean, organized and free of clutter? If you notice any papers, paper cups, or bottles piling up, now is a good time to remove them.
✔ Desktop. This is something I am also guilty of. Even though I keep each project in its own folder, my desktop is still overcrowded with them. Every time I clean my desktop, I feel refreshed and happier. Or at least less overwhelmed.
✔ Surroundings. Are you working in an open office? Is your home office too noisy? Put some headphones on or try a set of earplugs. Is it too hot or too cold? Control the temperature. Make the room more comfortable and you will instantly see better results.
✔ Phone. It’s not always an option to keep your phone off during work hours. Especially if you’re expecting a call from a colleague or client. But do you really need the Internet? Try turning your mobile internet connectivity off for a while. No social media notifications and no emails? No problem.
✔ Internet access. Keeping your phone offline may not be enough. If you get easily distracted by social media, block it on your computer. You can do that by using StayFocusd, SelfControl, FocusMe, etc. The more distractions you block, the more productive you will get.
2. Break Big Tasks into Subtasks
Some tasks on your to-do list can be pretty overwhelming. Especially if they sound vague or generic. That’s why you should always use the “sub” strategy.
Say that your goal is to write an article. Depending on your work, that may or may not be an easy task to do. Writing a well-researched, well-written article can take hours, sometimes even days. Okay, now let’s break it down to several subtasks:
✔ Research (WARNING: don’t spend too much time on this, you can always go back)
✔ Find Pictures
✔ Insert Helpful Links
✔ Check for Keywords
✔ Final Check
That looks much more doable, right?
3. Find out the REAL Obstacle
If you’re not motivated, you will be less productive. So pay attention to the subtle signals in the way you feel about “doing the work”. Do you feel angry? Frustrated? Sad? Confused? Overwhelmed? Powerless? What is the REAL reason for this emotion? Is it the task or is it something deeper?
Finding the real obstacle can be tricky. It’s hard to be objective when it comes to your feelings. If you are struggling with a pattern of low productivity, finding the origin of our emotions is something I can help you with.
4. Lift Yourself Up!
Until you see it for yourself, you won’t believe just how interconnected the mind is with the body. Remember: Tired body, tired mind. So, how can you lift your mood and get into a better state?
✔ Play happy, energetic music. It will improve your mood and lift your spirits.
✔ Get in front of the mirror and say some affirmations out loud. They work, but only if truly believe them to be true! For example: if you don’t feel like you truly love yourself, don’t say it. It will hurt you even more. Say something lighter like: “I like my hair” or “I am good at sports” or “I make killer lasagna”. The important part is, to be honest with yourself.
✔ If you have pets, cuddle them. If you don’t, watch some cute pictures of baby animals on the internet. Important note: don’t spend too much time doing that because it may lead to cuteness overload and productivity problems again 🙂
✔ Look around and write down 3 things you’re grateful for. Gratitude is the most powerful feeling in the world. When you see the world from the perspective of true gratitude, you will find out that you’re unstoppable.
Last but not least, I want to talk about “being normal.” A lot of clients think that they’re not good enough or have a fear of failure. Every productivity problem lies deeper. Don’t be afraid to dig. It will set you free and you will find more room for new and exciting opportunities.
Now it’s time to close this article and get some work done. You can do it! Go!