That’s a guest post I wrote for Time Management Ninja.com. You can find the whole article here.
Being (or not being) productive is one of the many things we stress over. Often at the end of the day we feel exhausted, and unsatisfied with our performance and results, even though we’ve completed many things.
Instead of simplifying our daily routine by doing our tasks and getting done what needs to be done, we prefer to worry about it, to fear the possibility of failing, to anguish over where to start, over-think the process and so on.
You know all the things you should be doing. But do you know why you aren’t doing them?
Here are 10 reasons why, despite your efforts, you still don’t get things done:
You Don’t Trust Yourself. You’ve failed to change your habits many times, and now even you yourself don’t believe that your next attempt is going to be different. It’s time to really do it this time.
You Have Too Many Distractions
A lot of things prevent you from focusing on your activities and goals. Stuff like browsing the Internet, too much information, people entering the room, problems, worries, plans, and notifications on the phone. The only solution is to eliminate them.
You Have No Purpose
We can’t really achieve anything if we don’t consider it important. We need to have goals to keep us motivated. It will also give us drive, a reason to keep going and not give up in hard moments. We’ll have a vision of what we want and will know that the only way to get it is to take small steps each day.
You Over Think It
It’s ridiculous how much time we waste thinking about what needs to be done, rather than actually working on it. It’s time to let go of what didn’t work out in the past or what might go wrong in the future and focus on the present moment – it’s just you and the task.
You Focus on Non-Essential Tasks
Most of the things we have on our to-do lists are not important. Nothing will actually happen if you don’t complete them. So eliminate them and focus on the essential. After all, only 20% of the things you do give you 80% of your results. That’s the key to productivity.
Here are the things that helped me find focus and finally get to work:
Tip #1 Write it down.
When I say write it down I mean that whatever you want to do on the day or even the night before for the following day. Simply write exactly down what you want to do/achieve. This simple tip alone is almost like flicking a switch in your brain to do it.
Simply writing down your goals and your plans not only makes you think about the goals and the steps that you need to do to achieve them. Sometimes this can be a great way to realize exactly what you want and get you thinking of things you perhaps hadn’t thought of prior.
Not only this but there have been countless studies done showing that writing something down with greatly improve the chances of it coming to fruition than not writing it down at all.
The great thing about this is that it can be literally applied to many areas of like. You can write down your long-term goals or you can write down what you plan to do for the next day.
I, personally, do it every night after I am long finished with my work for that day. I set aside 5-10 minutes for writing down what I want to do tomorrow. The act itself cements it in your brain.
This is also a great way to help with procrastination. It’s almost like holding yourself accountable for it which I will get into more in my next point.
Tip #2 Hold yourself accountable.
Holding yourself accountable to an overall goal or target can be an excellent way to actually push yourself to that point where you get to work consistently.
For example, let’s say I want to lose some weight and be on a particular diet to achieve that goal. Telling your friends and family that you are doing it makes you more accountable than doing it alone.
Your friends/family will often follow up with you about your progress. This is a constant kick up your ass to keep working towards your goal. Also, doing things like posting it on Facebook or somewhere where people can engage with you and follow your progress is great.
Ideally, having an accountability partner would be the best option for this.
An accountability partner and you would usually be moving towards the same goal and would constantly encourage each other to get to work. Most importantly, you two will be accountable for your actions!
A great way to find such like-minded people is through social media. For example when I work on my blogFlipFlopsandAppleSauce, I have a artner that is also running a blog. We both set goals on how often we publish content to hold each other accountable. It works extremely well.
Let’s say you have an online business and you want to make $1000 a month in profit. Instead of focusing on how much money you are currently making, look at what steps you need to take to get to that $1000. The more of these you take, the sooner you will get there.
Tip #4 Concentrate on today.
Some people are always thinking of long-term objectives. That’s not a problem, but you should always try to break down your goals into smaller, easier steps. Then, dedicate each day to working towards completing these steps.
Not only does that make things simpler and easier to manage, but it also puts less stress and pressure on you in the long run and will undoubtedly save you lots of time.
Tip #5 Let it become a habit.
Once you get into a routine, doing some of the more tedious things won’t be as much of a problem. Because at the beginning, you had to make a more conscious effort to make them happen. But once something becomes a habit through use of constant repetition, it becomes 10 times easier to do it.
After doing something consistently for 20 days in a row, it will start to become a habit.
So, if you are doing something that you don’t enjoy 100% to work towards your goal, it would be a great idea to challenge yourself for 3 weeks. Make it a habit, because, beyond that initial 3 weeks, things should only become easier.
#Tip 6 Think goals, not hours.
Some people say ‘I want to work 5 hours on this today’. In my opinion, this is not a solid mentality to have.
People who work with that in mind tend to draw out what they are working out to achieve that time target, which usually isn’t helpful at all. Not only that, but it lowers overall productivity.
I like to set steps that I want to do on that exact day. I have a clearer target that isn’t limited or restricted by time in this case.
Also, once you have finished what you set out to do for that day, you feel a great sense of accomplishment. Which for me, is an amazing feeling that keeps me coming back for more!
David Gray is an entrepreneur that loves marketing. This “career” path allows him the freedom that he truly craves in his life.