How to Quit Procrastinating and Immediately Get More Done!
Last year I didn't get a lot done.
I started lots of things. But I didn't finish very many.
And it wasn't because I didn't have plans or goals. I had plans for everything!
My problem was having too many plans and goals. And not committing to one thing before I moved onto the next one. Too much planning and not enough doing!
Being a perfectionist, compulsive planner of #allthethings isn't good for productivity!
I wrote a guest post last year about the real secret of productivity being simply sitting down and committing to doing the work that needs to be done.
Here's the top 3 things I'm doing this year to make me more productive....
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Start with a minimum viable product
Perfectionism encourages procrastination. That long list of things you need to do to make your offering perfect is simply slowing you down and stopping you getting it in front of the people that are going to pay you for it.
The desire to have everything perfect often means you'll abandon a project because it isn't ‘right’ instead of testing what you've got and letting your customers decide if it's right for them!
Don't start putting out crap just so you feel productive though! Make sure whatever you're creating does what it's meant to do and fulfils the purpose it's meant to. But put it out there at that stage. The stage when it's functional. When it does its job well enough. You can update it, refine it, redesign it as you go.
If it doesn't do as well as you thought, try something else. But one thing is guaranteed; if you don't put it out there, it's never going to succeed.
Start a brain dump routine
As creative business owners and bloggers we’re always thinking up ideas. Ideas for blog posts, for social media, for email opt-ins, for products, for service extras.
And some of these ideas are gems and need to be given time and energy and some of them are crap.
The hard bit is deciding which ones are worth pursuing and not giving up too much time trying to do #allthethings.
I blame my INTJ personality type. It means I'm a thinker, a researcher, an explorer of ideas. Which you might have thought would make me productive and focused. But it doesn't. It makes me flaky. Because every idea I have becomes the most important thing in the World at the expense of everything else!
Every new idea needs researching, brainstorming and planning. In Depth. And every time I do this with a new idea, the current project gets pushed aside.
One thing I've discovered though is if I write something down I've acknowledged it and can move on to the next thing. Whatever it is stops floating round in my head demanding attention!
So this year I've started a brain dump journal. And every couple of weeks I will allow myself some time to indulge in my random ideas and write them down.
By doing this I'll have a written record of them so I can go back to the good ones and I'll clear out the idea fog so I can focus on what needs to be done now.
Only plan for immediate action
You need to work with a deadline. And the closer the deadline, the greater the sense of urgency to get things done. Give yourself too long a deadline and you'll be in no rush, then all of a sudden your deadline is tomorrow and you're up till midnight finishing that thing!
It's the same principle that enables me to get my twins to nursery at 9.20 when we wake up at 8 but we’re late if we're all awake by half 7! I call it the ‘I've got loads of time’ trap!
One of the side effects of being a compulsive planner is the ability to see the long term view of a project.
On the plus side, it helps make sure I don't miss things. On the negative side I end up with a great long to do list of things that don't need to be done until a week or even a month in the future.
And I've discovered that my long-term-view to do lists do absolutely nothing to keep me productive. In fact, it's totally the opposite and they kill my productivity because….
I do the fun things first! Regardless of the order they should be done in! I start a project full of excitement and enthusiasm, do the interesting tasks first then get bored because I've left all the dull stuff until last.
Ticking the jobs off my list gives me a false illusion of being productive even though I'm not ever finishing anything!
And because I've not done enough to even create an MVP there are no results to keep me motivated to continue working.
So I move onto the next exciting thing that catches my attention.
And so went 2016…..
So in 2017 I'm keeping myself disciplined by only planning a week’s worth of work at a time. I've set up my planner so I have everything written down each day, so I only have to look at one day's planner page.
I'm hoping it will keep me more focused on only doing what needs to be done. In the right order. Regardless of whether it's one of my favourite tasks or not!
If you're nosey about how I've set up my Blog & Business Bullet journal I wrote a detailed post about it here, and recorded a flip through video which you can see here.
How do you avoid procrastination and stay productive? Leave a comment and let me know.
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