Psychologists say that procrastination is a sneaky way for us to stay in our comfort zones. Procrastination is an act of self-sabotage, highjacking your goals.
Productivity is also a habit, it can be cultivated and strengthened over time. Here are 8 ways to work your productivity muscle and get more done:
1. Do the most mentally challenging task first
Your mental energy is limited. It wanes and depletes throughout the day. Studies on circadian rhythms show that you’re at your peak alertness and energy within the first few hours of waking up. That’s the prime time to do the work that you find most mentally challenging.
2. Impose shorter deadlines
Ever heard of Parkinson’s Law? It is the rule that says that a task grows or shrinks according to the amount of time given to it. So, if you give yourself a month to do an assignment, you’ll take a month to get it done. But if you find out that you have a project due in two days, you’ll get it done in two days.
You can leverage this law by giving yourself shorter deadlines.
3. The 2-minute rule
From David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done. David explains that we spend more time deliberating on whether or not to do a task, than the time it’d take to actually complete it. If a task can be done in around two minutes, rather than put it off until later, simply get it done.
You can adjust the rule and break your large tasks into small 2-4 minute chunks and work on them consecutively.
Your emotions are a powerful tool for taking-action. But instead of sitting around and waiting for inspiration, put yourself in the driver’s seat. Harness and evoke your emotions through exposing yourself to videos, speeches, quotes, or music.
A great App to try is Motive. It allows you to get daily inspirational content. You get to decide what time of day and how often you’d like to be inspired. It taps into the power of positive daily mantras. You can wake up every day with quotes from historical leaders, contemporary authors, philosophers, spiritual thinkers, prophets, and philanthropists.
5. Work-rest cycles
A study on employees’ computer use and efficiency found that the most productive 10-percent worked hard for 52 minutes, then took a break for 17 minutes.
The “Pomodoro” technique follows a work for 25 minutes, followed by a five minute rest cycle.
Your sweet spot may fall anywhere in between those two. Experiment and find your most productive work-rest ratio.
Multitasking only works when one task is exceptionally mundane and done on autopilot. Otherwise, it is better referred to as “task-switching.” Our minds work better focusing on one task at a time.
Procrastination can happen when you have too much on your plate. Narrow down to three important tasks, and then take on one at a time.
7. Declutter your workspace
Mess causes stress. And stress cripples your productivity. When people are inundated with physical mess and clutter, that mess is transferred into your mental state.
Making sure your workspace is decluttered gives you psychological and mental breathing space, and allows you to focus better on work. If you’re too busy, it might be time to hire someone to tidy up your space.
8. Website blocking tools
You cannot fall into the abyss of YouTube if you cannot access it. Here are two free resources that will block access to designated sites for your chosen amount of time: