In this post I'm going to share some ways that I break through procrastination and start getting things done.
1. Jerry's tip
Jerry Seinfeld once gave a great productivity tip when he addressed a room of wannabe comedians. Many of them were stuck in a perpetual learning curve, attending comedy classes, acting school and personal development courses.
Jerry’s advice: “Just work”.
I love this because it’s direct advice that shouts “Don’t just talk about doing it. Do it!” Dive in, get your hands dirty. Experience it.
Are you a bit of a perfectionist?
Do you suffer from paralysis by analysis?
Do you over-think things instead of just getting your butt in gear?
Do you get the sudden urge to clean the house, grab a snack from the fridge or go get a haircut instead of building that important spreadsheet or completing that book, report or presentation?
The truth is we all get distracted. Most of us procrastinate sometimes. We often put off important tasks.
We feel the need to work out all the nitty gritty in our minds before we type a single word.
We flit around Google or YouTube hunting down information, immersing ourselves, but just can’t get started?
If that’s you then keep reading because I have some great productivity tips I would like to share with you.
You know ...
2. Getting started is the hardest part
If you go to the gym and fitness is important to you, do you ever have days where you just can’t be bothered?
You say, “Meh, I’ll do it tomorrow”.
Have you ever found that just by getting in your car and driving or doing some warm up exercises, your mind switches on and your body moves into gear.
3. Just show up
Easy to say. A lot harder to implement, right?
Did you know that a cruise missile is off course 90% of the time? The missile makes constant minor readjustments to correct its course. If it’s a couple of degrees too far west it will adjust a couple of degrees east. It successfully finds its target by having a long series of mini-failures!
4. My productivity tips
Here’s 3 of my best productivity tips that I use every day.
TIP #1 Quick Rough Cut – Share - Refine
If you’re working as part of a team, or you have people around you with whom you can bounce ideas around, just start producing material and share it. That’s when you start getting feedback.
Push things. People will push back.
Then you can make changes and you get to your destination a lot faster.
Even if you’re on the right road - if you’re not moving you’ll eventually get run over.
If you’re sat at a computer and you’ve got classic “writers block”, just start typing - even if it’s “asdf asdf asdf”. Just start smashing keys - peck away - hit random keys. It’ll get your brain moving and gets you moving in the right direction. It gets you unstuck.
TIP #2 Black Screen Magic
Here’s a tip I’ve been using for years.
Set up a blank document, then switch off the screen.
Then write. Get all your thoughts and ideas out of your head and onto the unseen document.
Because you cannot see what you are typing you do not get distracted by mis-spelt words and badly structured sentences. You don’t get tempted to re-read and edit your work on the fly.
When you are done, switch the screen back on and edit away.
I find this speeds up the process of writing by 2 or 3 times. Easily.
TIP #3 Set An Artificial Deadline
One final tip then I’ll wrap.
We all work to deadlines.
Many of us leave things until the last minute (it can’t just be me, can it?)
So accept it, work with it and stop feeling guilty about it!
Parkinson's law says that a task will expand to fill the time allotted to it.
Give yourself an artificial deadline but stick to it. Actually, give yourself less time than you really need but make sure you knock out your best effort at a first draft within that timeframe.
The editing is the easy part.
People hit deadlines more often that not. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be right. Get the basics done then refine later.
5. Let’s wrap
Many of these tips have evolved over time from my own personal experience. I know they work.
What do you think?