This post was originally from Barking Up the Wrong Tree
Here’s the thing: you often don’t need help with the doing part. You know what to do. Sit down and finish the damn task. But you don’t. Why? Often it’s about feelings. What really gets in your way?“It scares me.” “I don’t feel like it right now.” “This sucks and I don’t wanna do it.” Those are feelings. And if you don’t deal with those feelings, all the mechanistic lifehacks in the world aren’t going to help you scratch things off your to-do list.
The best productivity system is the one you stick with. And if a system makes you miserable, it’s not going to last.
Here’s how to be productive without becoming a miserable robot:
- Start the day happy: How you wake is how you work. Having a little fun early means better results later.
- Scrub your way to creativity: Bring a challenge into the shower and come out with a solution.
- Close loops to kill worries: Make a plan and write it down to silence the voice in your head.
- Make awful tasks your own: Put your own spin on how you do something and you’ll be more motivated.
- Break down procrastination: Conquer Asia one tribe at a time, Genghis.
- Keep progress visible: Put a “did-it” list next to the “to-do” list for motivational rocket fuel.
- Forgiveness keeps you going: Beating yourself up kills productivity. Treat yourself like you would a good friend.
- Get distracted easily? Work beside a productive friend.
“Distractable people get more done when there is someone else there, even if he isn’t coaching or assisting them.” If you’re facing a task that is dull or difficult, such as cleaning out your closets or pulling together your receipts for tax time, get a friend to be your body double.
Start The Day Happy
Do whatever puts you in a good mood. TV, nice food whatever.
And most important to managers, employee mood had a clear impact on performance, including both how much work employees did and how well they did it.
Scrub Your Way To Creativity
- There’s a strong relationship between feeling relaxed and creative
- Many people come up with ideas in the shower when they are in a relaxed state
Close Loops To Kill Worries
- Zeigarnik effect: When people remember incomplete or interrupted tasks better than complete tasks
- These are anxiety-inducing, annoying and make you stupid.
How do you clear your head? Write down the concern along with a quick plan of what you’re going to do to address it.
Once you’ve done that, your brain can relax. It closes the loop and ends the Zeigarnik effect:
Committing to a specific plan for a goal may therefore not only facilitate attainment of the goal but may also free cognitive resources for other pursuits. Once a plan is made, the drive to attain a goal is suspended–allowing goal-related cognitive activity to cease–and is resumed at the specified later time.
Make Awful Tasks Your Own
- Have autonomy over your work if you can. The more you make the work something uniquely “you”, the more motivated you’ll be.
Break Down Procrastination
- Increase your perception of control over a situation and break intimidating tasks down into tiny steps that you can easily manage.
Keep Progress Visible
- Have a did-it list to see your progress. Write it down
- When you take a moment to write down the things that made you happy that day, they have more power
Forgiveness Keeps You Going
- Beating yourself up only makes it harder for you to get things done.
- Want to be more self-compassionate? It’s easy. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend who was feeling down about not being productive.
- Be nicer to yourself when you screw up and you’ll not only feel better — you’ll get more done.
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