New insights in fighting procrastination when you have a tricky mind.

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Recently I’ve come to the understanding that time management is something that I need to be fully conscious of, and always keep exercising tips and techniques… in order to be effective.

My main issue is that I know exactly what needs to be done during the beginning of my work day. I have lists and agendas on places like Trello, Microsoft Onenote, Scrivener, and a few others places (I’m sure), yet…

Why is it that execution of getting priorities straight, and starting at the top, is a challenge to so many? 

Why is procrastination such a vivid challenge?

I’ve realize that each morning my routine starts by checking and answering emails, calls, messages, and catching up with little stuff of sorts.

That’s not the problem. The real problem is…

After working 4 or 5 hours straight – you sort go into autopilot where even if you stay glued to your seat, in front of the computer, you will still not be as effective in producing top work, unless you are fully aware of your productivity level and execution.

Again, this means that after four or five hours I just go into auto pilot, and I’m trying to “stay busy” with little things instead of starting at the very top of my agenda, and finishing the most important projects.

I tend to get into the belief that in order for me to work on my most important projects – I need to get all these other things out of the way first, that way I can fully focus on what is most important.

Yes, that is the true meaning of procrastination. Yet, no matter how strong our willpower might be, and it shows by being in front of a computer for 12 hours straight day after day, no matter how much our will is strong, what happens is…

Our mind has the tendency to play little tricks on us.

We like to believe that we are fully conscious, and able to decide, and follow with our own free will, and this might seem to be the case most of the time… but it’s not.

Our mind has it’s little tricks of it’s own to persuade you to do other things. 

Why?  Perhaps because the mind wants to enjoy doing easier, more “suave” things, rather than be cranking out more power and energy within it’s working estate.

Don’t you ever feel that you can just be doing just about anything online, and you feel great, but when it’s the time to do your most important work… an ever so slight headache my be in the horizon? 

Yes, this is the mind wanting to do more pleasurable things like web surfing, reading, watching videos, rather than cranking out that book you have to write, or that report that is long over due.

It’s different for everyone, but I think my situation is not so much unique, and that many people, specially within online work have to deal with, also people in the publishing business, or anyone that is a writer. It tends to hit us harder. 

I’ve heard gurus like Tony Robbins say that he can function, and do great work just with 5 hours of sleep, and I think I would be able to do the same, if my work consisted of going places, getting more sun light, and being more physical.  Yet when I am working in front of a computer… I definitely need at least 8 hours of sleep, or I will be performing at less than 50 percent capacity. Coffee and redbull won’t help regardless.

So, what are some of my tips and insights that I’ve discovered recently that have helped me overcome some of my work stagnation, and have helped me in keeping my productivity at a tip top level?

My Productivity Insights:

  • Have a whiteboard in front of me with a daily agenda of things that must be done.  That way, no matter if I go into auto pilot after 4-5 hours, I will still have it as a compass as to what I need to navigate towards.  Trello, or any other scheduling apps, are not as effective as a white board, or sticky notes in front of you. Why?  After hours on being in front of the computer, your eyes will just become glazed to another open tab on your browser and not be as effective as to a physical whiteboard, sticky notes, or anything similar in front of you.
  • After spending hours of writing in front of the computer – get up and dictate into an app, recording notes, and other essential information that will further help your write out your program, book, or report.
  • I love listening to gurus and top teachers in their field, but ultimately developing your own productivity compass, and making it work well with your brain, and all the tricks  your brain might have up it’s sleeve – is the best way to get things done.
  • We already know that facebook, emails, phone calls, text, etc, are all a big distraction. If you can’t fully put it all away while working, then put it off until later when you’ve already made good progress in your day.  You don’t need to lock it all away, but just leave it off until later.
  • Yes, facebook, social media, checking your analytics, checking to see how many email optins you’ve gotten, etc. Are all a big time grabber but if you can’t work around, and do your most important work right away… then either shut down your internet for a while, or find a program that locks away the net and/or social media for the first hours of your day so you can get some of your important work done. Getting work done is easy… getting your most important work done becomes something we can’t find enough time to do.
  • There are only so many hours in the day, and when we think that we are being productive (our brain tricks us into thinking so, but we really aren’t), suddenly time will sneak up on you, and your day will go from having many hours to get work done… to only having minutes. This becomes futile productivity as you can’t really get much done within a few minutes when most of your day has disappeared.
  • Get an accountability partner.  Trying to get most of the work done on your own, without anyone knowing your progress can be bad.  Get an accountability partner that will know, and even expect certain amount of work coming from you each day.  You can even work with a virtual assistant that can see what kind of progress you are making. It’s funny that when we have someone else watching us work we tend to do better work rather than when we are just watching ourselves.
  • And last but not least: Get yourself in the right state. Get in the zone!  Gurus that pump you up with positive thinking are good but sometimes we require a better mindset for the marathon of our projects and career. Mindset is everything. And one little tip that I can give that has helped me greatly with mindset is that it’s entwined greatly with confidence. If you act, feel, and move as if you have already succeeded in your challenges, and you have already accomplished your goals… something clicks in your brain, and in a strange way… it becomes a lot easier, and a whole lot of doors open for you to accomplish those goals and challenges. Believe that you already made it… and you will!                  

I can go on and on but I’ll leave it at that.  I will soon write more on personal development, and more importantly, on tips and techniques to get yourself to get the 5 different projects (or so)  you have going on… actually done and complete.

It’s simple when you have a plan of action that you execute each day.

So now It’s time for me to get back to work.  Catch you on the other side.