I was watching a video clip of the Steve Harvey Show the other day in which he was interviewing Eric Thomas, the Hip Hop Preacher. During the interview, Eric Thomas said something so profound that it stopped me in my tracks. He said that he did not believe in the word procrastination. He went on to say he was talking to a young lady in Australia and after she told him she was a procrastinator, he replied: “If I were to give you three million dollars if you would meet me here tomorrow at 5 am where would you be?” She replied, “RIGHT HERE, I would be here at 4:59 am.” He responded by pointing out that the problem is not procrastination; rather, it’s that it is not important to you or meaningful or urgent.
We all have those lazy or those unproductive moments where we only spring into action when something is due or urgent. Here are some tips to help you increase your productivity and stop procrastination.
Think about why you have to complete these tasks in the first place. There is a bigger picture for every single thing we do. Think deeply and you will find the purpose for everything. If the reason requires you to be productive at a job you do not like, contemplate, are you working there to save money for something big? Or, is the job a stepping stone for you to accomplish your dream? Maybe you are being unproductive with your education, remember education is key to success and ponder on your life without an education. Think of how it would feel if you couldn’t accomplish your goal. Did that make you nervous? Did it make you shudder in absolute fear? Did it make you cringe at the thought? Good! Now press forward!
Carry on with the goal chasing no matter how grim the journey might be. Think about how different your life would be one year or even five years from now if you commit yourself to completing tasks every day that will help you achieve your goal. Even a simple task done for 30 minutes every day such as working out or practicing a foreign language can make a great impact on your future. Mute negative self-talk. Sometimes we discourage ourselves by our thoughts. If something seems too hard, try harder, look for other resources (such as other people or google) but never give up. When you feel like quitting, remember why you started in the first place. Write your motivation down somewhere and every time you feel like being unproductive or like you can’t do it, review your motivation and keep going forward. Do not forget to reward yourself for completing tasks to keep you motivated along the way to your greater reward!
Make a Plan
Avoid cognitive overload by creating a checklist of everything you have to do in order of priority. Make a list of goals you want to achieve every week and schedule tasks daily. If you have larger tasks, make note of the steps you need to take in order to complete them. Tick off the task that you have completed. Get the most daunting tasks out of the way first so that you do not have them looming over your head all day. Work the things that you tend to procrastinate on. If you find yourself avoiding a task, it may be because you are intimidated by it or you are unclear about tackling it. If you need more information, do your research. Search within yourself to find out why you are resisting, tackle it and move forward. Then complete the simpler tasks. This will motivate you to keep going. Once you see your progress, you would not be as overwhelmed. Having a routine also helps us to keep on track. Schedule professional and personal priorities. At the beginning of every day, think to yourself “At the end of the day, what three things would I like to have accomplished?” Once you are aware of your daily goals stay focused on them. Take things one step at a time. As the old Spanish proverb says, ‘Little by little one goes far. You got this grasshopper!’
Gather Your Resources
When you sit to work, make sure you have everything you need to get your tasks done. Nothing stifles productivity than having to stop to look for a pen or paper or charger. Make sure you have everything you need before you start working.
Eliminate your distractions
I believe the invention of Social Media has killed productivity more that laziness ever will. It is very easy to waste hours on social media, scrolling through Facebook or watching funny chat videos on YouTube. Social media plays into our fear of missing out. When we are working we have to be weary of our distractions. Turn off the television, log out of social media and put your phone on airplane mode or do not disturb mode or turn it off completely if you have that privilege. When working, focus on the task at hand and have self-control when facing distractions. If you know something is going to be a distraction when you start working, eliminate it before sitting down to work. Spend a set amount of time on social media and make important calls. If at any time you feel like you have too much to do or remember, do a brain dump. This means you write down anything that comes to mind whether it be a distracting thought or a task to be completed. When you do this exercise, your mind becomes free to focus on the task at hand so you can work without worry.
Manage your Time
Lack of time management is the third biggest killer of productivity. We make time for things that are important to us. Whether it be relationships or Facebook, if it’s important we will make it happen. We have 24 hours in a day. That is one thousand four hundred and forty (1440) minutes or eighty-six thousand four hundred (86,400) seconds if you want to be technical. Sit and evaluate your use of time. How much time did you spend scrolling through Instagram? How many of your minutes were meaningful? Did you waste it on frivolous activities like day dreaming in space? Scheduling your time will help you to get more done. Work with your body to determine which time of day you work better. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Scheduling the bulk of your work during those hours will help you to attain optimum productivity. Also, remember to take breaks to avoid burnout. You would be of no use to yourself if you are burnt out, tired or fatigued. Set a timer to help you stay on task. There are quite a few Apps that help with time management such as Rescue time which runs in the background and sends reports on how much time is used for actual work versus time spent on social media. Do not over schedule yourself, this means you may have to say no at times. If you use your time effectively, you may find you would have time left over to daydream without sabotaging your life’s dreams and goals.
You can achieve anything! Don’t let laziness, distractions or disorganization, hamper you from your goals. No matter how daunting, unnerving or intimidating a task or day or activity might seem, you can accomplish it with and the little faith and some elbow grease. So get off the couch, log out of social media, get your priorities in order and spring into action!