Hacking Productivity: Recognize Your Weaknesses to Crush Your Day

Procrastination is part of human nature. If we’re not interested in doing something, or we’re worried about how to do it, we lose motivation and put it off. There is science behind why we procrastinate, but the key to defeating it is recognizing some common roots of procrastination.

Let’s look at the three biggest, and some professional development tips to beat them.

The task seems overwhelming

Can’t figure out where to start? Then don’t! That’s the instinct you need to fight when faced with a project that seems massive. If you’re an entrepreneur, this can be amplified since you don’t have a boss to turn to. You might put off starting by performing low value tasks.

It helps to find someone to brainstorm with, especially someone not connected with the business, as they’ll have a fresh outside perspective. If you don’t have anyone handy, the best step is to identify the end goal, and determine some clear priorities, and then start on the biggest. 

You’re nervous about failing

It’s very easy to become paralyzed if you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing or that you’ll mess it up. Or perhaps you’re a perfectionist and are worried the work won’t meet your standards. Or, worse yet, you’re concerned that people with think less of you if you do a bad job. The trick is to recognize that the project is just the project, not a reflection of your self-worth! Do your work well, have high standards, but separate the project from yourself. 

You just don’t want to do it

Some tasks are downright boring. But breaking them up and then rewarding yourself can help. Rather than focus on the ten pages you have to write, for example, treat each paragraph, half-page, or page as a milestone and reward yourself with a break or snack or a few minutes of social time.

A great professional development hack is building a schedule using “If-Then Planning.” For example, “If it’s 11am, then I need to spend 15 minutes on my spreadsheets.” Now you’ve set a manageable and measurable goal.

Procrastination gets the best of everyone from time to time. If you break projects up into smaller goals, reward yourself for every small milestone, and ask colleagues, mentors or friends to help brainstorm when no solution is in sight, you’ll be able to stay ahead of it!

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