Every day I see so many info about productivity it almost makes me wonder why I’m reading all these things
instead of actually being productive. If you’re like me and your FB timeline is crammed full of useful articles on how to get sh*t done in 1.5 seconds instead of 8 hours, you know what I mean.
Being productive (and feeling that way) is a big deal; in today’s world we all have a million things to do and very little time to get everything in place. And there are a plethora of 1,2,5,25-step hacks that people have invented to get us there. I, personally, have tried a few and I have to say I find them to be beneficial though, I’m willing to note that just the decisive step to try something and attempt to stick to it also has its role here.
So what do most of these productivity strategies target? What you should be doing, vs. what you’re actually doing right now (which is not being productive). However, I have noticed that the majority of these systems fail to accentuate the process of getting stuff done: and understanding the process is vital for us to get anything done, because if we don’t understand the mechanics of what needs to happen, we are surely going to waste a whole bunch of time and effort, trying to figure out how to do it. Which is mostly how we all spend our days anyway; searching for solutions and compromises.
That’s why I decided to write this short post as a brief reminder to you and me both, that we need a plan. Not just smashing our heads against walls over and over until the key magically fits into the lock, but a full-blown strategy on how to accomplish tasks. And a plan can only be devised if we know the process of accomplishment…
Define the problem. This is the first step towards getting stuff done: figure out what needs to get done. This might seem like a no-brainer for smaller tasks, but lots of times it’s not as easy as it sounds: if we have a larger task we need to understand the criteria of success for it (a.k.a., what would the ideal result be). So, step one is to just think about it: do research if you have to and pinpoint the most important must-have’s. And this pinpointing usually leads to understanding the steps how to get there. Write them on post-it’s, organize them in any way you see fit until you have a very clear idea of the main plan.
Make time. Now that you know more or less what you want to accomplish, it’s time to actually plan for it. This is important because it’s the thing that really kills procrastination. Most of us are capable of slacking on something forever unless if it’s on the calendar. So, just put it there. See if you can fit time to get it done every day/week/month depending on the goal at hand and just treat it as seriously as you would treat any important work assignment. Don’t allow any distractions during your dedicated time (even if it’s just 5 minutes): focus completely.
Work. Just start right now! Break the larger must-do’s into smaller steps and tackle them with enough intensity, that you end up feeling like you really made progress today. This is a very good way to keep yourself accountable: did you get what you had in mind for today done? If not, why not? How can you do better tomorrow? Don’t stretch too far in the future; just take it one day at a time. And, most importantly, don’t forget to reward yourself for the progress you make: this not only gives you a well-deserved break but it solidifies in your head the thought that you are working and getting things done!