Just start – how to overcome procrastination


I’ve been doing the Spring into Organising challenge for the past three weekends and even though I know this, I’m reminded all the time that I need to just start instead of feeling overwhelmed or procrastinating.

It’s spring here in South Africa (although it feels like summer) so the weather’s hot and that could be my excuse. Or it’s book club next weekend and that could be my excuse.

But I’ve been tricking myself in my usual way and saying I only need to do 15 minutes. Which, in most cases, means I do carry on with the task. But in other cases I actually get the whole space done in that time, especially if I’m not doing instagram stories at the same time 😉

Have you tried just starting? Before you know it, you’re doing something. You take out the chopping board and next thing you’re cooking an entire meal. Or you open a browser on your computer and you’re scrolling Facebook an hour later.

You see, Newton’s Law of inertia works both positively and negatively.

Newton’s Law of inertiaAn object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

Let’s be those “objects” that start in motion and continue staying in motion.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Marcia Francois (@organisingqueen) on

What are some of your excuses? Which stories do you tell yourself about why you can’t start or get something done?

Do you know how much sleep you need?

On a recent episode of the Best of Both Worlds podcast, Laura mentioned something about how her sleep is always around the 7 – 7.5 hour mark, on average.

I was slacking on my bedtime a few days last week but interestingly, when I checked my Fitbit stats, I realised I’m almost always around the 7.5 hour mark. And that it’s been that way for the last 2.5 years.

Yes, it takes discipline to actually go to bed because I’m a night owl and my natural tendency is to stay awake later because my brain is most awake then.

Yet, no matter how early I go to bed, I still fall asleep at roughly the same time unless I’m not well, and I wake after about 7.5 – 8 hours. I actually only set an alarm for two days every week. The rest of the time I wake around 7.

 

The trick for me is to stop doing other things to allow for reading time so that I can be sleeping by 11:30.

So my rule is – computer off by 10:30.

After the reading post published the other week, a reader asked why I need all my rules. The thing is I’m an upholder and discipline is my freedom. This might not resonate with any other type but other upholders will definitely understand.

I found I’d be getting to bed at least 30 minutes later when I didn’t enforce my computer rule because I forgot about tidying the desk, doing my bedtime routine, etc.

Do you know how much sleep you need? Do you get enough sleep? 

Most adults don’t get enough sleep and we’re all functioning (or not) at below-par levels of productivity and simply, life enjoyment.

Sleep helps our bodies to work better, helps us with weight loss when we’re trying to lose weight, helps us have clear, functioning minds and of course, helps us rest and recharge from day to day.

Gretchen Rubin has written and spoken on the podcast about bedtimes. She said something interesting in that once you set a bedtime (we now know mine is 11:30), if you ignore that bedtime, then you’re consciously choosing to do what you were doing instead of going to bed.

This week’s coaching challenge for you:

– What is your usual wake-up time?
– Work back at least 7 hours. That is the time you have to be asleep by.
– How long do you need before falling asleep? Subtract the amount of hours.
– Also subtract time for your bedtime routine – face, teeth, reading, etc.
– For the next week, set an alarm or reminder in your phone or computer that says “go to bed”.
– Keep track of your productivity the following day as you start getting enough sleep.

How to be productive on a daily basis

We all have days when we’re not in our sweet spot of optimum productivity but my hope in sharing this post with you is that those days will be few and far in between the productive ones.

These are all things that have worked for me; even if just one of these tips helps you be more productive, I’ll consider the writing of this post worthwhile.

clock

Start your day with intention

When you start your day, decide how you want for it to go.

Do you need to make lots of decisions today? Do you need to just work and get things done? Do you need to connect with people and build relationships? Do you have to have hard conversations? (these are all aspects of a typical day for me)

Once you have the intention for the day, you might even want to dress for it. On a day of hard decisions/ conversations, I often wear red to the office 🙂

Always have a list

A list helps you focus on your priorities.It doesn’t have to be boring. Make it fun by using brightly coloured pens, write in fun notebooks or on a post-it note.

The reason we have a list is to help you focus.

If you only need to focus on two things today, then your list has two things. I suggest you only put 3 – 6 items on your list so that you’ll get through them. Your daily list is not the space for a brain dump – save the extraneous items for your master to-do list.

planner

Eat your frogs

Frogs are those things you find difficulty in doing. Eating the frog means doing those things first.

Usually these are things like dealing with the difficult client query first thing in the morning…

The point of eating the frog is this – even if your day goes pear-shaped, at least the important things got done early on.

Mix up rewards with work

For every x number of minutes you work, do something fun to relax.

I love tea. So I reward myself with a cup of tea (not every hour) after a block of really good work.

Taking that break refreshes you and gives you an energy burst.

You’ll have to experiment to find your optimum block of working time – mine is about 2 hours. I tried 45 minutes as I’d read all over the place and I’d always feel like I was just getting into the zone where things flow when it was time for a break. So I extended my work block and I am far more productive.

What are your tips to be productive?

Is this something you struggle with? Why?

3 things I do that help my productivity

I adored reading this blog post from Ramit Sethi. It’s one of my favourite blog posts of all time.

One of the main things that were insightful for me is that fundamentals are first, second is psychology and third are the details. Most people focus on the details when they actually need to start focussing on fundamentals.

Fundamentals are things like sleeping enough, psychology is being able to say no or set good boundaries, and the details are what type of notebook or app or calendaring system I use to plan my life.

In that post he actually says that we need to focus on those details only 10% of the time and I had an aha moment or two.

Because seeing the % split like that puts things in perspective, and also I’ve been subconsciously focussing on a lot of it already.

I thought it would be fun to share 1 thing in each of those areas that I do, and then you can share your things too.

Fundamentals

What I do: I sleep an average of 7 hrs 30 a night. You all know I diligently track my sleep because when I stop measuring, it all goes off track.

In this category we also have environment, soul care and exercise, in addition to managing your stress.

Psychology

What I do: I have very good boundaries and I know when to say yes and no.

Also in this category is knowing if you’re a time optimist or realist, and unplugging from social media when it starts being detrimental for you.

Those top two areas aren’t very exciting but they’re so very necessary.

Details

Well, you know I’m doing a hybrid this year of my bullet journal and my shining year planner. And then I added a gorgeous purple moleskine. My favourite pens are both Pentel energel and Pilot G2. Lately my absolute, super favourite pen is my metallic violet Pilot G2, which you have seen in almost all my instagram posts the last month or two 🙂

Over to you!

What do you think about the triad of productivity?

What are the things you do in each of those three areas? Very curious minds would love to know!

Are you getting enough sleep?

I realised on Sunday night as I got into bed at 12:30 am that I’ve been slacking on my bedtime.

Yes, I’m a night owl so my natural tendency is to work late because my brain is most awake then.

However, I work full-time so I don’t have the luxury of living totally in tune with my body clock.

I used to have a rule about my bedtime and, to be honest, it still exists. I’m just not following it all that well.

I like to be sleeping by 12 so I need to be in bed by 11 since I read for an hour every night – bliss!

And here’s my rule – computer off by 10:30.

I found I’d be getting to bed at least 30 minutes later when I didn’t enforce my computer rule because I forgot about tidying the desk, doing my bedtime routine, etc.

So my question to you is this – are you getting enough sleep?

Most adults don’t get enough sleep and we’re all functioning (or not) at below-par levels of productivity and simply, life enjoyment.

I need 7 hours a night. On the weekends I get an extra hour and sometimes even an afternoon nap with the babies, also known as my two-year-old twins.

Do you know how much sleep your body needs?

The other day Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project, wrote a post asking about bedtimes.

She said something interesting in that once you set a bedtime (we now know mine is 11 or 12, depending how you look at it), if you ignore your bedtime, you’re then consciously choosing to do what you were doing instead of going to bed.

I love it!

So here’s this week’s coaching challenge:

– What is your wake-up time?
– Work back at least 7 hours. That is the time you have to be asleep by.
– How long do you need before falling asleep? Subtract that time.
– Also subtract time for your bedtime routine – face, teeth, reading, etc.
– For the next week, set an alarm or reminder in your phone or computer that says “go to bed”.
– Keep track of your productivity the following day as you start getting enough sleep and let me know how you feel by posting in the comments.
– If you need help getting control of your time, let me coach you! Email me now.Google

3 myths about lists

There are two types of people in this world – those who like lists and those who don’t.
This post is for those who don’t like lists

lists are boring

A list is only as boring as your imagination! You can and should put some fun things on there as well as tasks to do.

I recently started putting things like “finish James Patterson book” on my weekend lists because all I was doing was chores.

I loved the change so much that I now regularly put fun things like “phone _____ for a lovely, long chat” and “paint fingernails” on my lists just to jazz them up.

lists are a bind because they have tons of items on them

Well, that depends on the type of list.

A master list and a checklist often do have tons of things on them but a daily to-do list really should have no more than about 6 items.

I’ve shared before how when I only have 6 items on my to-do list, I get through them all easily but when I try to be SuperWoman and add lots more, I get even less than 6 done!

I showed a coaching client my diary once and she was amazed that I almost always put less than 6 things on my list.

When you find the right list, your life will change

No, no, no! The list is only the tool.

I used to subscribe to tons of productivity sites and really, many of them were all about the perfect tool.

A tool is only something to help you get something else done.

Many people are so intent on creating the perfect list or finding the perfect planner that they get into an analysis paralysis mentality.

Because when you’re obsessing about the perfect to-do list, you stop actually doing the things on the list, right?

The truth is it doesn’t matter what you use as long as you get it down somewhere – whether on a post-it note, in a gorgeous notebook or in your phone.

So how am I doing with my lists?

I still use a weekly list and take off up to 6 items (sometimes a lot less) to do in a day.

My new favourite thing is doing a mind-map list for my weekly planning. I do a spoke for each area of my life – husband, babies, house, work, business, health and fitness, etc. And then, off each spoke, I make new mini-branches with things I have to do.

mindmap

Do you harbour any other myths about lists?

Are you a list-maker?

Are your lists working for you?

How to become 50% more productive

There’s a little-known secret that, once understood, will absolutely change the way you run your life.

That secret is playing to your strengths by using your natural energy cycles.

When you work with your energy cycles instead of against them, you save time because you do things faster, with more clarity and with greater focus.

Quickly grab a piece of paper and answer these four questions:

1. Are you a night owl or an early bird?

If you’re a night owl like me, then plan your life so that you start the day off slowly and work up to your peak. Or vice versa.

2. When do you do your best creative work?

I don’t know if the real creative types will agree with me but I think that any form of writing uses the creative side of our brains.

When I need to do some writing, I’m generally great first thing in the morning (well, for me…) or very late at night (9pm onwards). If I try to write from lunch-time onwards, it takes me at least double the time, if not longer.

When I leave the project and do it at one of my prime writing times, the ideas flow easier and the quality is just better.

3. When do you do your best logical/ reasoning work?

This involves things like budgeting, playing with spreadsheets (that’s what I call it to make it seem more fun!), working with numbers, etc.

Figure this out and as best as you can, try and schedule these kinds of tasks when that side of your brain is awake and kicking!

4. When do you prefer to exercise?

Um, never 😉 Okay, let me rephrase: if you had to exercise, when would be the best time for you?

This usually works the same as number 1 but if you find that if you’re stuck, lacking motivation or just feeling overwhelmed, you might want to add in some exercise to jump-start yourself.

This week’s coaching challenge

a. Pick a task you’ve been procrastinating on or that you just can’t seem to get going with.
b. After you’ve identified the type of task, work on it at a different time of day.
c. Get it done 😉

You can do it!

Marcia Francois is a speaker and time management coach. If you want to break out of overwhelm, I’ll show you how to get more organised and save time by getting the right things done. Visit http://marciafrancois.com for your free Organising Success Pack worth $37.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...