Have you fallen under the cultural spell of checking your email frequently, responding immediately to texts, and reading the day’s breaking news stories as they unfold? I’m going to boldly suggest that these habits may be limiting your productivity.
The first step to breaking this cycle is to raise your awareness level. Get curious: When you prepare to tackle a task, ask yourself what your intention is. If you begin with, “I must, I should, I have to,” odds are good that you will falter before you finish—and your experience will be unpleasant.
Have you imagined the doing of the thing to be worse than the reality? Has procrastinating become automatic no matter what you have to do? Do you have thoughts like, “I’ll get started after I check Facebook or the latest sports scores or…fill in your favorite delay tactic?” What does it feel like to get into that fidgety, unfocused frenzy before getting started? Drawing from my own experience, my energy feels dispersed and jittery. I feel unsettled.
I urge you to experiment. Sit down with your task (if, indeed, it is a sitting sort of project) and give yourself over to sustained focus. In this current climate where we’ve grown accustomed to flitting from one thing to the next, our attention spans mimicking butterflies, it can be a strange and welcome relief to hunker down and concentrate on what’s in front of you. Really.
I’ve been experimenting with just getting down to it—and it does take setting that intention—and it’s liberating, a welcome respite from my procrastinating ways. News flash: Digging in and focusing is more enjoyable that procrastinating. I urge you to try it. Let me know in the comments how it goes.
In my upcoming workshop “Jumpstart Your Productivity—Now!” I’ll share additional insights and tips on how to get the best from yourself so you can be more productive and squeeze more juice and satisfaction from your life. I’m holding this two-hour, experiential workshop twice: Tuesday, Oct. 11, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 15, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in North Berkeley. Use the links to register via Eventbrite. Investment is $17.