What is your biggest challenge to productivity and how do you overcome it? (671) That is the question we asked a number of bloggers and here are their answers.
As a student, I was a master of procrastination, running down the clock as long as I could before beginning a project. What resulted was strong work and ridiculous levels of self-induced pressure. (I suppose that’s the academic version of living on the edge.)
The strategy that I now like to call granularity helped me to overcome my tendency toward procrastination, by making it possible to see a large project as a matter of many smaller, more manageable tasks.
My biggest challenge to productivity is actually getting started. I’ve found that once I can cross that threshold of actually beginning an activity I’ve been putting aside, it is much easier to keep going.
To try to overcome this tendency, I make sure to break down my Next Actions into very tangible and “doable” bits. Instead of trying to convince my mind that I have to “start that paper,” I can convince it that all I have to do is “develop super rough outline of ideas for paper.” Once I start that rough outline, more often than not it will carry over into actually writing the paper.
You may think your smart, but you can trick yourself easier than you think.
I have to close the door, turn off e-mail, close the web browser, and work on one project at a time.
I struggle mightily with distractions–since I work from home, other projects seep in. Mostly, my internet addiction rears its ugly head. I check my email and comments list incessantly. Sometimes the only solution is to NOT work at home– pick it up and get out of there! A “reward” basis works as well– i.e., do 500 words, get a cookie :)
Mary Beth Ellis from Blonde Champagne
I work from home, so my biggest challenge is home tasks interfering with work time. I overcome it by having a home office and simply shutting the door, but there are times when that isn’t enough. I usually try to commit to a certain number of hours of work per week and then just do those where it fits in.
Lingering in idle mode for too long. That happens when I don’t have a clear view of the desired end result or have doubt about the correctness or completeness of that view.
I overcome it by stopping what I do and start doing something entirely different. Go for a walk, work in the garden, file papers, clean something. My mind needs time to process the problem, and it usually comes up with answers within the hour as long as I do something that doesn’t require “processor time”.
Know yourself and know your habits. I get tired of working on one thing continuously, so I arrange my work in such a way that I switch between assignments. I still get the work done, but the variety makes it more interesting. So it’s more of I will get those three things done today rather then I will do #1 by 2 pm, #2 by 5 pm, and #3 by 8 pm.
I have a mind that likes to get as much data input into it as possible. The result is that if I’m doing research for an Unclutterer post, I’ll get caught up in learning about whatever it is I’m researching and forget about the writing. When I was doing research for a post on fireproof safes, I got lost on the Underwriters Laboratory website for close to five hours. Since that time, I’ve learned that a timer can be a good friend. I set it to go off every half hour or hour based on my needs. When it rings, it forces me to stop and think about how I’ve been spending my time. One of the best and most inexpensive tools I’ve found.
My biggest challenge to productivity is probably myself. I am so easily interested in so many different things, and sometimes just as easily disinterested; I have to contain and restrict my curiosity to get anything done. Feed readers are such an unhealthy addiction – mine has more feeds in it than I care to count – and curiosity probably will, one day, kill this cat.
Good question! My current biggest roadblock is discipline (being able to maintain steady, productive behavior in spite of how I feel). The contributing factors? A bunch including unwillingness to defer gratification, succumbing to distractions (heading down the rabbit hole), working on comforting but low value tasks, and low energy/motivation.
How to fix it? Whew! The patented “IdeaMatt Big Arse Text File” shows over sixty resources on the topic, so I have no excuse not to make progress on this. The one that’s helped so far is removing a major distraction by creating structure that makes it much harder to give in to (removing a program/account in this case).
Interruptions. Literally, people showing up at my door or calling me.
When I really need to concentrate, I shut my office door, or work where people can’t find me.
My biggest challenge to productivity would have to be lack of focus. I’m still trying to figure out how to overcome it! Mostly I manage it by scheduling in “lack of focus” time.
I do all the things that my colleagues, family and friends need me to do first. Those are people that I count on first, so why not get them what they need first? I also realized that my life is completely fluid, and always changing. I relaxed and stopped worrying about getting ahead. I take care of bills and work-related, money making tasks second. It’s become more gratifying to me.
Being very creative is both the source of much joy and much pain for me.
I love generating ideas and options. I truly hate saying no. But ultimately, the very definition of focus, productivity, discipline, and accomplishment is saying NO to everything that is not what is important right now. So I am learning to make peace with saying NO far more often than I say YES.