We all have admin tasks that seem to linger, undone, for longer than they ought to. Right now, I need to write a letter to HMRC, it should take five minutes, maybe less, but it’s been on my list for at least a month. Procrastination wrecks productivity. Take a look at my five favourite ways to turn yourself into a productive anti-procrastination ninja!
1.’Power Hour’ is Gretchen Rubin’s strategy for dealing with these tasks. Part of her weekly routine, this hour sees her work steadily through her list of neglected, non-urgent tasks. You can find more on this powerful productivity technique on her blog.
2. Rewards, or biscuits can help too. Whatever your preferred reward, promise yourself something good after working for fifteen minutes. The hardest part of any work is starting, after breaking the fifteen-minute barrier, you deserve a treat. This could be seen as bribery, but if it helps your focus and time management, then it works for me.
3. ‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.’ Aristotle. Routines are a powerful way to get things done. You, I hope, brush your teeth regularly, (especially if you reward yourself with biscuits all day), but you don’t wake up worrying about plaque. You don’t decide to brush your teeth, you just do it. You’ve built the habit over years, reminding yourself over and over, making it a non-negotiable part of your routine. If you have work that you’re putting off, use the power of habit to help you. Make yourself do something every day for a month, and soon it will be harder to skip it than to do it.
4. ‘The most effective way to do it, is to do it.’ Amelia Earhart. A lady that clearly got on and did things. The longer you put off a task, the harder it seems. My letter is an easy, quick task, but I’ve been procrastinating for so long now, that it seems more daunting in my head. All the time-management tricks in the world can’t beat a swift, self-administered, kick up the bum, and the decision to make a start.
5. Can you outsource the work? Outsourcing can be helpful in improving your productivity. If it eats up a lot of your time, or always falls off the bottom of your to-do list, then maybe you should shift it off your plate altogether. What if you paid someone to undertake some of these tasks? If you can outsource it, it frees you up for the parts of your work that you love.
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