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Categorystop procrastinating

Time Management Strategies to End Procrastination

If procrastination is your friend, then you know sometimes the struggle with productivity is real. One common misconception about procrastination is that stems from laziness. The reality is not that simple; in fact, the true nature of procrastination for most people lies in feeling overwhelmed.

Luckily, there are ways to help you manage these feelings so that they do not control your life. The following tips will not only help you stop procrastinating, but will also eliminate feelings of being overwhelmed, making you feel more in control of both your professional and personal life. Prepare to cross those items off of your to-do list for good!

1. Clarify your goals.

It is so easy to become overwhelmed and start procrastinating when we aren’t clear on our goals. Whether it be personal, professional, or business goals, being unclear about the desired outcome often leads us to haphazard decision making without any long-term vision. When we set clear goals, we are able to hone in on a clear plan of action to achieve them. This minimizes procrastination by clarifying priorities, enabling you to get things done.

2. Break down big projects into bite size pieces.

When starting a big project, breaking it down into smaller increments helps us get started without allowing the bigger picture to overwhelm us. For example, if you build websites and you just dive into a project without a plan, you’re going to have a hot mess on your hands. You can solve this problem by first designing the layout of the website, then having photos taken, creating graphics, writing the copy, and so on. The key is to work on each of these tasks separately, allowing you to focus on one thing at a time.

3. Automate and Create Systems                                                                       

Systems and automation should be a way of life for all of us. You can get twice as much done in half the time. Yes, really! For me this means, automating my grocery delivery so it shows up at the same time each week and having automatic bill pay. These are things I don’t have to think about or spend time on–they just get taken care of. If you’re working with clients, you can use a system such as dubsado to automate the onboarding process. This frees up more of your time and decreases the chances that you’ll procrastinate getting the job done.

4. Try out a productivity method.

These are different than system automations or project plans. You need a system that you can follow that will allow you to be more productive while you’re sitting at your computer working. These methods range from calendar blocking, the pomodoro technique, and a new one I’ve been working with is the 5-3-1 method. This is where you choose 1 big, 3 medium, and 5 small tasks or goals for your day. In my case, the big one may be to edit a youtube video; the medium ones may be to wash my car, create a new client form, and write a youtube script; and the 5 small ones might be to make 3 phone calls and return 2 emails.

This method has been working well for me. I will sometimes combine it with the pomodor technique which is where you set a timer for 25 minutes and then take a 5 minute breaks. You repeat this cycle a few times and then give yourself a 10-15 minute break. Using a productivity method really holds you accountable for the time spent on each task, so you will be motivated  to accomplish more.

5. Have an established routine. 

“Successful people are simply those with successful habits.” –Brian Tracy

Morning routines are huge in the online space right now because they help you start your day off on the right foot. However, I do not think that a morning routine is the only answer. The key to this method is to develop certain behaviors and habits that signal that it’s time to buckle down and get to work. So for some people that means establishing a routine for right when you to the office. Or, maybe it’s a routine after work that prepares you to work on your side hustle. Regardless of when you need it, what’s important is to have an established routine that signals it’s time to get into productivity mode.

6. Take a day off and practice self care. 

There are many entrepreneurs that preach work hard, 7 days a week. Then there are others that tell you that you can work 4 hours a week. The truth is often somewhere in the middle. I can tell you from personal experience that not taking a day off will come back to bite you. You don’t necessarily need a day off each week, but I do recommend at least one day every couple of weeks where you can unplug an do something nice for yourself.  This is especially important if you own your own business, work a stressful job, or even if you’re in college. Finding the right work-life balance is essential for preventing burnout.

We would love to hear from you! Comment below and tell me when you have been overwhelmed with a big project. For even more content like this, check out my YouTube channel where I create videos to help you achieve a life you love and a business that thrives!

How to actually accomplish your goals by creating an action plan.

How to actually accomplish your goals by creating an action plan

Let’s talk about your goals and goal setting for a second. You remember… the ones you set at the beginning of the year! Have you started on them yet? If you’re like most people, you’ve already given up, or you will within the next few weeks. At least that’s what all the “experts” say.

The truth is, it’s hard to set and accomplish those BIG goals. We get so use to our routines and adding anything new can feel like a cumbersome task. I want to help. So, here’s one of my favorite ways to actually accomplish big goals. It’s all about the action plan.

Creating a solid action plan for your goals is the number one way to get it all done.

If you missed my previous blog where we listed out our goals, you can check it out by clicking below.

 How to set goals and accomplish them.

I also have a FREE Goal Planning Worksheet you can download that will walk you through creating your action plan. Click the link below and I’ll email it to you right away!

Download your FREE Goal Setting and Action Plan worksheet!

This process does require work on your part, so I want you to get excited about this and comment down below that you’re ready to work.

The goal is to list your 5, 3, and 1 year goals down on paper (or somewhere on your computer/smartphone for those techies out there). Start with your 5 year goals. Imagine what you want your life to look like in 5 years from now. Write it all down! Then, you’ll write down your 3 and 1 year goals. Think of your 3 and 1 year goals as milestones to your 5 year goals. At the end of the process, you should have between 3-5 goals per year. Don’t try to cram anymore than that into your life! You’ll get overwhelmed and burn yourself out.

Next, use the sheet from the action plan worksheet to write down every step you’ll need to complete for each of your goals. We even threw in some suggested questions to help you get those juices flowing and determine the steps your gonna need to take. If it’s easier, you can check out my video where I walk you through this process.

Let’s get back to the steps.

For each goal, you should have 10 – 20 tasks or steps. This includes listing out people you need to talk to that can help you reach each of your goals. Some of your goals may require you to learn some new skills. Make sure you account for those small details.  The idea is to make each of the steps small enough that they are easily achievable and lead to smashing the big goals.

After listing those steps out, we then need to put them in sequential order. One being the first step, and the last step being your big goal. Plus, I want you to set a deadline for each of those steps. A real deadline with a date and time. Make sure these dates are attainable. If you know you’re going on vacation in June, don’t schedule a step during that time.  Don’t set yourself up for failure.

Do the same thing for your 3 and 5 year goals!

BAM, now you have your very own action plan! But, don’t get too excited. There’s one more step we need to do. Put these steps and deadlines on your calendar. Block off time to work on each of these steps. If one of your steps includes making a phone call, block that time on your calendar to make that phone call. Calendar blocking is a great method. If you need guidance on calendar blocking, guess what…we have video on that too. You can check it out here.

How to Stop Procrastinating and Be More Productive

How to Stop Procrastinating and Be More Productive

Being productive means different things to different people. Whether it’s starting your own business, finishing a college degree or just getting more done in a day, then this post is for you. Here are four ways to stop procrastinating and be more productive.

1. Determine your goal

You spent all day watching Netflix on a Saturday, but you know you need to finish an assignment for school or work on a website for your business? To combat procrastination and increase productivity you need to identify your big goal. Are you working on a graduate degree? Then that paper is one step closer to reaching your goal of graduating. Do you need to work on a website for your business? The end goal of having the website for your business is to draw customers in so you can create the life you want. So, spending an hour working on your website versus watching the latest episode of the Real Housewives, is a more productive use of your time.

2. Know your why

Why are you trying to achieve a graduate degree? Why do you want a promotion at work? Whatever the goal is you need to know your why. Do you need the degree to make a career change? Are you ready to transition into working for yourself, and you need a website so you can let the world know about your business? Knowing your why will help keep you motivated in working towards the big picture.

3. Identify the little steps and block off your time.

What steps do you need to take to reach your goal? If you are seeking a promotion at work what steps do you need to take to get that promotion? Do you need to increase your sales or the hours you work? Make a plan and block off time on your calendar to make it happen.

4. Get Excited

Now, you may not be excited about having to work on your website, finish an assignment for school, or work extra hours, but surely you will be excited when your website is done or you get a promotion at work which typically means more money!!!! Get excited about the big goal. It will help you stay motivated when the procrastination tries to sneak in. Let the excitement of the end goal fuel you to complete those small tedious tasks when you’re simple not in the mood.

 

Productivity Methods for Your Professional and Personal Life

Productivity Methods for Your Professional and Personal Life

Christmas 2017

I received a label maker from my spouse. It brought me more excitement than the Walkman and Paula Abdul tape I received when I was 9. Upon opening my label maker, I started labeling things in my home. Currently, the shelves in my kitchen and linen closet are labeled, and yes even my fridge. I have also tackled my home office and spare room. It didn’t take long for me to realize I have a slight obsession for organization, efficiency, and productivity…who would have thought! The simple act of having labeled bins in the fridge has cut down on a lot of confusion in my house. We have also reduced food waste just by including a bin labeled “Leftovers.” It has been a win-win for efficiency and productivity.

My obsession for productivity and efficiency spills over into many other aspects of my life. If there is better way to do something, I want to know about it. Most importantly, I want to try it out. While in graduate school, I was feeling overwhelmed by the twenty plus chapters I needed to read each week. After a couple of semesters of getting up at 4 am to read before work, I was on a quest to find a more efficient way to get my work done. I took to my favorite social media platform – YouTube. This is where I discovered the Pomodoro Technique.

Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980’s to help individuals stay productive and focus on one task at a time. Here are the items you will need to begin utilizing the Pomodoro Technique. A timer, a sheet of paper, a writing utensil, and materials for your chosen task. Remember this technique is to be done only while focusing on one task at a time. Multi-tasking is not an option.

Once you’ve determined your task, just set your timer for 25 minutes and start working. I use the timer on my cell phone. I suggest turning your phone on airplane mode, to help cut down on interruptions from calls, texts, or social media notifications. You can also use a productivity timer.  When the timer goes off, stop working, check off your sheet of paper, and take like a five-minute break. Do what you want, take a walk around the building, or get an afternoon cup of coffee. After you have completed this process four times, then take a 30-minute break. From there you just repeat the process as many times to complete the task. I use this same technique in my business. When I am up against a deadline and need to accomplish a lot of work over a short period of time, I have found this method to help in reducing not only distractions, but also getting a lot done.

The Action Method

The next technique is The Action Method. The Action Method was created with creative professionals and entrepreneurs in mind and is also effective for personal projects. The premise behind this method is to choose action over ideas. Everything you need to work on is considered a project. Do you need to submit a proposal to a new client? Consider it a project. Do you need to go over to moms and do some repairs? Consider this is a project too. For every project, there should be action steps, references, and back burner items. Action steps begin with an action verb such as “perform”, “write”, or “contact.” References are notes, ongoing email strings, handouts, and other items you need to refer to complete the final project. Lastly, there are back burner items. These are items that are not actionable at the current time. They are ideas for a potential client, future projects, or other growth strategies. Putting those items as an action step does not serve you in completing your current project.

For example, one of my current projects is writing operational procedures for a local organization. While writing these procedures, I note any ideas to help streamline their processes on a separate document. This is my back burner list. These ideas do not impact my writing of the procedures, but they may serve as future ideas to help the organization with efficiency.

There are several ways to organize projects while using the Action Method. Actionmethod.org has a series of dot grid books and journals for purchase. My preferred method is to set up project folders on a google drive that I can access from anywhere. I create a main folder with the project name and keep three documents with in that folder – Action steps, references, and a back burner list.

Do you have a favorite productivity method? If so, tell us about it in the comments.