Using Productivity Actions
Now that you comprehend the 3 productivity actions more fully, you may start practising them. There are 5 keys to success:
⦁ Begin little, and aspire for tiny advances
⦁ Extravagantly reinforce each tiny success
⦁ Dismiss “failures” except to acquire knowledge out of them
⦁ Expect plateaus and lapsing
⦁ Stay at it!
⦁ Begin little and aspire for tiny advances
“Begin little” stands for practising the 3 productivity actions (a.k.a., “not procrastinating”) on no more than 2 or 3 tasks at a time and the tasks you practice on ought to be simple ones. Beginning with that novel you’ve been blocked on for 10 years is likely an unsound idea.
Household chores are an excellent thing to at the start practice on as we tend to procrastinate on them not out of dread, but merely because they’re ho-hum.
So practice not procrastinating on washing up the dishes or laundry (or mowing the lawn, or taking the automobile in for an oil change, and so forth.), if those are jobs you routinely procrastinate on.
(Practice actions #1 and #2 only, obviously you don’t wish to spend a lot of time doing chores.)
Easy personal care tasks like flossing and taking vitamins are additional great candidates for practice.
If the tasks you’re practising on appear embarrassingly little or trivial, you’re doing it precisely right! The key is to get used to the feeling of not procrastinating, and you’ll only have the chance to do so if you at first practice on activities that offer a high chance of success.
Likewise, pay attention to the (likely numerous) areas of your life where you don’t procrastinate, and observe the feeling of sedate self- command you have while approaching those tasks.
It’s that same feeling you’re aiming to arouse around the tasks you’re presently procrastinating on and are well on your way to resolving the issue.
(Yes, you’re aiming to produce particular feelings inside yourself. successful individuals consciously work to accomplish particular moods, as opposed to passively accepting whatever emotions happen to grab them. A lot of unsuccessful individuals, in contrast, don’t even recognize that that’s even possible to accomplish.)
Go on practicing the 3 productivity actions on easy stuff, and you’ll by nature get better at not procrastinating. You’ll then go less afraid, ambivalent and conflicted, and begin to make the essential shift from viewing procrastination as an inherent character defect to seeing it as a behavioral issue you may resolve.
In the meantime, getting the dishes done, flossing regularly, and so forth, will themselves have a beneficent outcome on your mood, and likewise empower you to arrive at more changes.
Only after you’ve gotten good at not procrastinating on the trivial junk should you start practicing it on your other ambitious endeavor. Now, it’s doubly crucial for you to begin small. If you’re a writer, don’t set out to put down an entire chapter, but only a page or paragraph.
Or, if you’re an entrepreneur, don’t aim to spend the whole morning doing sales calls, but only 10 minutes.
Put differently, when operating in the scary realm, begin very small.
And merely after you’ve gotten great at not procrastinating at tiny tasks, do you take on the greater ones. And only after you’ve gotten great at doing the actions for 10 minutes (or 5, or 2, or whatever works for you at first), do you begin practicing action #3 slowly working up your endurance so that you may do your scary work for 15, 20, 30, etc., minutes at a time.
If you abide by my advice to “begin little”, you’ll have many successes, by which I mean cases when you were able to reject procrastinating
and get right to work. It’s crucial, in those cases, to celebrate your accomplishment! Pat yourself on the back, indulge in a treat, and broadly make a fuss over yourself.
This sort of positive reinforcement not only advances your confidence and betters your mood, but helps imprint your accomplishment in your memory so that you may call on it when required. It doesn’t matter how little the accomplishment is.
Even if it’s something as easy as taking your vitamins precisely when planned or taking them at all, if you often neglect to give yourself at least a mental pat on the back. For greater accomplishments, make certain to make a huge fuss and give yourself some sort of tangible reward.
When a youngster fails to meet a goal, the mean parent tends to criticize and blame, while the good, effective parent provides compassion and understanding. The good parent likewise helps the youngster keep the failure in perspective, reminding him that the “failure” likely isn’t as dreadful as he thinks it is, and that there are plenty of other things he has succeeded at. With the good parent’s help, the youngster grows up to be a resilient grownup that is not so afraid of failure that he procrastinates.
You have to be your own good parent, which means that whenever you bomb at not procrastinating or another goal, you shouldn’t criticize or blame yourself, but rather respond with compassionate objectivity. Critique, depletes your self-regard, sabotages your self- assurance, mischaracterizes the issue, and only makes things worse. Rather, be a compassionate observer and analyst of your situation, holding in mind that there are frequently perfectly great reasons behind procrastination, even if the procrastination reaction itself isn’t optimal.
The proper reaction to failure is to ponder it just long enough to come up with a resolution so that the same thing doesn’t occur again:
A plateau is when you stay stuck at a level of accomplishment in spite of repeated attempts to move ahead. Lapsing is when you really lose ground and get less effective. Both are discouraging, and yet both are an inevitable piece of any personal growth process. If you’ve an “off” day, week, month or year, don’t pick apart, or shame or blame yourself: simply accept it for what it is, and hope to do better shortly.
Plateaus and lapsing frequently indicate that you’re setting too ambitious goals. If that’s indeed the case, the resolution is to go back to a prior level of achievement you’re comfortable with and remain there for a while till you find your confidence. Then, remember to set humbler and attainable goals in the future.
Plateaus and lapsing may likewise indicate that you’re experiencing personal or other issues that are interfering with your ability to do your work. Most of us may tackle only one major issue at a time and, let’s face it, a lot of issues, including sickness or a financial crisis, may take precedence even over making progress on our earnest dream.
If something does pull you away from your aspiration, just do what you have to do without shame or remorse or regret. Finally, you’ll be able to return to your work quite possibly bringing to it a richer perspective as a result of your “sabbatical”.
Those who succeed are forever those who hang in. Occasionally, they have to temporarily put their challenging dream aside while they work at other priorities. But they forever come back to it. They never quit and neither should you.
5 Success Hints
Tips to get you moving down the road to beat procrastination.
⦁ Forever start Your Day with a Schedule
Scheduling is crucial as vagueness opens the door to the sorts of fears and doubts that may lead to procrastination.
Ideally, you’ll know how to produce a manageable schedule that reflects your core values. If not, at least come up with a easy schedule that states specifically what you’re going to be doing or working on each hour of the day. Attempt to produce your schedule the night before so that the act of scheduling itself doesn’t itself become a sort of procrastination.
⦁ Be Prepared
The Boy Scouts got this one right. For the same reason as #1, above to prevent confusion that may throw you off your course you have to start your day with all the data, tools, and materials required to achieve your work right out there in front of you.
That signifies everything: books, paper files, PC files, phone numbers, writing implements, even paper clips. It ought to all be available, organized and in perfect working order. (Cellular phone charged? Pencils sharpened?)
Note: If, despite repeated tries, you’re unable to show up for work scheduled and prepared, that might be a sign that you’ve a high level of dread that’s causing you to procrastinate.
⦁ Approach Your Work Without Hesitation
Remember how productivity action #1 is showing up to work on time, and productivity action #2 is getting right to work on the right stuff?
While practicing those actions, attempt not to hesitate. Hesitation gives your thoughts time to wander, and if you’ve got a
procrastination habit, they’ll frequently wander directly towards your dreads. (Now you comprehend the meaning of the proverb “he who hesitates is lost.”)
Rehearse gliding over to your desk and beginning your work with no hesitation.
⦁ Remain Calm
Strong emotions, ricochet you off your course. They likewise make it harder for you to stay centered on the present so that you are able to practice the 3 productivity actions. Work, therefore, to stay calm as the clock ticks towards your start time. If you catch yourself feeling dread, anxiety or uncertainty, gently reassure yourself. (E.g., “I’m just going to write for 10 minutes – that’s all. Then I may take a break.”)
If necessary, put yourself in a little “trance” simply long enough for you to glide over to your desk and begin working, as our dreads are frequently strongest before we actually begin our work and disappear if we just persist for a couple of minutes.
⦁ Don’t Make Your Work Harder Than It Is
Don’t fall into the trap of presuming that procrastination is inevitable. Popular culture likes to portray the act of production as a sort of epic battle because it makes great drama, but that’s the inappropriate model to follow. Rather, you ought to approach your work with a light touch, and the experience ought to be like play: simple, safe and fun.
If your project appears scarily huge or crucial, attempt breaking it down into small no, tiny chunks and working on those one at a time, while brushing off, for the time being, the big picture. This sounds like petty advice, but it’s essential, and many successful ambitious dreamers have learned to do this mechanically. (And don’t forget to have fun!)
Frequently, all the same, when our work isn’t fun, it’s because we’re fearful or panicked, either about the work itself or something else in our life. As you now know, attempting to work past that dread is frequently futile, particularly if the effort is accompanied by self- criticism. Our only true course is to bravely face down and explore our dreads, and the conditions surrounding them.
Even in moments of non-motivation, act as if you’re extremely motivated.
This is because of a fantastic thing that behavioural scientists have discovered: that not only do our emotions order our actions, but our actions often order our emotions.
Research has demonstrated, for example, that we don’t simply smile because we’re pleased, we in reality get happier when we smile. That’s because the smile originates a sequence of hormonal and additional events that relaxes us and makes us feel great.
Professional sales people, who have to be “on” close to a hundred percent of the time in order to make their quotas, are really familiar with this phenomenon: they’re taught that their posture, expression and other physical attributes impact not only their mood but their customers’.
They’re taught to grin even when talking over the phone, as although the client on the other end of the line can’t see them do it, the
salesperson’s voice sounds much more forceful and dynamic when she grins. Try it.
A lot of salespeople, performers, athletes and other peak performers formulate a personal collection of tricks, rituals, and physical and mental exercises to help themselves get and stay pumped for their workday. You ought to do the same thing.
And here’s the frosting on the cake, the astonishing secret that empowered individuals in every field eventually learn: that with enough practice mimicking peak performance; you’ll actually begin experiencing the real thing more frequently.
Experts say that while we can’t operate at peak all the time, we may likely do so much more frequently than we recognize. Merely by practicing at performing at peak, you are able to train yourself to enter into peak much more easily and often.
And that will be the most astonishing reward of all, for all of your hard work.