When it comes to personal productivity, most of us have room for improvement. But before we can effectively create better time management habits and ultimately make things better, we must recognize and acknowledge the why. What are you doing or not doing today that prevents you from being productive?
It’s time to work smarter and eliminate the barriers that hold you back.
Common Roadblocks You Can Overcome
1. Tasks have no home. You haven’t set a specific time aside in which to do the tasks that need to be done. Lists provide a reminder of what you need to do – but they won’t get done until you actually schedule them on your calendar.
2. You set aside the wrong time. Are you working against your energy? Some of us are morning people, others night people. Align your tasks with your energy levels.
3. You miscalculate how long tasks take. We often think tasks take less time than they actually do. It’s a common issue. Be realistic about what you can accomplish in a day and add some buffer time for the unexpected.
4. You’re the wrong person for the job. Do you operate under the premise that you need to do it all? Do you think asking for help is a sign of weakness? Or maybe just looking for a way to save some money? Your time is valuable, so put it to work on the things that really matter! Learn to delegate or outsource low-value tasks or projects that fall outside your scope of expertise.
5. The task is overly complex. It’s human nature to avoid tasks that are too complex or cumbersome. They often take a lot more time. Finding big blocks of time in your day to work on them makes it easy to understand why we put them on the back burner! The best solution is to chunk complex tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces – then attack them over a period of time. One-hour blocks over seven days often work better than a seven-hour block on one day!
6. You can’t remember what you have to do. If you don’t have a method to capture ‘to do’ items in one place, easily and effectively, chances are you will miss important tasks because you simply won’t remember. Kill the post-it notes that get lost or forgotten. Your phone is full of applications for to-do lists. Choose one and your to-do list will always be close at hand!.
7. Your space is unorganized. If the physical environment in which you work is disorganized and cluttered, it will steal a huge amount of time and energy from your day. If you spend a lot of time ‘looking for stuff’ to get started or finish a project, then it’s time to organize your workspace. Can’t do it alone, hire a professional organizer to help you!
8. You have unclear goals and priorities. Without clear goals, you have no basis for making decisions on how you spend your time or prioritizing the many choices you face on a daily basis.
9. You have an unrealistic workload. Sometimes life does overload you and usually (or hopefully) these are temporary. Recognize it and delegate or eliminate the non-essentials during these times.
10. You are in transition. Life changes sometimes make it difficult to determine how to invest your time. The best way to overcome this is to re-identify your goals and create a roadmap for the change.
11. Your work environment is full of interruptions. Being easily accessible or readily available has its drawbacks. Recognize this and plan for it. Create a block of time each day that is interruption free and under your control – even if you must leave your office to get it.
12. You need to be a Helper. Assisting others personally or professionally can make your life rich and rewarding. But only when it’s kept in balance. Too much can make you resentful and overwhelmed. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own need to be appreciated and feel valuable that we don’t let other people help us. You empower people when you allow them to contribute, so let others help you too!
13. You love creating. You keep starting projects but have a hard time finishing all or any of them. But half-finished projects don’t deliver results and the sense of accomplishment that comes with getting things done. This actually zaps energy and hurts productivity. Get some results-oriented people involved with your projects — employees, colleagues or a business coach can help. Spend some time with people who love getting things done.
14. You have a need for perfection. Not all tasks are created equal. Do you feel compelled to do everything at the same level of excellence? If you set the same high standards for every task, you will not finish anything. Adjust your standards based on the specific tasks. Some are worth your extra effort, some are not. Remember, sometimes good is good enough!
15. You have a fear of losing creativity. Some people fear that imposing structure or routines in their lives will squelch their creativity. As a result, their lives are chaotic and often stressful. You need to learn to trust that you can put structure in your schedule and still be creative. You don’t have to plan every minute and hour, but you can map out a general rhythm to your day.
The first step to making some changes comes from recognizing the need to do so. Don’t try to fix them all at one time. Focus on one then move to the next.
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