If you’re self-employed or even if you’re working toward self-employment, it’s important to represent yourself as a professional.
This can be difficult if you spend half of your time doing anything other than the work you tell everyone you’re doing.
We’re all guilty of procrastinating at times but if you’re going to be a true professional, we’re going to have to kick that habit and fast.
One thing I would never have predicted when starting this daily blog was just how much it would test my ability to remain focused so I guess that’s where we’ll start.
At the root of it, procrastination comes from our inability to maintain focus.
So how can we specifically target this in order to become more productive?
We create more stuff to focus on.
It sounds counterintuitive, I know, but by creating an annual focus, a monthly focus and a daily focus we’re able to manage our output in both micro (Smaller bitesize chunks) and the macro (The bigger picture).
By planning ahead –something I really need to work on– and working to a schedule, you’ll know that whatever it is you’re working on will need to be completed because tomorrow, you’ll be working on something else.
Break it Down
We touched on this already but it’s something that gets continually overlooked.
This week is the perfect example of how and why you should be breaking your work down into smaller chunks.
I would be lying if I told you I didn’t get off on instant gratification. It’s why I enjoy blogging so much. I can write and post the same day and there’s very little in the way of consequence for doing so.
The thing is, when I want to write something more substantial, an eBook for instance, it takes much longer due to the sheer volume of content that goes into it.
This week, I’m writing “There’s More to Building a House Than Laying the Bricks” in the knowledge that I’ll be compiling all these blog posts into a handy little compendium of tips and tricks.
Thus, hitting two birds with one stone and feeling great about it in the process!
Write Down and Swipe Right
I don’t condone using Tinder but if there’s one thing you can learn from it, it’s that the moment you swipe right, you instantly forget about the real-life person you just judged.
This is how you should approach new ideas when you’re in your zone.
It sounds odd— probably because I used Tinder to illustrate this point but you should absolutely treat your new ideas with the same brevity as you do Tinder dates.
Write them down in your little notebook, put it to one side and focus on the task at hand.
You can always come back to it again in your downtime.
Ring the Bell
Turn off all notifications on your phone. Put it in another room if you have to.
They’re fantastic pieces of technology and they afford us the ability to connect with people all over the world but that’s exactly why they are the single most distracting devices on the planet.
Put them aside until you’ve completed what you set out to do today and THEN, when you absolutely MUST socialise with strangers on the internet, go ahead.
This one is probably one of the most valuable things I’ve ever done.
Making yourself accountable for your work by actively telling people what you’re doing is a surefire way to make sure you get it done.
Whether that’s a group on Facebook, a friend or colleague, an accountability partner or your customers, if you tell people what you’re going to do and you don’t do it then you compromise your integrity.
If they’re good friends, they’re going to ask how your project is going and do you really want to be the dog that’s all bark and no bite?
Be the kind of person that takes action and admit when you fuck up.
Make way for the better person beneath that lazy shit exterior.
Change your environment
Do you find yourself being less productive depending on where you are?
A great way of tackling this is to take yourself out of your usual space.
Head to a park if the weather is good enough or, if you like the company of other productive people, try working at a coffee shop for the day.
My bedroom at home has two modes.
When the sofa bed is pulled out, it’s a comfy cinema room with a wireless keyboard and mouse set-up so I can work from bed.
As I’m sure you can imagine, this often leaves me looking like a melted potato when I fall asleep watching Youtube videos at night instead of actually doing my work.
When I find myself being less productive I mix it up by putting my bed into sofa mode and pulling my office chair to my desk.
This clears up the floor space and doesn’t compromise my comfort because I have an uber comfy office chair and a decent sofa for my downtime.
It’s not for everyone –nothing ever is– but having this kind of adaptable space has proven invaluable to my combative efforts against procrastination.
Put your social media on lockdown
Well done for turning your phone off earlier.
But I know that all you’ve done is opened up a tab on your browser just in case.
Stop doing this.
Stop opening social media tabs on the off chance that someone finds you interesting enough to post a comment on your wall or like your picture.
Who even gives a shit?
Exit that tab and put your mind toward something worthwhile.
They will still be there when you get back.
Surround yourself with productive people
“You are the sum of the five people you associate yourself with most.”
I rarely socialise these days but when I do, it’s with people who strive toward the same goals as I do.
My friends read the same books and follow the same productive lifestyle as I do.
We tend to follow the same people and actively encourage each other to reach for loftier goals.
Sure, that means we don’t get to see each other as often as we like but, when we do get together, we have plenty to talk about because we’ve achieved so much since we last got together.
Surrounding yourself with productive people doesn’t just make you more productive but it’s also infinitely more interesting than melting into a couch together, watching Netflix and bitching about how much you hate work.
If you don’t see these attributes in your friends then try leading by example.
If that’s still not working, maybe you need new friends?