5 Productivity Tips to Avoid

We’ve all been there: unshaven, sitting in pyjamas, having had a wonderfully productive day at the laptop — clearing up, managing files, uninstalling more useless software that seemed like a good idea to install at the time.

You know — generally feeling pretty damn good about ourselves, despite missing both breakfast & lunch and having survived on a diet of liquid coffee beans.

Then through the window we spot our partner getting home from work. The realization hits that we thought we were being productive but the stark reality we face is a vision of ourselves through someone else’s eyes.

Unkempt, unproductive, and unpaid for that day, too!

If you’ve ever suffered from procrastination you might recognize yourself in this rather unpleasant scenario. Rescue yourself and your self-esteem with these 5 simple productivity tips you should avoid at all costs!

  1. Use the latest productivity app. There are so many productivity apps out there that to even try to test them all out to find a fit for your needs is an act of procrastination in itself. And it’s likely to send you down a rabbit hole forever if you let it. Gantt chart, spreadsheets, time trackers, mind maps, Pomodoro timers, cloud drives, collaboration tools —the list goes on and on. Forget about finding the best — just grab what works and make it fit. I use a timer if I am in a distracted mood. I use Excel spreadsheets to track finances, content creation, freelance work and projects. I use Google Drive and Dropbox for storage of files and sending attachments. I use Word for the majority of my freelance writing and yWriter for my attempts at fiction. That’s it — no need for anything fancy.
  2. “Think Big” and Aim high. Yes, I did say that. Be realistic — if you shoot for the moon it’s true you may end up among the stars, but you may fall so far short of your goal that your self-belief takes a nose dive. Positivity affects action and action increases positivity. It’s a voracious Catch 22 and the only way into it is to choose something with a positive effect on your bottom line that you can get done today — then go do it.
  3. Make a plan. Forget wasting hours and hours planning your future impeccably. Decide what you want to be, who you want to be or where you want to be and do every day whatever it is you need to get there. Run every day. Write every day. Work out every day. Vary your routines (how you do those things) so that you don’t get burned out doing the exact same thing every day — but recognize that you are what you do. If you are forever tweaking your website, you’re not a writer. If you are waiting to learn one last thing before reaching out to potential business partners, you’re not in business. If you feel too fat, too old, too weak or too incapable to run today and you give in to that emotion; you’re not a runner.
  4. Prioritize work. Get up early and work late, say the success coaches. That’s all good but it’s not the hours you put in — it’s what you put into the hours. Decide on what’s vital to do and do just that. Then plan around that task for that day. Make sure you wash, clothe and feed yourself before you start work. If you don’t, you let work bleed into all areas of your life and without a work/life balance you can’t separate one from the other. Soon, every small failure bleeds from one part of your life into the other. There’s no emotional separation of a bad run or a fight with your partner from your work — and you begin to feel negative about your whole life instead of recognizing how inconsequential a temporary glitch in one area.
  5. Avoid procrastination. It’s unavoidable and you are going to get so hung up about it that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you procrastinate, do so in a productive manner. Right now I just completed a run, a workout and had breakfast. I’m prcrastinating before I begin work by writing this article — which serves the dual purpose of me being creative, sharing my advice and getting warmed up for my day’s freelance writing.

Now it’s time to hit the shower and come out fighting.