Making yourself more productive.



Being under pressure at work can be stressful. You have too much to do and you don’t have enough time.

 

Learning the difference between urgent and important is vital if you are to become more productive.


If you are one of the many thousands of us who constantly check your emails, immediately respond to every query from colleagues, clients and even friends then you can’t be concentrating on those things that are important. If something is so urgent, wouldn’t your colleague, client or friend have picked up the phone?

 

Right! So, we now know the emails can wait a while until the important jobs are out of the way. Some people have been known to put an out of office message saying that ‘I will next be checking my emails at 4pm this afternoon, if your email is urgent, please ring me.’ Would that work for you?

 

Equally, are you one of the many thousands of us who write a ‘to-do’ list every day and then pick off the ten easy ones only to wonder what you’ve really achieved – with the important stuff still outstanding?


The difference between urgent and important.

Urgent tasks:

 

There is demand for your immediate attention all the time – daily deadlines, answering phone calls and important texts, emails from your boss, emails from your best clients, social media messages needing a reply. All of these feel important but often some are not.

We are drawn to these tasks because they make us feel wanted and important; people want a reply from us but do they need that reply right now?.

Important tasks:

These can be less dramatic with no alarms or drama like urgent tasks. It’s easy to ignore them. But rather than someone else’s goals, important tasks contribute to your long-term goals whether these are professional or personal and could include hitting those sales figures, completing that project, getting more financially secure, and advancing your career.


If that seems like an easy distinction we’re often quick to confuse the two. If you are checking your email so often but it’s preventing you from getting in the actual work done you mistaking urgency for importance.


What you can do.

Have a look at your to do list each day and grade each task with a ‘u’ or an ‘i’ according to their importance or urgency. Work on the important tasks first and the urgent stuff will get done because it has to be done. If something urgent tries to get your attention ignore it until your important work is done for the day.

 

As US President Dwight Eisenhower once said – “I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.”

 

Remember, Mayfair cares

What is Procrastination, and the dangers that accompany it?


Procrastination is a trap a lot of people find themselves in. Research suggests that 95% of us  procrastinate to different degrees. Often confused with laziness, procrastination is an active process.

Unlike laziness that incorporates inactivity, apathy, and unwillingness to do anything, procrastination is when you choose to do something other than the essential tasks you should be doing.

It is usually at deadline time that you start rushing to do those tasks, and more often than not, you will wonder why you left it so late and made things more problematical for yourself..

Procrastination involves avoiding unpleasant, but important tasks in favour of those more enjoyable, easier and maybe not important at all. These impulses, if not controlled, can have serious consequences.

Extreme Dangers of Procrastination

  • ·       Guilt
  • ·       Loss of precious time
  • ·       Reduced productivity
  • ·       Fatigue
  • ·       Anxiety
  • ·       Career setbacks
  • ·       Low self-esteem
  • ·       Low self-confidence
  • ·       A damaged reputation if you miss deadlines
  • ·       Additional stress with the pressure of last minute working
  • ·       Rushed decisions that might not be the best

The Most Effective Way to Overcome Procrastination

Yes, it is possible to overcome procrastination, but you have to take steps and ensure you turn them into habits.

Recognise That You Have a Problem That Needs to Be Addressed

If you realise that you are always in the habit of postponing things until the last minute, then you are procrastinating.

Track how long it takes you to do your work or the most important, albeit boring tasks. If you keep avoiding them, take longer than necessary to make decisions, do low-priority tasks, start the important task, but stop to get a drink, or even constantly wait for the “right time,” then you are a procrastinator.

Ask Yourself Why You Do It

Are you avoiding important tasks because they are boring?

In that case, do them fast and get them out of the way. This way, you will have time to do other tasks that you enjoy. The poor organisation could also be the reason behind your procrastination, so organise your work by priority or importance, create a to-do-list, make your schedule effective, then stick to it.

You might be procrastinating because you have doubts about your abilities, or even one of the most common reasons – a fear of success. Are you putting off following up a sales lead because of a fear of rejection? If this is the case, what’s the worst that can happen? If they say ‘no’, at least you know where you stand and can move on.

Use Anti-procrastination Strategies

Being a habit, you cannot overcome procrastination in a day. This means you need to adapt to strategies that will help you change those habits and create new ones. Some of them include:

  • ·       Committing to tasks
  • ·       Asking a co-worker to keep checking on you
  • ·       Acting as you go
  • ·       Rephrasing internal dialogs
  • ·       Minimizing distractions
  • ·       Start with the most unpleasant tasks
  • ·       Promise yourself a reward
  • ·       Keep a to-do-list
  • ·       Set reasonable, but time-bound goals

Use time management and task management applications

If your problem is finding your work overwhelming, then you can overcome it by breaking it down into more manageable chunks. The most important thing is that you start tackling those tasks, so don’t concentrate on finishing them. In case you think the reason why you keep putting things off is because making decisions is hard, surely not making decisions is worse?

Mayfair, we care.

Sources

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_96.htm

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/better-perfect/201703/11-ways-overcome-procrastination

https://www.selfhelpforlife.com/effects-of-procrastination/

5 Ways to Beat Procrastination


Have you ever experienced procrastination? Stupid question? All of us have, at one time or another!

Procrastination is the number one killer of success. It is the single most common state that keeps people from taking action. It's when you know that you should do something, but keep putting it off.

This article provides you with five ideas that you can apply immediately in your everyday life to help you overcome procrastination and get more things done in 10 minutes a day.

Break down your goals into a series of smaller goals.

If you have a long-term goal, break them down into a series of short-term goals.

By breaking down big goals into smaller achievable steps, it makes you feel a constant sense of achievement. Ultimately, it motivates you to work harder and building a sense of fulfillment every time you accomplished each of them.

Replace negative images in your mind with inspiring positive images

Your mind runs with pictures. Think about this, what comes to your mind when it comes to working on your goal? Do you feel motivated, inspired, tired or lazy? Whenever you see negative images pop up in your mind; you know that your brain is associating negative states with your goal.

Identify all the negative images in your mind and replace them with motivating images. Think about how exciting, fun and happy you will be when you achieved all of them and become successful.

Place something meaningful besides your office desk

Place something that serves as motivational sources such as inspirational quotes, vision board or family photos just beside your workplace. This simple yet powerful tip helps to destroy procrastination because it serves as a constant reminder of why you are doing what you are doing.

Boost your energy to prevent exhaustion

Being too tired is the top reason for procrastination, and your energy stores (physically and mentally) are both limited. Therefore, actively replenish them and allocate your efforts wisely. Here are few things you can do to boost your energy and prevent burnout:

a) Make time for exercise several days each week. Exercise not only helps you to reduce stress, but it also increases your brain power, sharpens your memory and focuses at work.

b) Reserve your morning and mid-day peak performance hours for your most demanding tasks.

c) Take an afternoon nap. The boss might not approve so explain that research and study have found out that taking 20 minutes to 40 minutes rest dramatically improve your productivity, creativity, better stamina and work performance.

d) Respect your limitations. If after all this, you are still too tired to take on responsibilities, try to cut back on your commitments or get help completing them.

Taking charge of your physiology

When you were procrastinating, you were using your science in a particular way. Your breathing was probably slow and shallow. Your muscles were droopy; your eyes were looking down, and your facial muscles were probably flaccid.

Therefore, taking charge of your physiology is a key way to managing your states and overcome procrastination. You can snap out of procrastination by changing your entire physiology. For example, you can sit up straight, put your shoulders at the back, do stretches and take few deep breaths.

Remember that you can get control of your time and life only by changing the way you think, work and deal with the never-ending river of responsibility that flows over you each day.

 

Practice these simple ideas 10 minutes a day. Review them regularly until they become firmly ingrained in your thoughts, and watch how your performance improves.

And remember – Mayfair cares!