March 15, 2020

Procrastination killing your Productivity?

David Shirley

Would I be wrong in saying everyone has been challenged by procrastination at some point in their lives? For some there are simple solutions to implement, for others it’s how they live their lives.

“I’m great at multi-tasking: I can waste time, be unproductive, and procrastinate all at once.”

So,what actually is procrastination? Let’s go with the dictionary definition of‘the act or habit of procrastinating, or putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention’. Psychiatrist Judson Brewer talks of a simple way to break bad habits using mindfulness. When the bad habit appears,be curious as to the circumstances that have arisen rather than how to satisfy the bad habit.

I was recently at a school update for parents when I was made aware of a study in which some children don’t start the assessment/project until the day before,staying up until to two or three in the morning to complete it. We think those kids are lazy, disorganised and distracted and how can that possibly produce the best piece of work. The study says, there are simply some people that won’t start until the deadline is due, so that is going to be the only piece of work produced and therefore IS their best piece of work.

Three pain relievers

  1. Mel Robbins’ book called The 5 Second Rule, the concept is really well explained in this open and vulnerable talk you can watch here.
  2. Remove distractions – clean up your desk, put yourself in the environment to be productive. If you use a Mac, SelfControl is great, if you use Windows try Cold Turkey (works for Mac too) or FocusMe
  3. Go with the Ivy Lee Method. Before you finish work for the day, write down the six most important tasks and/or meetings that you need to complete tomorrow.     (during my workshops I refer to these as the BIG ROCKS – those map directly to achieving your ROLES & GOALS. Don’t forget to identify your FROG for the day too)

Ivy Lee Method:

  1. Prioritise the order the six tasks and/or meetings as they map to your roles and goals.  
  2. When you start work the following day – work only on the first task (no email, no social media, no internet). Work until it is finished before starting the second on the list.
  3. Progress through your list until complete. At the end of the day when planning for tomorrow, roll any unfinished tasks to the following day.
  4. Reset, Rinse, Repeat this process every day.

This Ivy Lee Method is very easily implemented using technology to automate the management of these lists and keep you on track. Pick a method that resonates with you and have a go. ‘You don’t lose weight by reading the diet book’

Written by
David Shirley
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