I’ve been reflecting recently on what things make me and the people I know less productive. I’ve then categorized these into high-level ‘meta’ categories. Whilst one of these categories is entirely obvious, the other two may not be.
Sometimes it’s a good idea to go and do something else. If, for example, you’re revising or have a big project on, getting out and doing something else could be just what the doctor ordered. That’s not procrastination, that’s taking a break. Procrastination is doing something to avoid doing something else. For example, finding cleaning the bathroom fascinating because you’ve got a deadline tomorrow and your creative juices aren’t flowing.
If you’re a serial procrastinator, you need to do something to break the cycle. I recommend you go and read Lifehacker’s excellent Top 10 Motivation Boosters and Procrastination Killers.
If you’re not as productive at work or with other people around, it’s probably due to self-consciousness. Even the most outwardly-confident and outgoing people – perhaps especially the most outwardly-confident – are susceptible to this. If how good you look when you’re doing something is as important as how well you achieve it, you need to rethink you’re approach.
Think about it. Long-term, are people more likely to be impressed by people who look like they’re productive or by people who, as Seth Godin would put it, ship? :-p
I’m guilty of this but I’ve seen this especially in other people. Those who have, or think they have, a reputation to maintain. At the lowest level, it’s checking Twitter, Facebook or other social networking sites eleventy-billion times per day to see if people have mentioned you. At the top end, it’s reacting and jumping on something because someone may have said something which may have something to do with a thing that you’re known for. Think about it; we all know people like that.
My maternal grandmother, a wonderful woman whom I miss every time I think of her, inspired my love of quotations. In her kitchen she used to have a cupboard which was plastered with phrases and quotations. I remember what was right in the middle, repeated three times: “Never take offence!”
I honestly believe that taking offence is a huge productivity killer. Why? It encroaches into your ‘thought time’ and, like planning revenge, eats away at you. A case in point: occasionally I, like most people, get comments on this blog that don’t make it through the moderation filter. I could dwell on these, but I’ve learned to press ‘Delete’ and not give them a second thought. That way, they don’t affect my productivity at all!
Do you agree with the above? What are YOUR biggest productivity-killers?