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Your Clear Next Step Blog

How Can I Get Out of My Own Way to Get Stuff Done?


We wish that having an extra day in the year would give us time to get oodles of stuff done, but unfortunately, that's not the case. In fact, with warmer weather, and more daylight hours, you're probably going to feel like doing just about anything but work. Here are a few things that can help you get your act together and stay in gear in spite of the sunshine taunting you through the tiny window in your office...

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Sometimes when it comes to getting stuff done, we're our own worst enemy. We're bad at estimating how long something will really take, we're really good at procrastinating, and even better at distracting ourselves. But there are ways we can self-manage to overcome our less-than-great habits and natural working style, and we wanted to share a few with you...

 

1. Schedule Your Time Based on To Do's

30346Some of us are schedule people--we've got every single second planned out, from 8 to 5. And some of us...don't. Whether you're a schedule person, a "list" person, or a different kind of person entirely, there's no right or wrong way to manage your time, as long as it works for you!

 

But, sometimes, our plate can get aggressively full, our lists can get intimidatingly long, and the wind gets sucked right out of our sails. If you ever look at your list/schedule/"stuff" and think "Today is impossible," first of all, know that you're not alone, and second, don't lose heart.

 

800Start by making a loose schedule for the day--even if you're not a "schedule" person. The mere act of writing out "9-10 - XYZ" and "10:15-11:45 - ABC" will help you prioritize and allocate time to each task. The trick here is to use your schedule as a suggestion--don't let it pigeonhole you into working on something less critical than something else that popped up that would normally take priority. These tools are supposed to help, not hurt, your productivity, so think of it as a friendly suggestion for yourself.

 

2. Practice Productive Procrastination

In spite of your best efforts, you might still find yourself suffering from pressure-prompted-ness (ahem, procrastination). Well, you might as well make yourself useful. Sometimes, believe it or not, procrastination is an important part of the creative process. "Letting your subconscious chew on" a task or idea while you do other stuff can actually yield pretty decent results--you just have to let it chew until it can spit out something useful. Sometimes it's a few minutes, sometimes it's a couple days. The trick here is to give yourself time to procrastinate. Yes, we know. "If I did that then I wouldn't be in this predicament."

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Seriously--give yourself a deadline well ahead of when you actually owe a deliverable, and tell someone about it. We know you're too smart for arbitrary deadlines, but they're not arbitrary if you either tell someone about them, or ask someone else to give you a deadline and hold you accountable.

 

 

3. Have a "Bottom of the List" Day

14778You know those little, piecemeal, tedious tasks that you'll get to "later"? The ones that aren't urgent, but kind of important, even though you've usually got bigger, better, (more fun) things on your plate? Schedule "Later" and keep track of these small fish somewhere--a paper list or folder, Outlook, or your favorite to do tracker app. Maybe "Later" isn't an entire day, maybe it's a couple hours each week where you clean out your backlog of 15-minute tasks, or maybe it's not scheduled at all, but your trigger is when list gets longer than ten things--you decide how and when to manage them, but make sure you're making time for it. If not for the task themselves, then for your own sanity--one can get awful sick of seeing those tiny tasks hovering at the bottom of the list for days (or weeks...) on end. Heads up: Probably do this more often than once every four years...sorry, Leap Day just won't cut it.

 

With a little thought, we can get out of our own way and get stuff done. How do you get get stuff done? We'd love to hear on social media! 

 

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Sinikka Waugh

Sinikka Waugh is a recognized leader in understanding people and in adapting tools, techniques, and processes to meet the demands of the situation at hand. Since 2006, Sinikka has provided compassionate leadership in transformation initiatives. When she isn’t in front of a class, she enjoys putting her background in English and French Literature to work, by writing blogs about the subjects she teaches every day.


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