Thursday, April 24, 2014

Effective Tips to Fight Procrastination and Take Action Today - Part 1

“Let me just get on Facebook first!”
Two hours later and you’re still scrolling down the blue-white feed…
Sounds familiar?
Most of us are guilty of it. Whether it’s social media, TV, sleep – procrastination blocks our progress towards our goals. The following list of tips will help you fight procrastination and move into definite action today!
1. Spot Your Enemies
We all have enemies that are blocking us from success. And no, it’s not only TV. Your enemies can often be merely character traits or unfulfilled needs. My list of enemies, for example, includes clutter, hunger, tiredness and perfectionism to name a few. By identifying your enemies you will know what issues you must solve before you can start any task or work.
Make a list of your five worst enemies, print it in large bold letters and hang it on your pinboard.

2. Avoid Guilt and Regret
OK, so you’ve been procrastinating over the last day, month, year or even longer… While it’s painful to admit it, most of us procrastinate to some degree, otherwise most people would be successful. Dwelling on your past is a waste of energy.
Rather than consuming yourself with guilt and regret, learn from your mistakes, grow and create.
3. Minimize Distractions
Have you ever felt like you are so immersed in your task, that you lose the sense of time and space? Being ‘in the zone’ is a precious state we need to be in if we want to create wonderful things. It takes a single distraction to throw us back to ‘reality’ but as long as 15 minutes to get back to our creative state.
When you work, keep distractions like Facebook, email and phones to a minimum. Turn off all the applications and websites you don’t need on your computer or device and keep your workspace clutter free.
4. Find the Productivity Method that Suits Your Personality
There’s no shortage of productivity systems and tools to choose from: To-do list apps, goal setting guides, calendars, David Allen’s GTD (Getting Things Done) and many more. But here’s the thing: Each person is different and what works for me may not work for you. Maybe to-do lists are not your thing but once you’re ‘in the zone’ you get on a creative spree?
Find out what productivity method suits your personality and stick to it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tips to Beat Procrastination


A friend has a favorite saying: "Procrastination is the thief of time." And, you know what? She's right. But we seasoned procrastinators already know it's a bad habit. We need practical tips and techniques to overcome our tendency to put things off.

I know how to procrastinate. I tidy, I make lists, I browse my Twitter account and a carry out a thousand other "vital" tasks. I also know procrastination makes me feel horrible. I hate how tasks loom and grow more menacing, I beat myself up over not making a phone call, and that flat feeling at the end of a day when I haven't achieved anything I set out to? Awful.
There's lots of advice out there and great books that detail the reasons for procrastination and I've spent many hours, putting other things off, reading the advice. Over the years I have found some tips that actually work and here are five of them:
1. Stop the self-deception. You won't feel any more like doing it tomorrow than you do now, so recognize this excuse for what it is and try to find techniques to get started that work for you.
2. Adopt David Allen's 2 minute rule: "If an action will take less than 2 minutes, it should be done at the moment it is defined."
So, you know you need to make that dentist's appointment, write a rent check, empty out the it now
3. Set a time challenge for longer tasks. I'm a writer and sometimes the thought of rewriting, or even starting a new piece is discouraging so I tell myself I will work on it for 15 minutes. I set the timer and see what happens. In that 15 minutes I can only work on what I have set myself and at the end of the time I can stop if I like. More often I find I'm absorbed and happy to keep going.
It seems that if you only commit to a short time, you give yourself permission to get started.
4. Schedule unpleasant tasks early in the day. They're rarely as horrible as you imagine but procrastination turns them into energy vampires, sucking at your happiness. By tackling these things early you get a little boost from completing the task (go, you!) that spills over into whatever else you have lined up for the day.
5. A college tutor once told me: "Perfection is the enemy of done." He meant that I should stop worrying about falling short of perfection and focus instead on getting something good enough in on time.
Good enough really is good enough. Remind yourself that perfection is unattainable and your family, friends and clients don't expect it from you - be kinder to yourself and you may find procrastination becomes easier to manage.
Sources: David Allen : Getting Things Done /

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Increase your productivity with these email management tips

by  Patrick Tamburino

Many email productivity guidelines are available via periodical articles or online, such as “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. Using these and other sources, you can effectively create an email management system of your own.

One primary goal for email management is to always ensure that there is an empty inbox at the end of each business day. This goal may sound more idealistic than realistic, but with some practice this will quickly become a reality.

So one may ask “How do you empty your inbox but still keep track of all of the things you need to do?” The answer is simple, and broken down into these steps:

First, create three to four “top level” folders, or folders that are organized toward the top of your folder list in Outlook, Apple Mail, Gmail or other software. These folders should be called:

• Action
• Waiting on…
• Read Later
• Filed

Note: If your software alphabetizes folders, simply insert an @ in front of the folder name, or you can put a number in front of each sub-folder.

Second, go through your inbox and make decisions. For short emails that can be responded to quickly (in less than one minute each), go ahead and respond. Then file these messages in “Filed.” Or if you prefer, you may create your own folder sub-structure under “Filed.” Remember to try and keep it simple.

Third, review your remaining email messages:
• Which ones require action on your part? Put these messages in the “Action” folder.
• Now, which email messages can you not take action on until someone else helps you or answers an open question? Place these items in the “Waiting on…” folder.

• Lastly, which email messages would you like to review some day, but simply do not have the time to do so now, and are not critical (such as newsletters, advertisements, special offers, etc.) These messages should be moved to the “Read Later” folder.

Now that you have organized your initial mail messages into this system, set aside 10-15 minutes each morning to review all messages that come into your inbox between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. Follow the same steps as above for responding to the ones you can, quickly, and by filing the rest. Then go through your “Action” and “Waiting on…” folders to determine if you need to follow-up with someone, or if you can respond to the more involved messages appropriately.

There are a few keys here that were mentioned above that will help you be successful with this system:

• Being decisive and not spending more than a few seconds on each action (answering or filing)
• Creating a structure like the one above so that every message gets filed
• Clearing your inbox at the end and beginning of each day

Also, it is a good idea to try and force yourself to only check email at specific intervals. It is sometimes all too easy to sit and wait for messages to come in: this is known as 
“emergency scan mode.” By employing the review and respond system that is outlined above, and by only checking your inbox once per hour, for example, you will be able to more effectively schedule your work and avoid this dangerous cycle.

This process can sound daunting if you are used to working in a reactive mode with regard to email. But if you adopt these guidelines and make a system of your own that follows these basic rules, you will find yourself becoming more productive quickly and avoiding the vicious cycle of email mismanagement.