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Why Being a Perfectionist Will Kill Your Productivity

Why Being a Perfectionist Will Kill Your Productivity

If you tend to set high bars for yourself and always try to put your best foot forward to achieve your goals, your perfectionism could be killing your productivity. While striving for perfection can help you achieve great results, it can also prevent you from being your best and can foster a lack of productivity. Here are several ways the being a perfectionist will quickly kill your productivity.

Perfectionism Makes You Less Efficient

When you strive for perfection in the tasks that you do, even when you've completed the task, you will linger on to find new ways that you can improve. This lingering process might start off as a quick ten-minute process but can quickly escalate until you find yourself spending an hour or more looking for things to improve. This causes you to spend way too much time on a task that required and puts you behind schedule.

You Become Less Effective

As a perfectionist, you probably do little things because they seem like a good addition. However, you fail to consciously think whether those additions are necessary. Sometimes, those additions not only fail to add value but might even ruin things.

You Tend to Procrastinate

When you have perfectionist tendencies, you often wait for the perfect moment, which tends to overcomplicate a project. What is a simple task, might get blown out of proportion, to the extent that it then becomes intimidating subconsciously. This causes you to procrastinate on working on it because you are waiting for the ever "perfect" moment before you begin. Unfortunately, this perfect moment never happens until it's too late.

You Miss the Bigger Picture

Since you are too hung up on the little details, you tend to forget about the bigger picture and the end goal. It isn't uncommon to see better jobs in pruning the trees than the growth of the forest.

You Fuss Over Unfounded Problems

Most perfectionists tend to anticipate problems before then crop up and develop solutions to address the issues. It ends up becoming an obsession to pre-empt potential problems. Unfortunately, most of the problems that you envision never surface or they don’t really matter as much as you thought they would.

While striving to aim for higher standards isn’t a bad thing, when the quest for perfection turns into an obsession, it will quickly kill your productivity. The answer isn’t to stop striving for perfection, but rather to be conscious of your perfectionist tendencies and manage them accordingly.

Top Tips for Minimizing Distractions to Get More Done

Top Tips for Minimizing Distractions to Get More Done

Increasing your productivity doesn’t take a magic wand or require you to get an advanced degree in statistics. If you are struggling with a lack of productivity, you need to take a closer look at your daily habits. Being unproductive is nobody’s fault but your own. Here are some of the top tips that you can incorporate into your daily life to minimize distractions and get more done.

Tip #1 – Learn to Anticipate Yourself

When it comes to productivity, you’re your own worst enemy. According to a study by the University of California Irvine, office workers are only able to focus on a task for an average of three minutes and five seconds before they become distracted. Surprisingly, 44 percent of those distractions are internal. The good news is that internal disturbances are the only kind that you can control. Learn to know your patterns and plan for these distractions.

Tip #2 – Send Out Busy Signals

More than half of your distractions are external distractions that come in the form of email, people, phone calls, and chatter from other offices. If you want to stop these external distractions before they start you have to give out the right signals. If you utilize instant messenger, set yourself too busy and wear headphones, even if you aren't listening to music. Providing subtle queues may seem passive aggressive, but they will also save you from annoying distractions.

Tip #3 – Make Technology Work for You

At times, technology may seem like an enemy, but technology can be your anti-distraction buddy. Turn off your email alerts, create an auto-response to text messages, and set your phone to go to voicemail. Block out chunks of time on your calendar as "busy." Unless you are dealing with life and death situations at work, your coworkers will be able to manage without you for a few hours.

Tip #4 – Learn to Say No

If you are already overloaded with work and you feel like you never get anything accomplished, then you need to learn to say no to new requests and projects. You can nicely let people know that you would love to help, but your plate is currently full.

If you are starting to have more and more unproductive days, it’s time for you to determine your distractions and put a stop to them. By being proactive, silencing technology, and learning to say no, you will find that you will start to become more productive.

Top 5 Productivity Hacks for Procrastinators

Top 5 Productivity Hacks for Procrastinators

No one is immune to falling victim to procrastination. Everyone puts things off from time to time, so there is always room to increase our productivity once we know how to deal with our tendencies to procrastinate properly. To help you combat procrastination and become more productive, here are the top five productivity hacks for procrastinators.

Name It

The first thing that you need to do is notice that you are procrastinating and acknowledge it. It is essential that you do this without judging yourself and without getting overly stressed that you don't have enough time. The next time you notice you're procrastinating, just say to yourself "procrastinating," or "moving on." This allows you to acknowledge your procrastination so you can move on.

Figure Out Where Your Time Goes

When we're procrastinating, we all use different props to fill our time. To improve your productivity, you'll need to identify what these are for you. Digital distractions are extremely powerful procrastination temptations that we need to try to resist consciously. To figure out where your time goes, start to write down exactly where your time goes.

Make Time Your Best Friend

Most procrastinators frequently fool themselves when it comes to the passage of time. You might often get to the end of the day and not understand where the day went. If this is something that happens to you, then you need to shift your relationship with time. You’ll need to become aware of how long each task takes you, rather than making a guess.

Improve Your Time Estimates

Often, as a procrastinator, you may tend to estimate how long a task will take without factoring in any time for your procrastination. This causes you to take much longer than expected to finish a task. If you know that you tend to procrastinate, factor this into your estimation, so you're not always falling behind.

Meet More Deadlines

Often, the only time we manage to get around to focusing properly on your tasks is when you have a looming deadline. So, if you want to improve your focus and increase your productivity, you might want to start giving yourself more deadlines. The best way to do this is to get in the habit of promising to deliver certain things by a specific time/date.

Even self-professed procrastinators can improve their productivity. With these five productivity hacks, you can start to decrease the amount of time you spend procrastinating and get more done.

The Best Strategies to Increase Your Productivity

The Best Strategies to Increase Your Productivity

Everybody would like to be able to accomplish more throughout their day, but increasing your productivity can often seem impossible. The following strategies, if followed, can double, and even triple your productivity. Here are the best strategies to develop if you want to increase your productivity substantially.

Set Goals and Productivity Targets

When you set goals, you end up focusing your energy on the things that you want to achieve. These are things that you wouldn't be able to accomplish by default. This will automatically make you more productive. It is essential that you are clear on exactly what you want to achieve.

Maintain Your Work Environment

Your work environment is what sets the stage for your workflow, and ultimately your productivity. If you are self-employed, this means finding a place that allows you to focus without distractions. If you are employed, this involves modifying your desk to make it conducive to productivity.

Put Important Things First

Since there are only 24 hours in a day, it is essential that you put your most important tasks first. If you want to be more productive and reach your goals, then you have to work on the critical tasks first and deprioritize anything that doesn't get you closer to your goals.

Use the 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 rule refers to the phenomenon where 80 percent of your output is brought about by 20 percent of your efforts. This means that the remaining 20 percent of the production can only be achieved with 80 percent effort. This means that you have to let go of the little details that no one but you notices. The key is to focus your time and energy on producing the 80 percent of everything you do.

Have a Separate List for Incoming Tasks

Throughout your day, you will probably receive a stream of random and miscellaneous tasks. Rather than immediately giving them attention add them to a separate list so you can focus on your daily goals. At the end of the day, allocate a block of time to clear the list out.

Know your Motivation Triggers

When you become aware of your motivational triggers, you can better connect with them and dramatically increase your productivity. Figure out what inspires you and determine how you can integrate these triggers into your daily life to help you reinforce your motivation.

If you find that you lack productivity, consider incorporating these strategies into your daily life can help you to increase your productivity dramatically.

The Best Habits to Develop to Increase Productivity and Get More Done

The Best Habits to Develop to Increase Productivity and Get More Done

If you find often find yourself wishing you could get more done, you’re not alone. Whether you want to do more in the same amount of time, need more motivation for getting stuff done, or are looking to reduce the amount of time you waste in a day, these simple habits can help you improve your productivity.

Keep Your Desk Decluttered

While creativity can arise from chaos, a litter-strewn office probably isn’t helping your productivity. When you have visible files lying about your office, it reminds you of an unfinished task, while an unread book is an invitation to procrastination. Keeping your desk organized and free of clutter can help you stick with a task for more than one and a half times longer.

Schedule Time to Read Email

Instead of checking your email every time a new one arrives in your inbox, schedule a time at the end of the day to focus on this task. Monitoring and responding to emails right away is not only a great way to waste your precious time, but it has also been linked to lower memory function, depression, anxiety, and lower performance. Set up an auto-responder that lets people know that you check emails at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., and 3 p.m. and that you’ll respond during those times.

Rise Early

If you want to improve your productivity, then you need to get up early. When you get up early, you have the opportunity to establish a good morning routine that will help you improve your productivity. Rising early allows you to have the time in the morning to prepare for the day ahead without being late or rushing to get to work.

Focus on What’s Important

Take five minutes in the morning and read over your goals and remind yourself what you’re working toward. Not only will this help you to focus on what's important, but it will also give you a gauge to measure your to-do-list Doing this will allow you to look at your to-do-list with a renewed focus to make sure that you have at least one daily action that works toward your broader goals.

Increasing your productivity doesn't take a lot of extra work or more extended hours. By incorporating these habits into your daily routine, you can start to get more done in less time.

Increase Productivity with These 6 Time Management Tools

Increase Productivity with These 6 Time Management Tools

Technology has become a double-edged sword. While it allows us to connect, improve, perform, and leverage resources better than ever, it is often responsible for our decrease in productivity. The good news is that with the right apps and tools, you can use technology to your advantage and increase your productivity. Here are six, time management tools that can help to improve your productivity.

Rescue Time

One of the biggest reasons we lack productivity is because we aren't able to accurately keep track of the time our tasks take. If you have doubts that you’re using your time wisely, this app will provide you with a weekly report that shows you what things are stealing your time.

Remember the Milk

If you find that you struggle with managing everything your massive to-do-list, Remember the Milk is just the app for you. It's a free tool that is compatible with your computer, mobile device, Gmail, Outlook, and others. It helps you to manage all your tasks efficiently and reminds you of them no matter where you're at.

Focus Booster

Based on the Pomodoro Technique, this app is aimed at those who procrastinate and feel overwhelmed by their tasks. The app is designed to enhance your focus and helps to remove any anxiety you have with time pressures.

Toggl

With Toggl you can keep better track of the time you spend working on projects and tasks and is an excellent alternative to time-sheets. Effective time management starts with being clear on how much time you are actually spending on your projects and tasks, and then through careful analysis, working out how you can better manage them. 

Evernote

Evernote is a free productivity tool that lets you capture your thoughts, ideas, and images in a variety of ways. It allows you to record your meetings, ideas, and speeches, interviews, create lists, add text and voice attachments, and share files with your friends. To really optimize your time, you can also sync Remember the Milk with Evernote.  

Mind42

Focus on your tasks at hand with mind mapping. Mind42 is a free mind mapping app that will help you become more organized by focusing your thoughts. When you can better focus your thoughts, you gain more clarity on what you need to get done.

If you find your productivity is lacking, consider adding these six useful time management tools to your daily routine. Stop letting technology kill your productivity, instead use it to your advantage.

How You Can Boost Your Productivity with the Pomodoro Technique

How You Can Boost Your Productivity with the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a philosophy of time management that is designed to provide you with maximum focus and creative freshness, which can allow you to complete projects quicker with less mental fatigue. The process is relatively simple. For every project or task that you need to complete during the day, you budget your time into short increments, of 25 minutes, and incorporate periodic 5-minute breaks. After you've finished four periods of work with 15 minutes of break time, then you take a 15-20 minute break before starting back to work.

How to Use the Pomodoro Technique

Start by choosing one task that you want to focus on. Get yourself ready by grabbing a pen and paper and a timer. Set the timer for 25 minutes and start to work on your task. Once the 25 minutes have passed, jot down your end time and mark your first period complete. Next, set the timer for 5-minutes to carefully time your break. Once your break is over, set the time for another 25-minutes and start on your next tasks. Repeat this process four times and then enjoy a longer, 15 to 20-minute break. 

Remove Distractions

If you want to be successful, you will need to remove all distractions before you get started. The purpose of the Pomodoro Technique is for you to focus on one task at a time without distractions that can kill your productivity.

Have Everything You Need

To get the most out of this process, you need to ensure that you’ve gathered everything you need to complete the task for the day and place them somewhere close by. This allows you to be more effective during the process, eliminating the need for you to spend time looking for items you need to complete the task.

Don’t Skip the Breaks

For you to remain focused and remain productive, you have to take the breaks. When the timer goes off, stop what you're working on and take your 5-minute break. This will help you to clear your mind a bit and get it ready to focus on the next task.

Record Your Thoughts

No matter how focused you are, you will always have random thoughts pop into your head. Rather than allowing these thoughts to derail your process, just jot down your thought on a piece of paper and get back to the task at hand. At the end of the day, you can look at the list of thoughts and make a plan to tackle tasks the next day.

To successfully utilize the Pomodoro Technique and boost your productivity, it is essential that you stay focused on your task for the entire 25-minutes. The only way the technique will work is if you remain productive for the whole of the 25 minutes.

5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Setting Deadlines

5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Setting Deadlines

Setting and meeting your deadlines is a huge part of whether or not you are productive or not. Setting deadlines and achieving them is an art that you can learn with some patience and practice. However, common mistakes can quickly derail your productivity and leave you struggling to meet your deadlines. Here are five common mistakes you want to try to avoid when setting deadlines.

Not Writing the Deadline Down

It's no big secret, that what we don't see, we often forget. It is vital if you want to meet your deadlines, to write them down on a calendar or somewhere you can see them on a daily basis. If you have a lot of deadlines to meet, it will work well for you to have a big calendar where you can write down the deadline on the day it is due. It is essential if you want this to work that you have to review your calendar daily.

Failing to Research the Options

If you have a deadline, you need to research all of your options before you finalize it. For example, if you have a big work presentation, make sure you do your research before you tell your boss when you can make the presentation. You might think that it will take you no more than a week, but after researching the topic, you may realize that it will take you more than two weeks to be thoroughly prepared.

Setting Unrealistic Deadlines

While you may have a ton of motivation, if you set deadlines that are unrealistic, you’ll do nothing but stress yourself out. When you have plenty of time to complete a task, there will be no need to rush. You will never be able to accomplish any tasks successfully if you are always rushing to finish it.

Having Too Many Deadlines

If you find yourself too stressed out, it may be because you have too many deadlines looming. You may have to take a look at each of your deadlines and either choose a different deadline or see if you can delegate the task. It is just not feasible, long-term, to be an overachiever because it is just too stressful. Learn to keep your goals balanced and create realistic deadlines for them.

Lacking the Steps to Reach Your Deadline

Divide your project into smaller chunks and mark a new deadline for each smaller task until the final project is completed. Dividing projects into smaller, bite-sized pieces is a much more feasible way to keep your momentum going.

Setting deadlines is an essential aspect of life. Without them, we tend to procrastinate. Take these tips into consideration so you can start to meet your deadlines and increase your productivity.

4 Reasons Why You Need to Utilize Time-Boxing to Improve Your Productivity

4 Reasons Why You Need to Utilize Time-Boxing to Improve Your Productivity

If you find it difficult to manage your time and get your tasks done during the day, you may need to start utilizing a time management technique known as time-boxing. Time-boxing requires you to allot chucks of time to each of your tasks. Once your allotted time for a task is up, then you need to move onto the next task. Here are four reasons why you need to utilize time-boxing if you want to become more productive.

To Prioritize Your Tasks More Effectively

If you have trouble prioritizing your tasks, then time-boxing is a technique you'll want to utilize. Time-boxing forces you to decide how you will spend your time. Since your tasks are contained and can't be done at the same time you have to choose which tasks have to be completed today versus tomorrow, or even in a week.

To Increase Your Focus

Part of being more productive is finding your focus. Time-boxing is a great way to increase your focus. When you permit yourself to work without interruption, great things can happen. Time-boxing allows you to settle into your work, approach a problem, hone your skills, practice your creative thinking, and get more done.

Know How Much Time You’ve Spent on Something

Have you ever wondered how much time it took you to respond to your emails, write a blog post for your company, or to shop for your mom's birthday present? When you time-box your tasks, you not only create a finite set of tasks to accomplish within a specified period, but you also create a record of how you spent your time. This information can be beneficial if you need to enter detailed information into time sheets at work, or if you want to better manage your time in general.

Never Set a Deadline

Deadlines drive the very nature of time-boxing. You set a specific timeframe for completing a task or project as you go. If you have trouble setting deadlines for larger projects and tasks, you might want to start out small by time-boxing your daily tasks. This will give you more and more practice reaching your deadlines on a regular basis, eventually allowing you to translate this towards completing your more significant projects and tasks.

Learning how to utilize time-boxing to complete your tasks can help you significantly increase your productivity.

3 Simple Ways to Use a Calendar to Increase Your Productivity

3 Simple Ways to Use a Calendar to Increase Your Productivity

There has been plenty of discussion about how a calendar can fit into one's productivity system. The general rule is that you add scheduled appointments to your calendar, and your tasks should be placed into the task management system that you use. However, what often isn't discussed is precisely what appointments you should be putting in your calendar to maximize your time best and ensure you're staying productive. Here are the three types of appointments you should add to your schedule to create an effective productivity system.

General Appointments

These are the regular appointments that you may schedule throughout your week. These would be appointments for the doctor or business lunches. They are relatively general regarding defining an appointment, so they need to be treated as such. These kinds of appointments can be moved if needed, given enough notice is provided, and both parties can make it happen, though you should try to avoid moving them in most cases.

Self-Appointments

These are the appointments that you make with yourself. They can be in the form of blocks of time that you schedule so that you can work on projects and tasks without interruption. You can transfer these kinds of appointments, but it is more beneficial if you can try to create a framework so that they stay as static as possible.

You want to pick a time during the day when you can work in 90-minute intervals on a regular basis so you can create a habit and improve your productivity. Break up the time with breaks where nothing is set in stone. You might even want to take larger blocks and break them down into smaller chunks using The Pomodoro Technique so that you can move from task to task. You want to keep these time blocks nimble enough that you can move them to other hours of the day if needed.

Team Appointments

Team appointments are for when you need to bring a team together. The best way to get these scheduled is once you’ve already locked in the other two types of appointments on your calendar. While doing this can make it more difficult to plan these kinds of meetings, you can use tools like Doodle, Google Calendar or Tungle.me to pick optimal times where most of the team can be present.

When you can keep in mind the three types of appointments that you have at your disposal, your calendar will become a tremendous tool that will allow you to create time and space for yourself and improve your productivity.

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