Do you procrastinate? Or are you so busy that you find it difficult to focus on the work you should be doing? Busy doesn’t always mean productive; far from it. Sometimes there are simply so many things competing for your time and attention that it’s difficult to focus. This excellent comic from Twenty Pixels got us thinking about some of the things that have helped us with productivity over the years. Read on for our 7 top tips for productivity.

Field Guide to procrastinators

7 Top Tips For Productivity

1. Prioritise. Your working life can be rife with interruptions, urgent deadlines piling on top of one another and sometimes procrastination is a sign that you are simply not prioritising properly so everything seems urgent and overwhelming. Relax. We all go through phases like this in our lives but there’s a really simple tried and tested method for sorting through the noise. Plus a secret all highly productive people know: Spend most of your time in the “important but not urgent” square and eventually you’ll get enough breathing room that your important & urgent tasks don’t feel like an avalanche.

Task_Prioritisation_Thunderbolt_Digital2. The egg timer method. Facing an unpleasant or daunting task? Set an egg timer or a stopwatch for 15 minutes and promise yourself you can stop working when the buzzer rings. If you happen to get into a flow, you should continue. This can be a simple way to get over a barrier or to stop an intimidatingly large project from getting put off indefinitely.

3. The Jerry Seinfeld method. Consistency is key to productivity. Jerry has created an unbreakable chain of productivity by making sure he sees it on his wall. Create a calendar and cross out every day you’ve spent working towards your goal. We like patterns and like continuity, so it’s harder to break a chain than it is to put things off. That’s the theory anyway – try it and see if it works for you.

5. Don’t over-think inspiration. Have a way of jotting down all your ideas on the move – using whatever method you prefer. When you have the time you sometimes lack ideas and when you have ideas you often lack the time. Log down your insights and ideas as you go and when you have a bit of quiet time to focus, go through them and see if something sparks off.

6. Set time aside for mindful worrying. Sounds odd, but hear me out. We all worry about things but have different ways of dealing with these worries. Some internalise them and just end up feeling a general sense of malaise; some keep thinking about their worries but go around in circles without solving anything. Set aside time every week when you’ll consciously figure out what you’re stuck on, what’s worrying you and why – and whether there is anything you can do about it. Translate these insights into action points and review your calendar and plans accordingly.

7. Outsource or delegate the tasks that don’t come easily to you. This is easier for bigger businesses because you’ll need to do a bit of everything to get a small start-up off the ground. Whatever your situation, your job isn’t to learn how to become an expert in all the necessary business tasks; your job is to be an expert in what your business does and what you do well. Build a fantastic team. Spend your efforts where your customers are and be the voice running through all levels of your organisation. Trying to do everything in-house when you would have the budget to choose otherwise is a false economy.

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