It’s GREAT to experience FLOW when working. You have the right atmosphere, the right amount of challenge, and the right purpose or motivation. You loose track of time because you are engaged and immersed.
But what happens when it’s not a fun, meaningful, or challenging task?
Every professional has a few of those not so fun tasks on their list. Maybe it’s balancing your business accounts; or creating a presentation; or updating your website. Whatever the task, you still need to get it done. But somehow you just can’t get going – or keep going. It’s like productivity constipation.
You need something to get you going – into productivity. You need: Productivity Fiber. You need to take steps to make the not so fun tasks more engaging and interesting or at least bearable enough to get through them!
Here’s what works for me:
1. Break it down into small bites. Trying to bit off more than you can chew is a recipe for disaster if it’s not a project or task you love. Giving in to distractions or other procrastinating techniques are inevitable if you have an overwhelming AND not so fun task. Cut your project into bite sizes of 10 to 20 minute increments. If you can swallow 30 or 60 minutes, all the better. The time block is a personal preference that you must discover yourself through experimentation.
2. Reward yourself. You know that little rush of excitement and energy you get when you complete a task? There is actually a chemical reaction happening in your brain. I like to call them – happy endorphins! The small bites of #1 already take advantage of that built in reward system. Your job is to recognize it and use that energy to take on the next bite sized task.
Reinforce that internal reward with an external one. Every 60 to 90 minutes, reward yourself. Choose what is fun, but not going to derail your productivity. You could get a cup of tea/coffee; take 5 minutes to surf the web; or 5 minutes to walk outside and get some air (anywhere workers can play with your puppy!)
3. Get an accountability partner. There is power in partnering. When you know someone is going to be checking in on your progress – you are more likely to do the work. You could even make it a competition. You are there to encourage each other; remind each other when you see one another veering off the path; and celebrate with each other when the work is done.
Identify the big hairy work that you are putting off and avoiding. Find an accountability partner. Together with your partner, apply the three steps outlined here. Let me know if this helped you with your productivity constipation.