How Do You Get Stuff Done?
Let’s contrast how you procrastinate with a time when you achieved the holy grail of doing exactly what you planned and said you were going to do, and you did it with the full satisfaction of a job thoroughly well done…Can you think back to the last time you did this?
It doesn’t need to be business- or career-related…perhaps it was the last time you:
- Baked something
- Cleaned the house
- Finished a book
- Created something by hand
- Wrote a letter or even an email
…the above may seem tiny, trivial tasks but the purpose is to tap into what it is you felt (or didn’t feel) when you were doing these things. Like most of us, ultimately you CAN and DO get things done when that thing is:
- Challenging but not too challenging
- Engaged your body and mind
This is great when you’re facing tasks that tick the above boxes but what if a task isn’t enjoyable, satisfying and it’s overly challenging? What then?
Then, it’s a case of either knuckling down and using one of the techniques I’m about to share with you OR you get someone else to do it…
Techniques & Methods For Getting Things Done
Read through the Productivity Techniques here to understand a number of popular strategies for busting through procrastination habits. Have a go at a few – mix, adapt and tweak if necessary – to find one or more which work for you. Below you’ll find my tips on when to use each technique…
Use these techniques to review and manage what you’re currently doing:
- The Eisenhower/Covey Decision Matrix – excellent to help you identify whether you’re consistently spending your time on the wrong kind of tasks.
- Personal Kanban – ideal as a workflow tool to organise what you currently have on your plate, and see where things are out of balance.
- The Anti To Do list – a handy review tool to celebrate and identify what you get done each day.
Use this technique to help you complete things you’re struggling to complete:
- The Pomodoro Technique – excellent for getting boring tasks done, in manageable chunks.
Use this to establish positive habits:
- Don’t Break The Chain – useful if you want to establish small but high-impact habits.
Use this if you’re struggling to find your flow and nothing so far seems to work:
- The Optimal Biorhythm Cycle – takes things to a different, even more personal level when it comes to hacking your own productivity.
I personally use different approaches for different tasks, projects and periods in my business cycles; the key is to know when you’re procrastinating, break the pattern and choose a different approach instead. There are plenty, so pick your poison!
Exercises & Actions
In summary, to put this advice into practical action here’s what I recommend you do:
- Identify your particular flavours of procrastination. The goal here is to become even more self aware and understand how you typically sabotage your productivity and stop yourself from getting things done. When you know what your techniques are, you can put in place better techniques to use instead.
- Identify a time/task when you find flow and get stuff done with ease – note what was in place to make this happen. The goal here is to identify what conditions you need to work productively, and what you can do to replicate these when you need to.
- Experiment with and choose your preferred method to get things done (see the Productivity Techniques listed here). The goal here is to give you techniques to use when procrastination rears its ugly head; instead of sitting, stuck in a depressing cycle of getting nothing done, you can choose instead to try one of these and kickstart yourself back into a productive cycle.
- Identify your productive trigger – find something that interrupts your procrastinating pattern and nudges you to use a methodology that work; it may be a timer/alarm, asking your other half to ask what you’re working on (if you find yourself responding defensively, that’s usually a sign you’re NOT being as productive as you could be!), or whatever will help you constantly assess whether you’re getting stuff done or NOT getting stuff done.
– a summary list of all the resources mentioned are here:
- Belbin’s Team Roles
- The Pomodoro Technique
- The Eisenhower App
- Personal Kanban 101
- Trello (to create a Personal Kanban)