I’ve been a serial starter, but never a finisher.
I created a lot of half-songs when I was playing music, always with the intention of finishing them but never really succeeding.
I recently had an epiphany about why this happened, and it might be helpful for you to understand why you might be experiencing the same problem.
You see, we like to be challenged. It makes us feel good!
Having music lined up on our playlists, Facebook open, ready to respond to anyone who might send an urgent message about how Kanye West says things that people feel uncomfortable hearing or something else trivial, that’s important, right?
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It satisfies a part of our brain that releases a neurochemistry that makes us feel good.
The discomfort of unfinished projects can’t compete with this euphoric feeling of being scattered, until I made it REAL and took responsibility for it – I was the creator of this frustration!
It really motivated me to improve, so I started looking for ways to improve my productivity.
I looked for where the leaks were and where my time and attention was slipping away, and I looked for reasons why I was compounding my frustrations with these escaping “joys”.
Identifying Leaks and The Pomodoro technique
I used an application to see how much time I was wasting every day on Facebook.
Shocked and horrified, I realized that this time was dead, the leaks were unproductive and I was determined to solve it.
I downloaded “Facebook Feed Eradicator” for my laptop. It’s an incredible chrome extension that allows us to see nothing but a quote in our information flow. I really recommend recovering all those hours of leakage by using this extension.
It was a good start, but I was still losing time and productivity.
I quickly realized that our cognitive attention span is not that long, just a little over 30 minutes at full capacity before we were forced to take a break.
You may have heard about the Pomodoro technique and that’s what I implemented to be able to divide my tasks into groups of Pomodoros. This blog post should not take more than one Pomodoro, that is 30 minutes.
After each Pomodoro, the idea is to take a 5 minute break, to stretch and move around. Maybe take some more water, then come back and resume the task at hand, paying attention only to that one task.
This means turning off your phone, having a tab open, eliminating all distractions, etc.
It takes a little practice, but once you master it, you will become a time ninja and a master of productivity.
How to Increase Productivity by Eliminating Distractions
Disable ALL notifications on your phone!
Yes, all of them! These tricks are designed to give your amygdala a neuro shock, stop the drugs and disable all your notifications!
Get into the habit of using buffer blocks throughout your day, a buffer block for emails (maybe 1 hour, depending on your work), a block for content, a block for lead, etc….
Whatever your line of business, you know what needs to be blocked and by doing so, you focus on the things that need to be done when they need to be done and increase your productivity.
When we overlap tasks, we get lost and waste time.
Download a Chrome extension called “Time Blocker”, thank me later!
The last element I mention here, which is probably the most important, is to plan your week and to distribute your tasks and delegate them to days of the week.
I use two things for this.
The first is Google Calendar. It has become my religion. Over time, I have made an absolute commitment to respect everything I put in my Google Calendar. If I book a client, they sign up and I commit to it. It’s the habit I’m most proud of in the last few years.
Commit yourself to using it, fall in love with following through on the commitments you make to yourself.
The second recommendation is to purchase this “productivity planner” from Amazon. It costs $25 and it’s money well spent. It essentially allows you to put into practice what I mentioned above, it contains some very good ideas and creates an excellent organizational flow for your week.
In the end, I realized that time management doesn’t really exist. What does exist is our relationship to ourselves and our commitments to the things we take on as obligations.
It took me years to reach a level of mastery that I am now proud of and I’m still not at level 10, but I’m in a different ball park than I was before.