I’m working with a young client at the moment who knows ‘what he wants to be when he grows up’. What he struggles with is the motivation to sit at a computer for longer than 15 minutes at a time without getting fed up. Before he knows it he’s looking for distractions and then he feels bad about the fact he’s wasted time faffing around.
Maybe you can relate?
Time-wasting is something we all do, to a greater or lesser extent. Indeed I’m an advocate of engaging in some conscious distraction; that is engaging in activities I love that are, in reality of little or no importance to my business or career.
It may be time-wasting but it isn’t a waste of time because it allows you to clear your head and take a break from a task you might be finding difficult. Sometimes, leaving something for 10 minutes or so can mean we come back to it with a fresh eye and that can lead to a period of being in flow.
It’s the unconscious distractions that eat up time; that can leave us feeling less than satisfied. These are the days when it gets to ‘home-time’ and you’re not even close to finishing your work. Maybe you have to stay late to get the job done or perhaps you feel obliged to take the work home with you. Either way, there’s another evening lost.
So, what can you do to minimise the unconscious time-wasting and increase the likelihood you will complete the task at hand?
Here are 5 pointers that are helping my client and can help you too:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHEN YOU’RE STUCK: We all have days when the creative juices run dry. Accept that today is one of those days and give yourself permission to take a break from creative work.
DON’T DITCH THE PROJECT; SWITCH THE ACTIVITY: If you’ve set aside time to write (a blog / business proposal / white paper) for example, and it just isn’t coming together; focus on aspects of the project which rely on skills other than your writing ability. Do some research; see what others have written or do some planning and organise some meetings. You’ll still be moving the project forward and you’ll feel like you’ve achieved something.
COMMIT TO SHORT TIME-BLOCKS: If you’re overwhelmed by the task at hand then only commit to a short time-period. Immerse yourself in this activity for at least 15 minutes on the proviso that it’s okay to stop when the designated time is up. You may be surprised by the amount of time that has passed when you next lift up your head.
CONSIDER THE OTHER WORK STREAMS IN YOUR AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY: You may not feel up to tackling the ‘big project’ and yet I’m sure you’ll always feel like doing something. Get started on a work-related activity; any activity and see where it leads.
ADOPT A ‘LITTLE AND OFTEN’ APPROACH: Try revisiting big projects for short time-periods on a frequent basis. In one of those sessions you’re likely to have a breakthrough and it will be plain sailing from there on in.
If you’d like to be better at achieving more with less time, get in touch – I’m here to help.