Productivity is something that many of us aim for but often fall short for a number of reasons. I wrote a post on 6 reasons for a lack of productivity and what you can do about them, but recently I was hit with two truth bombs from my life coach Lindsay Preston.
You see, I’ve been working on personal development for almost a year now. I had a lot of negative mindset issues, lack of confidence, and problems with productivity and achieving my goals.
I’ve come so far in my mindset but I was still struggling with my physical goals (weight loss and growing my side business). At the end of April I had a quick check-in call with Lindsay and I told her about my issue with lack of productivity even though most of my mental blocks were gone.
Lindsay got really straight with me and gave me her tough love truth bombs.
Once I heard these truths come out of her mouth about me, everything changed. Now I want to share with you these two truth bombs that may be accurate for you as well so that your productivity will increase as well as your effort towards achieving your goals.
Truth #1- Indecision is a Decision
Ouch. This one hit me hard. I’m a thinker. Well, an OVERthinker. I imagine all the various possibilities for a decision, how I will feel, and the pros and cons.
If you’re like me, then this can take up a lot of your time which causes two issues.
The first is that you’re constantly worried about your decisions and how they will affect your goals. Thus, you get stuck in a loop of procrastination. You haven’t made a decision so you can’t start the work.
If this is you, you probably have tons of notebooks filled with your goals, ideas for reaching them, plans of what you need or want to do, and various other scribbles.
(Side note: if this is you, try using a reusable journal like the one I use. It saves on so much paper but you’re still physically writing vs using a computer or phone.)
Secondly, you may FEEL like you’re actually working towards your goals while you’re trying to make your decisions. This is because it takes a lot of brain power to work through all your thoughts to make each decision. It can feel like you’re accomplishing something but you’re really not.
I can plan for hours but have I actually gotten productive to my tasks at hand or towards my goals? No. Yet it can feel like you’ve accomplished a lot. It’s a huge mind trick. At the end of the day you’re scratching your head wondering where all the time went. Yup. Been there.
You can see how Lindsay’s truth bomb hit me hard. I felt like I was accomplishing things but also knew that I wasn’t because it took so long to make decisions. I weighed all my options too much.
Indecision is a decision.
So how do you fix it?
It has taken a lot of practice and sometimes I still fall into an indecision spiral.
My best tip for this is to set up time limits for your decision making. For small decisions, like which area of the house to clean first or which workout routine you should follow today to work towards your weigh loss goal, set a 5 minute timer. When time’s up, it’s time to make a choice.
For larger things, like which continuing education classes would help your career, where you want to travel to next, or a large self business decision to make, give yourself more time. There is no correct answer or amount of time.
Base it on how much the choice will affect you. Maybe you need 30 minutes, maybe you need a day, or maybe you need a full week to do a lot of research and small decision making along the way.
Once you start forming a habit of easy decision making, it will be easier to listen to and trust your intuition. I believe that most of the time we do know the answer deep down, we are just either trying to please someone else (like “what do you want for dinner tonight?”) or are worried we aren’t making the right decision because of self doubt.
Trust yourself and your instincts and the decisions will start becoming much easier.
Truth #2 – There is a Self Discipline Problem
Technically she said “you have a self discipline problem” but I didn’t want to call you out like she did to me.
I’ve been working through my mental blocks and developing a better mindset for nearly a year. I’m out of excuses for not going after my goals and being productive.
At this point, it’s a self discipline problem.
Mel Robbins, a motivational speaker, put it another way. According to her, we are in a habit of procrastination. It’s so true. Our minds negotiate with us, telling us to watch that episode of The Office and we can work afterwards.
Afterwards never seems to come though does it? We keep hitting “next episode”. Our brains like being relaxed more than being productive and working, especially if it’s new for us.
This is why it’s important to develop a habit of self discipline instead of a habit of procrastination.
You can start small.
Start with being productive for at least 10 minutes. It’s likely once you start, you’ll be able to keep going.
Starting is the hardest part of productivity.
Your mind will find ways to get around it.
Don’t let it.
Start with 10 minutes. Do it every day for 21 days. It takes a few weeks to really develop your habits.
Slowly start adding in more time. It’s also helpful if you can do your habits around the same time every day, but I know that’s not always possible.
If you have a thought in your head to do something, don’t back down. Even thinking to yourself “I should do the dishes”, don’t self negotiate to do it later. Count down from 5 and get up and do it. Over time there will be less hesitation.
Build your self discipline and productivity habits. No one else can do it for you. I’ve learned this the hard way. Even when joining accountability groups for my goals, unless I make myself do the work I stay stuck in procrastination and overthinking.
Work on your self discipline at least a little at a time and grow it. You probably won’t go from couch potato to productive superstar and that’s OK.
Every step, no matter how small is important and buildings itself over time.
Take that first step.
Before you go on your way, here is a quick recap and final thoughts.
Truth #1 – indecision is a decision. It’s time to start making faster decisions and sticking with them. No more flip flopping or overthinking all the time. It will take some work but it’s going to greatly improve your productivity and achieving your goals.
Truth #2 – lack of self discipline is a problem. Getting into your productive habits and working towards your goals can be difficult, especially at first. This is because you haven’t grown your ability to be self disciplined. You get distracted or self negotiate to do the work later. Start small habits to grow your productivity and self discipline. It will get easier over time and you’ll be able to more easily achieve your goals.
If you fix these two problems, then you’re going to be much closer to being the productive goal-getter that you dream to be. It probably won’t happen over night but keep pushing forward. Do whatever it takes.
Set timers. Track your time. Set smaller goals. Create checklists to work up to larger goals.
You got this!
How to Journal for Personal Development
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6 Fixable Reasons Why You’re Procrastinating
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