Are you a task tyre-kicker?
Firstly, I will admit, I most definitely am! I know I have that really important thing to put down on paper, but what I do is walk around it tyre-kicking without getting in there and putting pen to paper (or hands to keyboard!). I can see the deadline approaching, I know I want to make progress but where is my focus??
Some call it procrastination. Some call it lack of motivation. But I call it task tyre kicking!
Focusing when there’s no pressure is one of my biggest weaknesses. And I am sure I am not alone!
There are probably very few motivational tips I haven’t tried, but I would like to share with you the ones that really work for me.
Force the focus!
In my quest for motivational tricks, I found a great little book called the ‘Productivity Planner’, made by Intelligent Change (my head is easily turned by nice stationery and the book is really lovely). One of the things I learnt from using this book was the use of a timer to enable focus. I have adapted their recommendation now to fit my own work patterns, but ultimately you switch off all distractions and set a timer for half an hour or an hour and work on your intended task until the alarm goes off. Using this technique is usually the last straw for me – but it also usually works to get me in the zone. I find once the alarm goes off, I just keep going.
This is also mentioned in the productivity planner. They talk about having a list of tasks for the day ranked in order of priority, with the most important 3 being the only ones which ‘must’ be done today. However, size of tasks varies too much for this to work for me. But I have found that being realistic about the things which ‘must’ get done today or this week does help because it gives you room to breathe if you need it.
You are not a robot!
Believe it or not, this was the hardest lesson for me to learn when I set up my own business. I used to plan my time as though I was a computer programme to switch on in a morning and run like a virus scanner! I did not allow for being human, for off days, for some things taking longer to think about, for unforeseen things coming up.. and as such, made myself grumpy telling myself off for not being perfect. Accept you are human, and use tip number 2 to create breathing space so that off days, unforseens, longer timescales and shorter patience don’t result in project upsets and personal torment!
Your space, your individuality.
Don’t fall into the trap of the more ‘traditional’ working patterns. When I left employment to set up my own business, for a long time I thought that meant I had to sit at a desk during traditional office hours every day. It took a long time to realise I was my own boss and didn’t have to do that. Sometimes I work in my office, sometimes I work in shared spaces, sometimes my work is thinking through problems and making notes in my phone while I walk with my dog, sometimes I work in the day, sometimes I can’t get going in the day so I go out and work later instead. The point is, if you can, focus on what YOU need to do to get the outcomes you want – and how you will get the best performance from yourself.
Reward & positivity.
Not just ‘when I’ve written this I can have a biscuit’, more generally the things that make you feel good. Think about what motivates you and what it is that makes you feel good about your work. The more you can create positive memories, the more likely you are to feel positive about starting work. Maybe use a positivity jar – when you feel amazing and motivated about something in your work, write it down on a piece of paper and put it in the jar. Then when you feel unmotivated, read them!
Hope that’s been helpful! Feel free to share your tips – I’m sure we could all use them!
If you would like me to help you or your team to stay focused, just get in touch! www.sallybloomer.com