Work day got away from you, did it? Belive me, I’m sympathetic. Since getting back from the Day Spa Expo in Vegas, it seems like the last two weeks have gotten the better of me. Some of you sweet readers have even been emailing, “Jaya–are you okay? You’re not blogging!” Thank you. No need to send out the search dogs or file a missing persons report. I’ve just been busy, trying to regain that elusive state of work-life balance. It’s a paradox how easy it is to be over-working and yet not getting things done at the same time.
Rededicating myself to tightening up my productivity systems again, I read this article on Life Hacker with interest. Top 10 Smart and Lazy Ways to Save Your Work Day
My two favorite tips from this article are:
10. Make a lunch or dinner date (to create a deadline).
Ever wonder why your co-workers who are parents get out of the door on time every day like clockwork? It’s because they’ve got to pick up the kids at daycare by a certain time. If you feel like you’ve got all day to get things done, you’re more likely to get sucked into stuff that’s not that important. But a deadline will light a fire under your butt and keep your eye on the clock. If you know you’ve got a spouse at home expecting to see you by 6:30, or a buddy waiting for you at the gym, you’re more likely to stay focused, get your stuff done, and get out of your chair on time.
Since I don’t have kids up from school and I work at home, it’s really easy to just keep on working through the day and the night, too. What I used to do was make sure I had 5pm appointments with my best friend for weekly after-work get togethers, as well as schedule time with my personal trainer. But since moving away from where my friends live and doing self-paced workouts, I don’t have those appointments any more. Sure, it’s in my calendar to go out for a run/hike at 4pm every day, but without another real live human being, it’s so easy to skip it. Note to self: make more of an effort to see my friends during the week, not just weekends.
2. Block out distractions and set a timer.
When your brain is frozen in a solid block of paralyzed procrastination around a task and you’re letting yourself get carried away by distractions like email and instant messenger, it’s time to take out the big guns. Turn off your email and IM client, grab a kitchen timer, set it for 10 minutes, and work until the beep. Then, take a break. Wash, rinse, and repeat. I swear by this technique, which got me through writing 400 pages of the Lifehacker book when all I wanted to do was crawl under the bed and hide. If you give yourself an easy deadline (it’s only 10 minutes!) and make it a race with the clock, you’ll unfreeze your brain and break through your blocks.
I do find that getting anything that involves writing (seminar content, articles, blogging) requires me to firmly close the virtual office door. No email, internet browsing, etc. But I especially like the author’s tip about handling procrastination, which for me creeps in during projects that are either really big/important (major speaking presentations) or loathsome (like my bookkeeping.) I can totally relate to how she responded to book writing with avoidance. Ten minutes seems pathetically short, but she does speak with authority. Note to self: get the kitchen timer and bring it into my office.
Here is the link to the article again: Top 10 Smart and Lazy Ways to Save Your Work Day
Which is your favorite tip? Or if you have another one, do share it with us!
Jaya Savannah - Chief Inspiration Officer. Strategy Coach for Holistic Businesses. Trainer, speaker, and writer. Spiritually aware, yet street smart. Elephant lover.