4 solutions to deal with unproductivity

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Get­ting things done and feel­ing a sense of accom­plish­ment is an impor­tant part of being human. How­ev­er, some­times we don’t get it all done. What hap­pens then?

Have you ever made a to do list with too much on it?

Do you like mak­ing to-do lists and see­ing things get crossed off? It’s a great feel­ing when stuff is marked COMPLETE.

....But some­times we have to deal with tasks that can’t get checked off.

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We all deal with stress dif­fer­ent­ly. Some peo­ple can go months “ignor­ing” some­thing impor­tant, but then it becomes CRITICAL at the last minute when it’s due. Although we are all wired dif­fer­ent­ly, we all have to deal with “undone stuff” soon­er or lat­er. Deal­ing with “undone stuff” is part of the human con­di­tion.

[share­able cite=“Josh Mitchell”]Dealing with “undone stuff” is part of the human condition.[/shareable]

See if you make these mistakes in getting stuff done…

  1. You believe you can get it ALL done. You believe that it’s not just pos­si­ble, but your PURPOSE—your vocation!—to do absolute­ly every­thing there is to do.
  2. You run out of time. En route to accom­plish every­thing on your list, you run out of time do to it all. 5 o’clock comes fast and you’re sur­prised when it’s…wow, already Fri­day?! There’s still so much to do!

  3. You’re forced to work over­time because of time lost dur­ing the day. Have you ever had things on your list that were a pri­or­i­ty for the day, but they didn’t get done and you had to stay late or come back on a Sat­ur­day to fin­ish up? I have. More than once! (Not proud of this.)

  4. You under com­pen­sate how much time is need­ed to do a task. Instead of sched­ul­ing a full day to work on your desired out­come, you sched­ule an hour to do “it all” and find your­self both sur­prised and frus­trat­ed that you didn’t arrange for enough time to do the task.

  5. You lie awake in bed think­ing about what you have to do the next day. Instead of read­ing some­thing sooth­ing or lis­ten­ing to a Sleep Sto­ry (see the Calm app), you men­tal­ly review your day and the fol­low­ing day while you’re try­ing to fall asleep. You don’t tru­ly “turn off”—and you allow your brain to keep working—rather than rest.

I’ve struggle with these things, too.

Even though I’ve accept­ed I’ll nev­er be able to get it all done, I strug­gle with each of these mis­takes, too. I have to remind myself fre­quent­ly that I’m not God!

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4 ways to deal with the fact you’ll never get it all done

1. Accept it.

Accept the fact that you will NEVER get every­thing done. This is a big step, but it’s impor­tant. See if you can say it out loud: “I’m nev­er going to get every­thing done. I can’t get every­thing done. And that’s ok.”

2. Plan for it.

Once you accept that you’ll nev­er get it all done, plan accord­ing­ly. Plan extra time, plan for things to go wrong, plan to sleep with unfin­ished tasks still writ­ten down in a trust­ed place.

3. Delegate it.

Since YOU can’t get every­thing done, employ the help of oth­ers. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. When you ask oth­ers to do stuff, I try these things:

  1. Admit you need help. Don’t pre­tend you can do it all on your own. None of us can. By admit­ting to anoth­er per­son that you need help, you val­ue the oth­er person’s time, skill, and tal­ent. And we all want to be val­ued.
  2. Ask them if they would be will­ing to help. Often when I am giv­en tasks, the oth­er par­ty doesn’t ask me if I am able to help. They imply I’m able to do it—which makes it tricky when I’m booked. It’s nice to ask rather than imply.

  3. Pro­vide a rea­son­able time-frame and deliv­ery date. Del­e­ga­tion can go wrong if you RUSH some­one else to do some­thing. It is bet­ter to pro­vide more than enough time and ask in ADVANCED, rather than forc­ing some­one else to do some­thing in a short time frame. Empow­er some­one to do some­thing.

  4. Put them on your Wait­ing-For list. You can read my post about a wait­ing-for list here. Make a note that you’re wait­ing to hear from the oth­er per­son and fol­low up when you still have time to fig­ure out what to do.

Here’s a del­e­ga­tion tem­plate you might try:

[callout]1. I need help and here’s what that means.
2. Are you able to help?
3. Here’s a rea­son­able timeframe.[/callout]

Exam­ple: Hi Matt, I need help with for upcom­ing event. I need some­one to take lead­er­ship over the reg­is­tra­tion process and recruit vol­un­teers. Would you be will­ing to help? The event is in 3 months and I’d like to have some­one on it by the end of next week.

4. Expand it.

We some­times try to get too much done in a short peri­od of time, rather than expand­ing our dead­line.

The secret to hav­ing more ener­gy and less stress is to expand the time­frame need­ed to accom­plish what you want to do. If you give your­self one month to do some­thing, instead of one week, you’ll find you and your team are more ener­gized to do the work and that the work is done with more excel­lence.

[share­able cite=]The biggest mis­take in get­ting stuff done is think­ing you can get EVERYTHING done.[/shareable]

[reminder]What mis­takes do you make in try­ing to be pro­duc­tive? Do you res­onate with any of the mis­takes list­ed here?[/reminder]

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