What is stopping you from getting all the things you want to accomplish done?
Have you ever wondered why it is, that even though we have all the right “productivity” tools at our fingertips, with calendars, checklists, electronic reminders and the like, all the tricks in our bag, we still don’t produce as much as we feel we should or can?
What is it that prevents us from achieving the levels of productivity we strive for?
We know that we can, and often do schedule appointments in calendars. We know that making a list of the things we need to do, a to-do list, is a great way to make sure that well, we know what to work on. We all do these things, and more, from time to time, or even consistently.
And yet, it seems that even though we know to do these things, and even do them, we are still not as productive as we can be.
You see many times it’s not about not getting things done, or having too many things to do. It’s about putting things off! It’s about procrastinating. It’s about not focusing on the important things.
Procrastination is all about stress-relief. That feeling that we’re not getting all those things done, creates stress. We are pressured by the fact that so many things are left unattended.
When we start our day, and start knocking things off our to-do list, we start to feel good. We relieve stress.
At the same time however, we enable new or additional stress. And that is because although we have “done a lot,” we very well may have not done the things we should have done.
It is quite possible that we avoided doing certain tasks because we did not have the confidence we needed to do them. Or maybe the deadline to get those more important things done was too far away for us to feel the urgency in starting on those more important things now as opposed to later.
The three most important factors that contribute to procrastination are; the confidence we have in ourselves that we can succeed in completing the task; the value a given task has for us; and the deadline for completing the task. Once we address these three factors in the right way we decrease procrastination and increase productivity.
Let’s look at each of the three factors individually.
Confidence: Increased confidence that we can actually do a task successfully, decreases procrastination. This is because the stress of doing the task gets lowered.
Value: Increased value or importance of the completed task decreases the likelihood we will delay the task. Simply put, we anticipate higher pleasure from completing the task, so we are attracted to the reward it provides and we get on with the task.
Deadline: Closer deadlines, or higher urgency and stress to get things done will decrease procrastination. In other words, as deadlines become closer, we seek out ways to relieve that stress and therefore get going on the job that needs to be done, thus relieving stress and anxiety.
The right mixture of the above will, 1. Increase our motivation to get these things done, 2. Decrease the likelihood of procrastination, and 3. Increase our productivity.