This nonprofit productivity post is part 1 in a two-part series.
Procrastination is so very tempting! Just one more look at social media or another quick trip to the coffee shop, what harm can it do? But it’s more than mere distraction, it can have a serious impact on your long-term productivity. Amazing as it sounds, just ten minutes an hour of a nine to five job adds up to almost a full work day gone to waste by the end of the week.
So the million dollar question is: How can we personally and professionally reduce the itch to procrastinate?
Here are 5 tips to assist with focus, mental wellness and overall nonprofit productivity.
1. Long-sightedness over short-sightedness
Keep an eye on your long-term goals rather than the task at hand. Write out in large letters what your objectives are and keep that visible in your workplace.
Reduce the goal down to a single sentence, one which you can draw on to energize you through those inevitable moments of reduced will power. It will help the subconscious prioritize essential needs over distributive distractions!
2. Set goals and deadlines
Make goals to hit with time parameters and try dividing up your tasks early on into achievable daily deadlines.
Meeting objectives you’ve set yourself will jet fuel you past notifications and YouTube Ted-X talks. The simple act of having to get something done can be enough to mute the white noise of procrastination.
3. Use the power of body language
Studies have shown that how you sit while working can have an impact on your productivity. Sitting with your shoulders back and the seat at the right level for the desk can have a huge impact on what you can achieve day-to-day. While the wrong posture will create fatigue and distraction. Also a great posture can reinforce your confidence as body language speaks to how we see ourselves as much as how others perceive us.
4. Intentional breaks
Telling yourself that there is no time for a break can be counter-productive. Map out the time when you can switch off and recharge for a snack and a smartphone scroll in order to come back refreshed.
The key is to make sure you get back to work as smoothly as possible at the end of your break. Sometimes setting an alarm for this purpose or working in a public environment after lunch can really laser focus that caffeinated return to the grindstone.
5. Get the external work environment right
You don’t need to hire a feng shui master to reorganize your work space but an eye on housekeeping can go a long way. Think about the space you work in. What is it saying to your subconscious? Is it distracting, cluttered and helping to divide your attention? Are there electrical devices nearby? Clearing up your work space — be it the office or the dining room table — helps clear the cutter in our own minds.
Remember everyday is a new start
Try not to be too hard on yourself when you make mistakes though. If a day or two passes without meeting personal goals, don’t let that snowball into being overly self-critical. Try to put a bad day behind you as quickly as possible and begin afresh. This can be done hour to hour. So if the morning was wasted, begin with the determination to greet that coming afternoon with renewed focus.
Procrastination is something which everyone struggles with at some point, but I hope these first five tips help. The truth is that nothing compares to the sense of satisfaction which comes from a productive day ,and just like a work out routine, we all have adjustments to make in order to fit our needs and personalities. No one size fits all!
In part two of this post, I’ll explore the final five strategies to greater daily productivity, for us as individuals and as nonprofit organizations as a whole.