Category Archives: Productivity experiments

Productivity techniques to get started, keep going or keep from procrastinating. Tips, tricks, best practices and lessons learned.

These posts are inspired by what happens in my Facebook group called Productivity Experiments. Feel free to join us!

Stop procrastinating on… self publishing tips #1

Stop procrastinating on… starting

Now that I have a book on Amazon, I have to learn more about self-publishing. How to do it in a way that works? There are tons of information out there, so I need to find a way to get started on it. Since starting is a key problem for many people who procrastinate, I’ve developed a simple tool to help with that process. It consists of three simple steps. I’ll share these first, and then apply them to my own example.

A simple tool to help you get started

    1. Finish this sentence: I want to start…
    2. Think of three concrete things you could do to start it.
    3.  For all three things, ask your self:
      – Does this combine with who I am and how I work?
      – How likely am I to procrastinate on this one (and why)?
      – Does it actually contribute to what I want to start?

Example: How to start learning about self-publishing

1. Finish this sentence: I want to start…

I want to start learning about self publishing.

2. Think of three concrete things you could do to start it.

A) Read a book.
B) Watch YouTube clips.
C) Join relevant Facebook groups.
D) Listen to podcasts (I know, that’s number four, but hey, why not?)

3. For all three things, ask yourself:

– Does this combine with who I am and how I work?
– How likely am I to procrastinate on this one (and why)?
– Does it actually contribute to what I want to start?

A) Read a book
  • It combines with who I am. I like reading, and I like to be thorough.
  • Oops. I’ll know I’ll spend too much time finding the Best Book. Maybe that’s not procrastination, but it certainly is time consuming. And not very rewarding. I like to be efficient, so maybe this is not my best option.
  • It would contribute, but too slowly. That doesn’t stimulate me. So I’ll probably end up procrastinating anyway.
B) Watch YouTube
  • Does that combine with me? Mwah. I’m not a big fan of watching YouTube to gather information. It seems fast, but it’s often not in-depth enough for me. Also: too much talking that isn’t relevant, which exhausts my head.
  • Definitely a procrastination risk. There’s SO much on YouTube, how to choose? Also, I like my learning with less distractions, so I’d not be looking forward to doing it.
  • It would contribute, I expects tips that you can apply straight away. Maybe I’ll watch some, but it shouldn’t be my main strategy for learning.
C) Join relevant Facebook groups
  • That combines with how I work for sure. I spend time on Facebook and I like it there. I know it’s easy to find groups, and if I don’t like some it’s easy to leave. Efficient.
  • A very low procrastination risk for me. Once I’ve joined, information will pop up in my feed, in small chunks. So I’ll easily get an overview of which topics are discussed, and which ones might be relevant for me. It will function as a constant reminder that I want to learn more about this. And contact with others stimulates me.
  • It will contribute, IF I take the next steps and dive deeper into some of the relevant subjects.
D) Listen to pod casts
  • I don’t know yet how much that suits me. When there’s too much irrelevant talking I find it time and energy consuming.
  • The procrastination risk is not too bad. I’ll know I can listen to some when I’m doing a task that doesn’t require my full attention, so I can try some out without feeling I lose time.
  • It would contribute; I expect relevant information with enough depth.
    I ended up doing a combination of these. Facebook groups turned out to be a quick and consistent starting point for me. I’ve found my favourite one called Self Publishing Made Simple. It brings me learning, practical tips, accountability, and the feeling to be in it together.

I have found a YouTube favourite, some pod casts I like listening to, and an e-book that’s very helpful. I’ll share them in later posts, this one is long enough already 🙂 If you have any favourites, please let me know in the comments. There’s SO much to learn that I expect it will stay a regular topic for me in 2020.

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Anti binge-watching tip

Today’s idea comes from one of my clients. She uses watching series as a way to relax, but knows the danger of cliffhangers… So she decided to watch episodes a different way. She’ll watch until somewhere in the middle of an episode, and then turn it off. The next time she’ll watch the second half, plus the first half of the next episode.

I know this might not work for everyone, but there is NO anti-procrastination tip that works for everyone. So try it out if you like, maybe even several times. Your mood might make a difference, the time of the day, or the type of show you’re watching.

My clients idea made me curious: how do other people manage the seduction of binge watching? Please share your tips, they may help others!

 

A procrastinator’s trap when eating frogs…

Well, I guess I should’ve seen it coming. Maybe you’re smarter than me and notice it straight away. Here’s how it went.

We were doing great on our productivity experiments. I’d eaten several frogs the day before, and was ready for a big one. This is what I wrote on the Facebook page: “Mine’s a biggie, it’s been growing for months. It’ll be gone for noon, that’s my promise.” My task looked a little like this:Inthefacefrog

After posting my message, I got to work. I did a little something of this, and a little something of that. I kept thinking of what I should be doing instead. Dreading it, because… well, you can see what this frog looked like. Finally, when it was almost noon, I jumped from my chair. I got working on my frog, fast.

And I did it! The frog was gone before noon. It turned out to be a friendly little animal, a helpful one even. Not the monster I had turned it into…

A few days later, when I was enjoying the results, it dawned upon me… The technique doesn’t simply say eat the frog, it says eat the frog FIRST. I conveniently forgot that when I thought it was a toad.

(If you want to leave a reply, the button is at the top, left side of the page. I dont’ have a clue how I can move it to a more logical position. Sorry!)

Rewards stop procrastination

A typical reaction to eating a frog is this:

I’m STUPID. I could have done this ages ago. I SHOULD have done this ages ago!

It looks like internal shouting. And it is. A punitive voice that tells you you’re no good. Again..

Criticism doesn’t work

Emotion lies behind every almost form of procrastination. Fear of failure and fear of not being good enough are common examples. What the critical voice does, is feed these fears. It takes a success you’ve just created, and turns it into proof that you’re a quack.

Inner berating leads to more procrastination, not less.

flagellant

Reward yourself

Each time you get something done that you procrastinated on, reward yourself. Acknowledge yourself for getting over yourself. Celebrate that YOU DID IT. Create physical rewards: a nice cup of coffee of tea, reading the newspaper, going out for a walk. The bigger your challenge was, the bigger the reward you create.

Your typical reaction to eating a frog, may become this:

I rock!

I’d love to hear your response to this post.  What you do reward yourself with? Or what keeps you from rewarding yourself? Or how about this: acknowledge yourself publicly. Now that’s a challenge… 🙂 The reply button is on the top left side of this post.

Eat the frog

I’m having loads of fun with my new Facebook group, called htts://www.facebook.com/groups/productivityexperiments/  I started the group because each time I saw an interesting method, my response was the same: interesting, I should try that out one time. But I never did…

So now the group is experimenting with a classic called Eat the frog. It comes down to identifying the thing on your to do list that your most likely to procrastinate on, and do that first. I’ll include a link to a brilliant video about it at the bottom of this page. First the results.

The good thing is, it works! Several people in the group got things done that they normally don’t, and a few of us had a lot more fun of doing it by being in this group.

Some drawbacks too… I identified a load of frogs, and got working on them.  The technique never told me to do as many as I could, that was my own take on it. It resulted in a boring, discouraging day with nothing but frogs. And in the end some new things turned into frogs because I didn’t pay attention to them.

My tip? Don’t eat all your frogs at once…

More tips on this technique on my next blog. For now, if you don’t know the technique, watch this: http://youtu.be/0W7GB5Fh2XM