Hi, friends! Welcome to week 4 of Project: Purposeful Productivity! Over the past few weeks, I’ve been talking about the strategies that help me to waste less time and accomplish more. But do you want to know a secret? When I do these series on organization and productivity… they’re more for me than anyone else. 😉 I don’t do them because I’ve got it all figured out and know everything I need to know. I do them because it forces me to think about areas in my own life that I need to improve.
It’s kind of funny that as I’ve been writing this productivity series this month that I’ve felt like I’m in kind of a productivity funk. As I shared on Instagram a few days ago, there’s nothing majorly wrong or anything, I’ve just been feeling a bit “off” and like I’m not getting as much accomplished as I usually do.
So this weekend I sat down and thought long and hard about what was getting in the way. What is keeping me from being as productive as I want to be? There are many reasons, but as I made my list, the same 5 themes kept coming to mind.
5 Reasons We Fail at Productivity
And what I’ve learned as I’ve blogged about this topic over the past few years is that I’m usually not alone– the things that inhibit my organization and productivity are the same things that get in others’ way too– so I thought I’d share what I came up with in case it would be helpful for anyone else!
Here it goes…
1. We’re worn out.
Whether it’s from not getting enough sleep at night or from being mentally/emotionally worn out from all that we take on during our days, I find that one of the main reasons I’m lacking in the productivity department is that I’m just too worn out.
I think that if I go and go and go and go, that will be how I will be able to check off everything on my to do list, but in reality, I’m working myself into burnout mode, which usually results in non-productivity.
This past weekend I probably did the least amount of work that I had in a long time. Instead I took my kids on a hayride, went on a date with my husband, and spent some quality time with my mom.
Even though I didn’t check off many things on my to do list, I came into the week feeling more energized and ready to work because I had taken the time to rest and rejuvenate.
2. We’re distracted.
This is a big one. Even though I have a list of things I want to accomplish, all of the sudden my Facebook and Instagram feeds become the most interesting things I’ve ever seen, I start scrolling around Pinterest mindlessly, and I look for any excuse to do exactly the opposite of what I’m supposed to be doing. I am so easily distracted by anything and everything.
I’ve found that I am most prone to distractions when I’m trying to avoid certain tasks on my to-do list. They’re hard, not fun, or I just don’t feel like doing them, so I begin wasting time instead.
The biggest way I try to combat this is by tackling the “worst” tasks on my list first. When I have them out of the way, I don’t spend the rest of the day dreading them, and my mind is free to focus on the other more enjoyable tasks that need to be done.
3. We have no accountability.
I may be able to stay motivated and accomplish things on my own, but I’m always amazed at how much more I can do when I have someone to hold me accountable. Especially when I feel like I’m in a rut, confiding in someone who will hold me responsible for what I do or don’t accomplish is exactly what I need to get myself out of it.
Starting this blog was like that for me. For a while I had thought about doing something like blogging as a creative outlet and a way to exercise my mental muscles, but it wasn’t until I told Donnie about my plan and asked him to help me put it into action that I actually went for it and did it… and here we still are, almost three years later!
4. We’re overwhelmed.
Oh friends, this is such an easy one to fall into. The tasks in front of us seem so big or we have so much on our plate that we feel like there’s never any way we’ll get it all done, but instead of doing the logical thing and chipping away at our list little by little, we avoid it, waste time, and in turn, don’t get any closer to the finish line.
It sounds silly, but one area where I find myself doing this the most is with cleaning. I love to organize, but I am not the best housekeeper. I get so overwhelmed with all of the cleaning tasks that have to be done– windows and floors and laundry and dusting and bathrooms etc. etc. etc.– that I just shut down and put it off until I can’t take it anymore. (Which of course makes it 10 times worse!)
When I can get in a routine and tackle one small area at a time, though, I realize it’s not so bad at all and is totally doable! (Though I still don’t know that it will ever be my favorite thing… 😉 )
5. We don’t have goals and/or a plan to achieve them.
If you read my blog often, you probably knew this one was coming! I am huge on not only setting goals, but also putting action steps in place to help achieve those goals. As much as I love the goal setting process, though, and know it works, I am far from perfect at it.
Earlier this year Donnie and I put a lot of time and effort into relaunching an eBook. The “big goal” was to get it launched successfully, and we did.
I had been so fixated on that goal, though, that I hadn’t put much thought into what my next steps would be after we completed it, so I spent a few weeks kind of piddling aimlessly because I didn’t have a set goal and planned action steps to work on next.
When I refocused and settled into a long term plan, then I again began to be more productive and get things accomplished.
Am I the only one who has experienced these stumbling blocks?! Are there other ones that have affected you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
If you’ve missed the previous weeks of the Project: Purposeful Productivity series and want to play catch up, you can do so below…
Have a productive day, friends! 🙂