Graduating from Procrastination

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Procrastination. We all do it. Maybe you see it as a bad habit you’re trying to stop. Or you see it as an asset because you “work best under pressure.”

But if you always leave things to the last minute, is that really true? Either way, leaving yourself more time and systematically working on something can’t hurt.

According to a study at the McCraw Center for Teaching and Learning at Princeton University, “our reasons for delaying and avoiding [tasks] are rooted in fear and anxiety-about doing poorly, of doing too well, of losing control, of looking stupid, of having one’s sense of self or self-concept challenged.”

In short, we put tasks off that we don’t want to do. And we don’t want to do them because we’re afraid we’ll fail.

So how do we get over the fear? And get started accomplishing our goals?

Here are four steps to help you graduate from procrastination.

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Handling Distractions in a Hybrid World

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Whether working from home or returning to the office, there are distractions everywhere. And we need help.

That’s why I invited focusologist, Penny Zenker, on the most recent episode of my live-streaming show Inside Scoop, “Handling Distractions in a Hybrid World.

Here are a few tips we discussed to understand, avoid, and deal with distractions.

1) Understanding your distraction type.

Penny breaks distractions into three categories: emotional, physical, and environmental.

Emotional distractions are the biggest category. Penny explained these can be “taking care of your parents who are older, or if your kids are sick, or you got passed over for the job that you wanted.” Emotional distractions are things that happen in your life that take up your thoughts and energy, distracting you from what you need to do presently.

Then there’s physical distractions. Penny says these are things like “stopping my kids from coming in.”

And then there’s environmental distractions. Like being too cold or too hot. These are external factors that distract us from the task at hand.

2) Creating awareness.

Now that you’re aware of the type of distraction you’re dealing with, you can work to prevent it in the future.

Penny walked us through an example for those of us returning to the office: “What do you do about those got-a-minute meetings where somebody comes and stops by your desk?”

You can set up boundaries. You can put up your away message. Or block your calendar. Or set up specific office hours so people know when (and when not) to stop by.

For individuals, Penny suggested having predefined things to say. She says something like, “I only have five minutes. Is it something we can handle real quick?” works great. This lets people know how much time you have. And if it can’t be handled in that time frame, you can set up a time to meet about it later.

As a company, or team leader, make it a point to listen to your team members and be proactive in setting policies to help minimize the distractions they face.

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Interested in keeping out distractions by creating more boundaries? Join me for my LinkedIn Learning Course “How to Set Boundaries and Protect Your Time.

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3) Getting back on track.

Not all distractions are avoidable. That’s why I developed my distraction placeholder method.

I keep my to-do list next to me at all times. And on the lower left-hand side at the very bottom, I leave an area open for my distraction placeholders.

So if I’m in the middle of writing an email and I get distracted, I stop. I write down what I was doing. Then I allow myself to be distracted by answering the phone or the door. (It’s a little bit like mindful meditation.)

And when I return from my distraction, I look at my placeholder to know exactly what I was doing and pick up where I left off.

You can see how I do it and download that for free here.

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BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

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Five Productivity Experts Weigh In On Your Life

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BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

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When it comes to productivity, the past year and a half has thrown many people for a loop. Working from home and hybrid work has brought all kinds of new challenges — and new opportunities. (I’ve even produced several courses for LinkedIn Learning about this exact topic – check them out here.)

All this disruption is an opportunity to evaluate what’s working and what needs to change. It’s a chance to make changes that were a long time coming, and begin making more time for the things that have always brought you joy.

When it comes to finding new strategies and tools, I’ve always loved talking to the thought leaders and authors who are blazing new trails when it comes to productivity.

That’s why I started my live-streaming show Inside Scoop — to elevate the voices of experts on everything from financial productivity to WFH office design.

Here are some of my favorite episodes on productivity. Here are five episodes of Inside Scoop to catch up on:

 

Money-Making Productivity Tips with Jennifer Barrett

 

Make Sleep Your Productivity Superpower with Julie Wright

 

Design Your WFH Office for Productivity with Lee Wright

 

Making Stress Work in Your Favor with Heidi Hanna

 

Planning Your Farewelling with Karen Bussen

 

These experts are full of suggestions for creating the life you want to be living. Let’s take the lessons of the past year and put them to good use!

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BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

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Producing Hybrid Meetings Like A TV Show

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BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

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It’s easy to waste time at in-person meetings. You wait for that last person to join when someone mentions an interesting TV show they saw. And before you know it, you’ve wasted twenty minutes of your allotted meeting time.

And with technical problems and losing meeting links, it’s just as easy to waste time on a video call.

So in our new hybrid-work world, how do you avoid wasting even more time as some coworkers will be in the room and some will be on video? And more importantly how do you ensure that you get what you need to done in an efficient way?

The answer: Start “producing” your hybrid meetings.

Working as a TV news producer for nearly two decades taught me to break down every event or meeting like a TV show. I work in three phases to keep things organized and running efficiently.

Here’s my producer breakdown for hybrid meetings.

1)Pre-production

During pre-production on a show, a producer is figuring out what and how things are going to happen.

For producing your hybrid meetings, that means defining the goal of the meeting.

Ask yourself: What needs to be accomplished in the time that you’re gathering? Who needs to be in the room? Who can join virtually? And who doesn’t need to be there at all?

And if you can, now’s a good time to make a plan for people who can’t attend, but need the information you’re discussing. (Because someone always cancels at the last minute.)

2) Production

During the show, a producer knows exactly what’s going to happen and who’s doing what. (And often has contingency plans for when things inevitably don’t go according to plan.)

For a talk show, like my live-streaming show, Inside Scoop, that includes: what I’m going to say, what promotional images will be shown, and what questions I’ll be asking my guest.

For your hybrid meeting, that list probably includes:

An agenda with what topics will be discussed.

How long those discussions should last.

Who’s sharing information and/or presenting anything.

This way everyone will know how to prepare and if they’re responsible for anything. You’ll also act as the moderator or have someone who will. It will be your responsibility to make sure to encourage and ensure that everyone has a chance to weigh-in or ask questions. Treat it as if you’re a television anchor moving the conversation along.

3) Post-production

Remember the plan I mentioned before? Now would be the time to execute it. Sending an email recap after the meeting is always a good idea.

This way if someone missed the meeting, the wifi cuts out, or someone zoned out (It happens to all of us!), the information everyone needs will be circulated.

It’s also a chance for you to send out action steps so everyone knows what to work on next. This is something you can also be writing down as the meeting is happening. I have a whole course on LinkedIn Learning all about how to take better notes. You can check that out here.

Happy Hybrid Meeting!

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BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

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The Benefits of A Mood Check In

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BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

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As you know, I’m a big fan of taking the last 20 minutes of my day to jot down all my to-do’s for tomorrow. It helps me set my intentions  and track what I want to get done. It’s a ritual that I lay out in my first book Listful Thinking.

Recently, one of my readers, Kim from Frankfurt, Germany, reached out to me about an additional category she added to her nightly to -do list. And I really like the idea!

A mood check-in section.

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