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5 Productivity excuses holding you back from success!

Are these productivity excuses holding you back from achieving your goals? Take your first step towards productivity efficiency now with the solutions we have below. 

We talk to some expert professionals in productivity about how this might impact the way you structure your day, and some ways to overcome these productivity excuses. So if you want to use your bullet journal to be more productive, these might be the excuses holding you back, but don’t fear, we have productivity solutions too!  We also talk about some clever ways to use your bullet journal for productivity! 

Another post you could check out, that might be impacting your productivity, is incorrectly using habit trackers.

Productivity excuse #1: I don’t have the time

This is undoubtedly the excuse everyone makes first – I once read a book that said time is a gift you give yourself and others, and if you are able to prioritize your time, you are using the gift, so before we delve into our amazing expert stories; remember this one key piece of advice, you are not too busy, you just haven’t prioritized that task. 

I strongly believe there is a huge difference to not prioritizing vs running out of time to do something. I think if you have run out of time to do something the original scope of what you had planned probably didn’t have a contingency in it. I think you can legitimately run out of time, as time is a finite resource, but prioritizing you time is what makes the difference.

Jane Baker, an award winning business owner and coach, specializing in helping service based business owners live limitlessness by leveraging their time whilst drastically increasing their income, talks candidly about not having enough time;

The biggest excuse people make is I don’t have enough time usually that isn’t true and is purely an excuse, when we tell ourselves we don’t have enough time we create this feeling in ourselves that we’re constantly rushing around and getting nothing done. 

In reality, it isn’t true, even if you don’t have 10 hours free in a day you will have time to do something, or anything. Instead of the excuse about not having enough time, it’s about looking at what time spaces you do have, where are you wasting time, what are you spending your time on? 

And then coming up with a really simple schedule that enables you to use all the pockets of times you have and a productive way of working so you don’t waste so much time.

If you need additional ways to time block or time manage we have 27 amazing time tracking spreads here.

Sandra Hinshelwood, is the founder of Business Partner Magazine; ans talks about her own struggles with time management and productivity excuses;

The number 1 productivity that I’ve made in the past is:

“I don’t have time for planning”. The problem with this excuse was that it wasn’t a so obvious excuse as:“Il do it later”

I really believed that I didn’t get time to sit down and plan my time, and how did that affect my productivity? Short answer: HORRIBLY

It led to sitting and being busy for hours without really getting much done. This led to me constantly being stressed out which made it even harder for me to sit down and focus on the thing really had to get done.

This led to the second worst productivity excuse that I’ve been making: “I need to multitask to get everything done” 

How did that one affect my productivity then? EVEN MORE HORRIBLY Now I was busy all the time but didn’t manage to get anything done and stress was really eating me inside.

So how did I turn this around? It started when I saw an interview with Brian Tracy where he said: “every minute you spend on planning saves 10 minutes of execution”. This single sentence was crushing the excuse that I didn’t have time to plan my day so I started to write down everything I had to do.

And what were the results? I FINALLY STARTED TO GET STUFF DONE

This was a huge alleviation from the burdens that I’ve been building up, it was amazing how this simple tip had completely transformed my productivity. This made me curious If this simple “hack” made me 10 times more productive

what more things can I do?

So I started to read articles about productivity and came across an article about the Pomodoro technique. The technique has to only focusing on 1 thing for 25 minutes, take a 5-minute break and then work for 25 minutes again.

Now I’ve got my another excuse crushed, was all I thought I know about productivity wrong? PROBABLY.

Now I started to manage to do everything I had to get done. So by just killing these two excuses, I transformed my entire life and career.

Robert Spatariou is the  Administrative & HR manager, financer.com talks more about not “having enough time”; 

As an HR manager and a life coach, I get to hear a* LOT of reasons why* people* didn’t do* or are not doing what they’ve set up to do.

One of the most common answers across a variety of individuals is “I don’t have or didn’t have time” What the individual is actually saying here is: I have almost no clarity towards my outcome and definitely priorities are out of the question.

The most common way someone will choose to go around this is to set goals, priorities and gain clarity right? Well, my perspective says that if we are not productive enough or better, not as productive as we want to be then we need to get a little bit deeper to that part where most of us don’t really want to go.

And that part is self-confidence and personal responsibility. No matter what reason someone comes up to defend him/her self with, it’s popping up from the simple fact that the person really needs to work on assuming 100% responsibility of his actions or lack of and the results or lack of results correlated to those actions.

So yes we must stop making ANY excuses, especially the famous “I have no time” excuse and ask ourselves, “Have I really done my best? “ “Am I really happy with what I am putting out there?” When the answers come up all we need to do is take them on and do whatever it takes to live up to our standards and level of productivity that makes us feel like we’ve given 100%

Productivity efficiency 1: Using you bullet journal to prioritise your time

There are multiple methods to up your time management skills and one of these is to prioritise your time using your bullet journal or planner. You can do this by time blocking, which essentially priorities your time into blocks where you can measure how much time you are spending on a task. The old adage applies, you cannot measure what you don’t manage, and that includes your time. By being more mindful of what you spend your time on you are more likely to do a better job at prioritizing it.

Productivity excuse #2: I’ll do it later

Dr. Mike Golpa, Director of G4 by Golpa; talks more about how we procrastinate and put things off for later;

“I’ll do it later.” The answer to this one is simple: Do it now. If the task you need to complete is your least favorite, then get it out of the way. Do it first. This not only takes some of the pressure off your shoulders, because that horrible thing you didn’t want to do is done, but it also motivates you to move on to other tasks. You’ve already accomplished the hard thing; the rest is easy, right?

Most excuses need two things to be effectively addressed: Accountability and self-motivation. It’s your boss’s job to create accountability. It’s your job to find some motivation. I hope this is useful. My information is below, but don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.

This excuse is further supported by Caio Bersot, a public relations with Energy Rates in Canada;

You’ve probably said or heard someone saying ‘I’ll do it later’. Although it’s normal to say it to yourself once in a while, it can become a concern if you turn it into a habit. Some people start postponing small things here and there. Then, at some point, they notice that they have started to act the same way towards significant commitments and to reduce their productivity, whether professional duties and personal tasks. These small actions can have a considerable impact on your long-term growth.

 Caio Bersot then gives us a couple of solutions below.

Productivity efficiency 2: Do those tasks right now!

When you start prioritizing your tasks you are better equipped to see which tasks are more critical to complete than others. One of the ways I personally overcome this by using both the eisenhower method of urgency vs importance and then I use the 1-3-5 method to list those tasks by priority. Its a great way to snapshot some of those bigger tasks you keep putting off!

Caio also gives us these great solutions to overcome this productivity excuse;

Schedule organization can protect people from these two things, especially procrastination. The more organized your schedule is, the more you will be able to complete your tasks and still find time for entertainment and leisure,

Also, an honest schedule, which takes into consideration your workload and the time you need to rest, unplug and have fun, will protect you from falling on the ‘I deserve it’ trap. Once you know you will have the chance to rest, treat yourself and have fun sometime soon, you won’t be so susceptible to procrastination or unnecessary breaks.

This is also a matter of mindset. If you start seeing your productivity efforts as long-term investments in yourself, you won’t feel as frustrated or tired as you’d otherwise feel. You will feel rewarded and will learn how to enjoy the journey, instead of only aiming at the prize.

Productivity excuse #3: It needs to be perfect (fear of failure)

Liz Jenkins, Certified Professional Organizer and owner of A Fresh Space in Nashville, TN, specializes in helping people in their homes or small businesses get organized so they can be more effective, productive and functional. In addition, Liz and her team provide move management services with decluttering, move coordination and unpacking. Liz talks here about some of the traps we fall into around productivity, one of those is saying that you need this to be perfect! Liz talks about this further by saying;

I need this to be perfect so I can’t do this right now (perfectionism paralysis). The need to have things done exactly the way you envision or for it to be Instagram worthy holds people back from being productive. So many projects get put off because if it can’t be done perfectly, it’s never going to be done.

This is such an important thing to remember when using your bullet journal, you don’t NEED to post it to Instagram and it sure doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be perfect for you

We delve into this fear a little more with Pratibha Vuppuluri, the Chief Blogger at She Started It, an online resource guide for working moms, talks about the fear of failure;

Fear prevents us from trying out new things. It hinders us from venturing out into the unknown. However, the thing is, people are usually afraid of a lot of things because they do not know what these are all about or that they lack information about these things. Fear will never go away unless we fight against it. 

Failure is one of the most common excuses for unproductivity. However, we must be aware that failure is inevitable. It’s like part of like. When failure is bound to happen, it will happen. How you react to failure is what makes the difference

Productivity efficiency 3: Letting your perfection go

This is one of the biggest bugbears for me. Your step one might be very different to my step 36, but yet we are comparing them. I have spent years perfecting a productivity method that works for me and comparing myself to someone else would just be fruitless.

I could potentially take inspiration from someone else, but realistically it would be hard for me to implement the exact same productivity tools in my bullet journal, because we are different people who need different things.

Hope Zvara yoga & lifestyle expert, Radio Show Host, Creator of The HOPE Process & CEO of Mother Trucker Yoga talks us through some of the mindshift changes we need to make to make ourselves more productive;

These are just a few of the top excuses I have seen, and in total transparency, have said myself. We sometimes like our discomfort, our chaos, our struggle. It’s familiar, it’s predictable, it’s what we are use to. Until we realize we are really truly sabotaging ourselves this cycle will continue. 

I struggled for years with being more productive. I had the talent and means, but was so afraid of success. Yes, deep down my inner voice did not want me to be successful. So what was surfacing was excuses to stay stuck. Many of us have befriended the struggle. As a recovering addict I know this all too well. You hate your addiction, but don’t really want to be uncomfortable which is what comes with change. 

To be productive is to move forward. To move forward is to change. To change is to do something different. Which is the entire point of being productive. To accomplish and move forward. So first things first…notice when and why you say the things you say that revolve around the goals you want to accomplish. 

Productivity excuse #4: I just need to finish these tasks first

Some of these sneaky tasks might included, checking your email, checking facebook, checking Instagram and a whole heap of other tasks you might want to do to postpone doing the one thing you don’t want to do.

Craig Anderson, editor at Appliance Analysts, talks about how meaningless tasks can make us feel productive in the short term, and goes on to say;

When in reality, we’re just ‘busy’. It feels good to be working hard – but is that work pushing the needle on what you’re trying to achieve? Sure, we could spend hours cleaning around the office, answering old e-mails, sorting out our files or shopping for that perfect monitor. But none of that is going to get you closer to getting that report done, or that meeting prepped.

It’s crucial that we’re conscious about how we spend our time. In his book, The ONE Thing, Keller states that a truly productive person will likely be out of balance. Their desk will be messy, they might be missing the odd message or two, and you can bet they’ve not planned ahead to dinner. Because they’re focused on what’s truly going to make progress towards their goals.

The good news? Avoiding this is simple. It just takes a couple minutes of planning. Write out what the number one thing you could do today would be. What would really move the needle for you? You’ll probably find it’s that boring, slightly difficult task you’ve been avoiding. That’s what you need to focus on. That’s what will leave you feeling satisfied when you finish it. That’s what will put you one step closer to realizing your dreams. 

Productivity efficiency 4: Prioritize important tasks first and set aside time to manage menial tasks

Think about how you can eliminate those silly tasks that take up way to much time from your much needed prioritised time list. Dewayne Hamilton, runs a popular website about marketing, SEO and HR strategies called Web Cosmo Forums talks us through some simple solutions to diffuse distractions;

When it comes to fulfilling obligations and tasks, there are those who immediately start work, and others who procrastinate and do everything except that they have to until the last moment.

If you want to increase your own productivity in the short term, focus on organizing your own time. One of the most common excuses I find is that people are afraid to miss something happening, so they keep their phones and browser on the whole time.

It’s best to remove the things that are interfering with your work and progress and make sure you don’t accumulate a lot of short breaks by looking at your phone notifications.

Put your cell phone in airplane mode and, if possible, choose a neutral work area where you will not be surrounded by unnecessary distracting items like computers and TVs.

The fact is that it is easier to be busy doing some other, irrelevant obligation at that moment than to do the work you keep avoiding.

So often, instead of solving major tasks, we do other things, such as changing the settings on our devices, which serves as an excuse for the argument that right now we don’t have time for the main task. There is enough time for everything, it’s just important to start solving your tasks by priority.

More great insight from  Darcy, the proud owner of The Bircher Bar, who is passionate and enthusiastically pursuing everything health, fitness, productivity, adventure and community; talk is through some other fixes for those productivity time wasters; 

Anyone who works at a computer probably knows this one quite well, but I bet most people still do it! While being a handy tool and necessity for most businesses nowadays, checking your email every 10 minutes is NOT a productive way to work. It is a surefire way to interrupt your train of thought and send you down an often useless rabbit hole of Googling and procrastinating.

Schedule email time. I get it, some emails are important but most aren’t. Tackle a big task before even opening your email and give yourself 2 half-hour windows in the morning and afternoon in which to check and respond to your important ones. Unsubscribe from your ‘just in case’ emails too.

Productivity excuse #5: I am not prepared enough

Dr. Mike Golpa, Director of G4 by Golpa; talks more about how we procrastinate and put things off for later;

“I’ll do it later.” The answer to this one is simple: Do it now. If the task you need to complete is your least favorite, then get it out of the way. Do it first. This not only takes some of the pressure off your shoulders, because that horrible thing you didn’t want to do is done, but it also motivates you to move on to other tasks. You’ve already accomplished the hard thing; the rest is easy, right?

Productivity efficiency 5: Find ways to prepare early!

If you haven’t already checked out the studygrammers you should! These awesome humans have worked out the perfect synergy between preparation and adding it into your journal or notebook for preparation. You can easily do this for work, or for school or even for home. A little preparation goes a long way, and really simple to add a spread to your bullet journal for preparation. 

Claire Sellers is a CoActive life and leadership coach specializing in career and life

Transitions, and she talks us through just doing things NOW, and moving our mind set to a preparation mindset;

Isn’t it amazing how we can literally convince ourselves for days, weeks, months and even years to put off taking action? We allow our minds to postpone us from achieving what we know is best for us. Some of the excuses we make are I will do it tomorrow, I’ll wait until [enter big event], once I have this information, I’ll send the email. 

Sometimes, our minds even trick us into believing it isn’t worth the effort at all with excuses like, Why try? There are 1,000 other people doing it better than I could or It didn’t work last time, why will this time be any different? or I’m not smart enough. The best way to combat these negative thoughts is by taking action. 

Challenge yourself to take one step towards your goal each day. If you find yourself struggling in the moment, use the five second rule by Mel Robbins. When you feel yourself hesitate to do something, count 5-4-3-2-1-GO and move towards the action when you get to 1. It sounds simple, but the counting will focus you on the goal or commitment and distract you from the worries and excuses in your mind. Give it a try!

Nicola Knobel

Passionate curator of pretty things

Hi Lovely! My name is Nicola and I am the face behind My Inner Creative. I am a die hard (obsessed) bullet journalist, and a over excited creative. Please note that some of our posts contain affiliate links, this means that at absolutely no additional cost to you, I can make a small comission from your purchase. You can read more about that, and me over at my "About page"
 
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