In the world of productivity, there are some basic mistakes we all make. I have identified up to seven mistakes you should never make, although in this article I will only tell you about the 3 unforgivable productivity mistakes you can fix by simply monitoring your time.
When done well, you realise that planning actually works. You feel much more productive because you know what you have to do at all times.
The problem is that it encourages you to plan more. It makes you want to define exactly every task in a project; define step by step all you have to do, and even set specific deadlines for each of them.
As you can see, this kind of planning has a problem: you just end up planning much and doing little. There comes a time when you realise that there are many things you have planned, but also many others that you have forgotten about and have not taken into account.
And once you finish your planning, you also realise that you have been too optimistic about it. So you have to start adding things, changing dates and so on. In the end, without even realising, you end up investing more time in planning than in actually doing what you have to do.
Setting so many deadlines will only make you a stressed-out person, which won’t help you do your best at all.
As you can see, it is a problem. Overplanning keeps you from being productive. Monitoring your time can help you plan less because you will see the big amount of hours you spend just ‘planning’ compared to the ones you spend ‘doing’.
The key question is … to what extent should I plan? The answer, according to David Allen, creator of the GTD method, is very simple: plan until you are comfortable with the planning level you have achieved. Simply plan the essentials, and stop turning that project over the whole time.
Planning helps you perform better, but it should never take up much of your time. To be productive, doing is essential.
2. Procrastinating without realising
Once you plan things in the right way (i.e. without planning too much but enough for you to keep calm), then you make your ToDo list. And you double check it but… there is a problem.
There are things that will remain forever on your list. I’m sure you’ve been there too. Some parts of your life are just not moving forward the way they should, and you don’t even realise. I’m afraid you are procrastinating.
Procrastinating means “defer, put off, postpone”. To me, procrastinating is knowing what you have to do, and still not doing it. It can be done consciously (you start doing something else, even knowing that it is not the most important task) or unconsciously (for example, you take the first task on the list, without even checking whether there is something more important to do).
Why do you procrastinate? I am sure that many times it is mere laziness because you don’t want to do what you should be doing.Therefore, you start doing something easier or that you just feel like doing at that moment.
It is normal, it also happens to me. But you have to fix it. And a good way to do so is by making a thorough revision of your day-to-day activity. We’ll go over it in the next point.
3. Spending time on the wrong tasks
One of the main reasons why we procrastinate is because we spend time on the wrong tasks. We have to do something; we don’t feel like doing it, so we decide to spend five minutes on Facebook… And eventually ‘a five-minute Facebook-break’ turns into a wasted half an hour, or even more.
Applications such as Kiply allow you to monitor the time you spend at the computer, which will help you know what you are wasting your time on when you’re not working.
Analysing properly what you spend your time on and making the right decisions about it, will help you procrastinate far less. All you need is to change some simple habits in your life, because if you don’t monitor how you spend your time, you won’t even realise you’re wasting it.
Do you want to learn how to procrastinate productively? Yes, it is possible to do so! And I explain how to do it in my ‘7 unforgivable productivity mistakes and 7 solutions that will prevent you from failure’ guide (be aware, though, that it is written in Spanish). And since you’re a Kiply reader, there is a surprise for you!
Translation by Susana Castro