Do you ever wonder what you’ve done with your day? How you have seemingly wasted several hours on something inexplicable and then get all stressed as a result? Maybe you had to work on a choreography, or maybe you had to write something (like this blog!). Everyone procrastinates at times, but it’s discovering why and when you do it that is really interesting, as it can tell you a lot about yourself.
In this article however I shall cut straight to the chase (and not waste any time!) and share 3 ways to become more productive and tame your inner procrastination money, which would much rather have you clean the windows, watch some tv, check your phone or…
Before doing any task, be it at work or for dancing, create a space for you to concentrate. That means turning your phone off (or at least on silent), close your email down, and basically cut out anything that is likely to distract you. It’s surprisingly simple, but it really works.
Close the doors, put in your headphone or ear plugs (depending on what you need to work on) and shut yourself away with just the one task that you need to complete. Put your out of office on or set up a temporary voicemail if it makes you feel better, but you will need to be in your space until the task is completed.
With all that peace and quiet you’ll have nothing to distract you… Especially if you remember to make it pleasant too – so don’t forget a glass of water and maybe hot drink – but nothing too fancy! Just enough to keep you going.
If you’re dancing it really helps to have an allocated space where you can do that. Not everyone can have a dance studio in the home, but even if it’s a place where you can move freely without having to shuffle too much furniture around, it will help. Mirrors a key, so make sure to have one in your dance area. For some that may be a mirror on the back of a door or a free standing one (IKEA do great value ones which are easy to move around if needed in case you need inspiration).
Also make sure you have a sounds system and access to your dance music handy. If it takes you too long to set up, you won’t want to do it, or may get sidetracked to start doing other stuff.
This is very low tech, but great if you really struggle to stay focussed even after having cleared your space. Take an A4 piece of paper and write the task on it – in big capital letters if you like – so your brain can’t get sidetracked again. As I’m writing this I have a big piece of paper with the words ‘finish blog’ on it… Simple – but effective!
Use only one or two words that will sum up what you need to do, and have the paper near you and visible at all time, so you can’t miss it. Once finished you can either tick it off (big time! = big satisfaction) or simply throw it in the recycling knowing that you’ve finished the job.
For years I’ve been getting my clothes ready the night before, mainly for practical reasons, as I never have time in the mornings. And then I read that ex-president Obama would do the same (or let the wife choose it) to save his best mental capability for all the important stuff.
As human beings we need to make endless decisions all day long; should I wear boots or shoes, should I bring an umbrella – it may rain today…, do I want a cappuccino or a latte, oh and I must remember to get some veg for dinner, should I get broccoli or cauliflower… And that’s just the small stuff – you get the point!
With that many decisions to make, our brain will get tired and start flaking eventually. Maybe I’m just generalising, so apologies if that’s not you, but for most people it will happen, and by 4pm we’re mentally exhausted and not in a great place to make big decisions let alone complicated or creative work.
Bottomline is – always make all the big decisions or do the challenging work first thing. Even if you’re not a morning person. I know, this was a hard one for me to swallow because I’m so not a morning person (although having a baby really makes a difference because you’re forced into it) – but that is how it works – it’s the same for all.
So there you have it – my favourite three productivity knacks, which I’ve picked up from various sources along the way, so you may already have heard about them before. I hope they will help you get the work done on those days when you simply can’t seem to get into the swing of things, or get the motivation going, but then think about how great you’ll feel afterwards.
Not being a particulate A-person, I tend to starts my work around 10am, but I then also face all the tough stuff that I really don’t want to do first. Once that’s out of the way I feel so much better, and come 2pm I normally start my creative work including choreographing.
How do you stay focussed and avoid procrastination? Let me know in the comments below so we can keep the knowledge sharing going to promote more beautiful dancing and stress free living.
Happy Dancing 🙂
Did you miss my last post? Read it here: How to manage your dance/family balance