and make it easier & more fun too! (Part 1)
I’ve worked with people across all levels: from juniors to C-suite executives – on how to improve productivity.
The high performers I’ve worked with are smart and savvy.
If you’re like them, then you might also share this feeling they once had: that you’ve doing too much and yet not enough.
The productivity improvement that clients seek me out for is not about knowledge gaps, project management or time management. Typically, they’ve already researched what’s best practice in their industry for that.
When they ask me about how to improve productivity, it’s because something else is getting in the way.
When I first sit down to chat with them or their teams, they say things like:
“I don’t know what it is, but I just can’t bring myself to do those tasks.”
“I know what I need to do, but something’s blocking me.”
“Even though I know what I should be doing, I’m procrastinating a lot.”
Or something similar.
I’ve seen and heard a lot from coaching clients one on one since 2003.
Here, I’ve selected the top 3 productivity improvement tips that I’ve shared with hundreds of successful clients.
1. Get clear on what’s blocking you subconsciously.
2. Use the gifts of your inner critic/perfectionist, but avoid the liabilities.
3. Discover an easier way to get thing done – without pressure or anxiety
If you’re up for reading about how to improve productivity – in a way that creates more fun and ease – read on!
Productivity improvement tip #1
If you want to be more productive, get clear on what’s blocking you subconsciously.
Let’s take procrastination, as an example just to start with.
Procrastination doesn’t happen on its own.
Every single person I talk to with a procrastination issue ends up revealing very sound and solid reasons why they’re really “procrastinating.”
- Something else is fairly and justifiably more important to you than finishing that task – either on a conscious or subconscious level. So the task is simply not a priority.
- Completing the task will lead to an outcome that you don’t actually want subconsciously. Even though your conscious mind insists it’s a good idea.
- Because doing the task itself brings up a limiting belief or an old emotional wound on a subconscious level. Consciously, you might not even be aware of this. You just seem somehow resistant to doing the task.
- Your inner critic, or inner perfectionist, is having fun and games at your expense. More on that below in Productivity Improvement Tip #2.
What seems like procrastination, or even self-sabotage, can simply be a symptom that something else is afoot.
And we can be unaware of this.
Becoming aware is a great first step, if your’e looking at how to improve productivity.
It’s the same with many other productivity issues. Here’s what can happen:
One: you decide that you want to do your best and achieve a certain goal, or finish a task. (Conscious mind)
Two: Somewhere deeper within you, there’s a part of you that has a very different idea. (Subconscious mind)
This subconscious part of you may feel threatened by the goal that you want to achieve, or it simply doesn’t resonate with the importance of the goal.
Just think about all the new year’s goals out there: they started off with the best intentions. And then languished away into nothingness.
What’s happening in your conscious mind isn’t the full picture. #sohuman
If you’re in this situation, then what can you do about this?
Let’s talk about some action steps:
Firstly, can you identify the unconscious block on your own? If so, what is it? Write it down.
If not, then who can you get to offer you the gift of third-party perspective?
Is it a friend or a trusted coach who can help you identify what’s happening – with truth and accuracy?
Can this trusted person also help you release or transform the block – so that you can be more naturally productive?
I’m a fan of people who work with change strategy maps.
Look into that if you’re keen on how to improve productivity – in the fastest, easiest and most effective way possible.
Productivity Improvement Tip #2
You can be friendly with the inner critic or inner perfectionist. They have gifts and liabilities.
But remember, you’re the boss! This way, you can utilise their gifts, and sidestep their liabilites.
Sometimes we let the inner critic or inner perfectionist get the better of us. And our productivity!
Have you ever wanted to get something right, or “done properly” – so much so that you spent ages on it? Much more than you should have?
Have you ever been so affected by a mistake you thought you might have made – that you even lost sleep over it?
Or you kept thinking about it for days afterwards?
These are just some of the ways the inner critic and inner perfectionist distract us from our natural productivity.
Confession time: When I wrote my bestselling book: It’s Supposed To Be Fun: How To Get Sh!t Done Without Being Hard On Yourself, my inner critic and inner perfectionist really came out to party.
Ironic, right? Because that’s what the book was about! I was writing about them specifically.
Before this, I thought I knew how to manage those two.
But writing my first book brought out new pressures, mostly self-inflicted.
Whilst I was outside my comfort zone, boldly going where no “me” had ever gone, my inner critic and inner perfectionist had a party at my expense.
My inner perfectionist insisted that my first draft should be perfect. (Seriously?! That’s just unnecessary pressure.)
At times, my inner critic picked my ideas apart until I started questioning why I was even writing the book.
So I’d get writer’s block. I procrastinated. And I got a little angry and frustrated with myself.
That is… until I sat down, took a deep breath, and put myself back in the driver’s seat.
This is the metaphor you’ll see and hear me use a lot when I train people on the inner work of how to improve productivity.
When you kick the inner critic or inner perfectionist out of the driver’s seat and take control of the steering wheel yourself, then you’re in charge.
From this place of inner leadership, you can utilise the gifts of the inner critic, whilst steering clear of its liabilities.
The inner critic offers us the gift of guidance and discernment about what’s good and what’s right – in an aspirational way.
The same can be said of the inner perfectionist.
If either of these 2 are in the driver’s seat, then we experience excessive self-critique.
And we get caught up in self-talk and actions that ultimately cost us our productivity.
I talk more about that here.
Let’s face it, the inner critic and the inner perfectionist are just parts of us. And they can be useful.
When you’re in the driver’s seat, you’re the boss!
You can then channel their gifts towards your productivity improvement.
This is one of the top tips for how to improve productivity – that my clients have used to become more successful.
It’s also my favourite tip on how to improve productivity. Because it brings us more inner peace, even as we are productive.
Your brain stops being occupied or distracted with handling the many liabilities of the inner critic and inner perfectionist.
You’re free to just be – and be present with the task at hand, with a fully engaged brain.
This is how you perform at your best.
It’s a great way of creating deeper and more resilient productivity improvements – over the long term.
To read Productivity Improvement Tip #3, click here:
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