When Minor Tasks Aren’t Minor

Are minor tasks taking you all day?

If you find yourself spending all day to compose an email, write an article, or create a memorable video, chances are that you’re getting very, very distracted.

If you start lots of projects that take too long or don’t get finished at all, apply these distraction-busting tips:

1. Kill your internet.

Your mind will be blown at how much more productive you are at a computer with no internet connection. No “research” that transforms into a search for the perfect crazy cat video. No twitter, IM, phone, or any other element that crushes your time. Gather your research materials, and when it’s time to put rubber to the road, cut your internet off – it’s too tempting to write when stress reliving diversion is just a mouse click away.

2. Addition by subtraction.

The brain works in very strange ways. The more stuff you can see, the more your brain can latch onto it and create an “urgent matter” in your brain – notice how easy it is to get distracted by trivial things when you are doing something important? So clear the mess off your desk, and get rid of excess files from your desktop. Usually, you let stuff stack up on your desktop because you’re trying to get to it quickly. But it’s harder to put those items away once you’re done.

Reduce your visual clutter and enjoy the results.

3. Start with the small things.

It’s easier to get distracted and quit altogether when you work a long block on a single task. A thing of that kind of attention as a heavyweight – you wouldn’t just walk in and lift the heaviest thing in the gym, so why try to focus for a 2 or 3 block stretch?

If you’re having problems staying focused because the work is monotonous, put on some music (not talking) and work in 20 minute stretches.

4. Don’t multitask.

If you’re chasing down three projects at once, you’re hurting yourself. Especially if those projects require a broad set of skills and you’re losing your ability to niche down and specialize. Devote yourself to doing one task, and if you can use one skill at a time (like writing), even better. This helps you get into a “groove” and become more productive.

5. Stop.

Basically, instead of going up and down and up and down into attention, you want to create a smooth, uninterrupted ocean of productivity, and then take frequent breaks. Don’t let yourself burn out on a single task!

6. Work fast.

Get things done as fast as you can. Once you’ve really started to get things humming, you’ll kind of hypnotize yourself with activity, becoming more and more pleased with your results.

Are You Busy Being Busy?

Imagine this: you’ve been filling out applications for weeks and weeks looking for a new job – and finally you get a callback. They’re excited about your application and they want to meet you tomorrow at noon!

You can barely sleep the night before, and when the time comes, you’re burning with energy. You hop the bus to get there and rush in the building, only to find the elevator is broken.

But you don’t let that stop you. You rush up the stairs, and by the time you make it to the top, you’re completely out of breath. It’s only then, when you look at the sign hanging above the receptionist, that you realize you were in the wrong building the entire time!

Now you’ve both late AND worn out. You might have been busy, but you didn’t DO anything.

We live in a culture that empathizes hard work over everything else. Rarely do we stop to ask whether we’re working hard on the right things for the right reasons.

If you feel like you’re climbing a whole building’s worth of stairs in the wrong building, chances are that you’re not working very effectively.

First: Take a couple of days off.

This can be a very tough decision to make, especially if you’re hanging on by your fingernails. But the fact is that you need to have a clear head when you analyze your business. That’s very difficult to do when you’re burned out. Give yourself a little time to emotionally and physically reboot, even if it’s only for a weekend. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel.

Second: Are you being a perfectionist?

Too many people try to do everything perfectly because they’re afraid of being “caught” or looking bad, or they have a “personal standard” they feel they need to live up to.

Drop the idea that all your work needs to be flawless because it will explode the amount of work you need to do. Chances are that you need volume, more traffic, more customers, and more buyers.

So start going after it!

Third: Give Yourself An Audit

Take a look at the time you used for the day – rate their activities on a scale of 1-10, with a 10 being very helpful to your business, and a 1 being something very counterproductive. What were the reasons for doing the low-rated tasks? Can you attack them and get rid of them?

Remember, your goal isn’t to be busy, it’s to accomplish more. Work less and spend more time thinking about how to improve your efficiency, and you’ll love the results you get.

How to Stop Feeling Groggy in the Mornings

If you are self-employed, then you may well find that sleep inertia is one of the biggest barriers there is to true productivity.

Sleep inertia is the name for the feeling of grogginess we often have when we first wake up in the morning. This is what prevents us from getting up quickly in the morning when our alarm first goes off and it’s also what prevents us from doing anything useful during the first hour of our waking day (including exercising).

Combat sleep inertia and suddenly you gain back at least an hour of productivity a day and probably more. What could you do with 365 extra hours?

Why You Feel Groggy

To help yourself start feeling less groggy and more alert in the mornings, it’s first useful to look at why you’re feeling sub-optimal in the first place.

Common reasons include:

Lack of Sugar

If you wake up in the morning with low blood sugar, you can actually feel quite rough. Try having a teaspoon of honey before bed and see if that helps!

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea means you’re waking during the night because you’re stopping breathing. The problem is that you may not be aware of this because it will be so brief and you may not be fully conscious.

To find out for sure, rig up a camera by your bed and film yourself. If you have apnea, then you should see your doctor who may give you a splint or a CPAP machine.

Allergies

If you’re waking up with a scratchy throat and headache, then it could be that you’re breathing in pollen or dander during the night. The best solution is simply to close the window.

Medications

A number of different medications can leave you feeling rough in the mornings. Anti-histamines are one example, as are antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.

Mold

If you have mold in your room, then you will be breathing in mold spores as well as toxins during the night and you can often wake up feeling rough as a result.

Dehydration

Another common cause for feeling rough in the mornings is dehydration. Try drinking a big glass of water before bed and consider using chia seeds to slow down the release of the liquid.

Poor Sleep

If none of this has helped, then you might just not be getting the quantity and/or quality of sleep you need. There are any number of ways you should look into fixing this but you should start with the basics – make sure your room is dark and quiet and go to bed at a consistent time.

There you go, this is how to stop feeling groggy in the mornings, you can try them and you will see a sudden improvement in your life.