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We are not perfect, in case you haven’t noticed, so why do we insist on perfection?
We strive for perfection mostly because we have huge gaps in our understanding of what’s possible and what’s not. Many associate it to an inability to manage our inner resources; others associate it to unreasonable expectations that we demand from ourselves. This mismatch of expectations often leads to periods of guilt and procrastinating. Everyone procrastinates on a certain level. However, when you’re practicing GTD, the guilt hits harder because we’re actually trying to get things done faster and every time we procrastinate, it’s much more visible.
As noted below, all the triggers that may cause us to fall off the GTD wagon can be transformed to grappling hooks to get us back on the right path.
#1 Failure (procrastinating) has a purpose
In my post last week -“Why do we fail?”, I talked about making a change in your perception of failure, treating it as opportunity for personal growth rather than a barrier. In my opinion, a good system is not built in a linear fashion. Improving the way you get things done means you’ll need to learn how to deal with the periods in which you’re not on top of our game. It’s a required skill you’ll only be able to develop when you “fail”.
That’s why when you’re sitting on the couch with your legs on the coffee table, getting gnawed by guilt, it is the perfect time to reflect on the reasons you’ve reached this situation. Try to gain a deeper understanding of the actions that lead you to procrastinate and ask yourself why you’ve reached this situation.
#2 Can’t review weekly? Go for bi-weekly as a start!
Sometimes we need to reduce the entry barriers for demanding activities just until they’re “sticky enough”.
As you probably know, you don’t run a marathon a day after you decide to lose some weight…You can’t create a habit by forcing yourself to engage, it needs to grow on you…all guns blazing is a good way to miss the mark.
By taking measured steps towards a functional system (whereby the Weekly Review plays a critical role); perhaps approaching it less aggressively, will ensure you don’t overstep your capacity to handle the review process thus allowing the habit to grow on you.
Begin your reviews on a bi-weekly basis; it’s not easy to rise after you’ve fallen from the GTD wagon. Remember, breaking a habit takes only seconds while building a habit takes months, approach with caution.
#3 Taking more breaks gets more done!
Finished an action or completed a project? Give yourself a nice little (or longer) break.
According to the New York Times, skipping breaks can be counterproductive…you might feel more productive but in fact you’re shooting yourself in the leg.
“Working in focused 90-minute stretches with breaks in between can help you get more done in less time than working all day long. We have a limited amount of resources at our disposal and much as a weight lifter needs rest before doing a second round of repetitions at the gym”.
We need rest to keep us focused on tasks because brain strain kills productivity much faster than any other factor. Taking a break is not procrastinating! It is a faster way to finish our tasks in the long run; allowing our body to recharge and launching us into action refreshed.
Perfect can never be achieved and therefore it may be interfering with your ability to complete tasks. Delve deeper into the reasons for your “GTD failures”. Don’t procrastinate on taking your productivity breaks, start today!