The days of 2020 have melded together. Each day ending the same way – Ian and I face-to-face working at our dining room table. With laptops out and music playing, this environment begs for distractions – especially after a long work day when, afterwards, the last thing you want to do is work on more “work”. Although things can get a bit squirrelly - and understandably so - for the most part, we hit our deliverables and accomplish the tasks laid out on our daily to-do list.
This process, day-in and day-out, can get not only tiresome, but also unproductive. Hey! You try working with a friend of 14 years with whom you live and tell me how productive you are on a nightly basis. Sorry – didn’t mean to get so defensive there! But, you catch my drift. It can be an uphill battle, and, without staying disciplined and on task, we would simply be two men chatting the night away.
Below, I've listed a few tactics we employ that enable us to ward off procrastination and remain diligent. We're not recreating any wheels here, so I'm hopeful you'll be able to identify specific action items for you're unique circumstances - work projects, duties around the house, you name it!
Create a Calendar
Hanging up a dry erase calendar board in our home...
1. Instills a sense of accountability (something in writing, staring you in the face certainly does the trick!).
2. Keeps us motivated, as we are always looking towards the next day or the next week.
3. Allows us to include big picture ideas for the month and to create a checklist of additional, smaller projects/ideas that may not have an exact deadline/timetable quite yet.
1. Set calendar reminders on your phone or computer.
2. Update your newly-created calendar (see above) as needed.
3. Keep a notebook for which to jot down "to-dos" and general thoughts/ideas as they come to you (you don't want that nagging did I forget something feeling later in the day).
Keep an Open Mind
1. What you didn’t think could help you, could actually help you (shocker!). Think deeper than the surface.
2. Be open to other ideas on how to stay attentive, productive, focused. Do some research.
3. Be on the look out for other perspectives and welcome them. Don't judge.
Bounce Ideas Off Someone
1. Helps refine your focus by having an open dialogue with another person about what you're thinking.
2. Gets the creative juices flowing and allows someone else to hold you accountable.
3. Generates excitement and, better yet, action!
Ask for Help
1. Don't be a hero. You can't know everything.
2. Stay focused and attentive while receiving help. Listen ensures you will learn something!
3. A fresh perspective should always be welcomed. Other's help can allow you to view things from a different angle you may have missed before, thus, leading to greater clarity.
Plain and simple, without these methods, our dining room would be far from the productive work space it has become. We'd just be a pair of unorganized, closed-minded, stubborn guys working at a table. Now, while these tactics help keep Ian and me on task, as we all know, there is more than one way to skin a cat! So, share with me your thoughts - what has worked for you and what hasn't? What keeps you on task and forging ahead?