Productivity is a multi-billion dollar business so it should be easy to cross things off your to-do list. For the most part the tasks that are on our lists are not difficult, yet it’s as if an invisible force stops you from implementing.

We’re full of excuses.  Some of the excuses are more “valid” than others.  No matter what the excuse Productivityis however, at the end of the day you look at your to-do list and wonder what the heck you did all day because you certainly didn’t do anything you were supposed to be doing.  

This isn’t an article about motivation because you know as well as I do that there are plenty of times you feel motivated to do something, yet can’t seem to do it.

So what’s stopping you and more importantly how do you get going?

In my experience the biggest three things that keep us from implementing are:

  1. Fear of failure.
  2. Fear of success
  3. Not having or knowing, what you need to do  next

Fear of failure makes sense.  I mean I don’t want to fail, do you?  The thinking behind it is that if you don’t do it, then you can’t fail.  If you don’t create the program, then you don’t have to feel stupid if nobody signs up.  If you don’t ask anyone to work with you, nobody can say no.  Let’s be honest for a moment here.  By not acting, you are failing.  You failed to create the program.  You failed to connect with someone who you can help.  Ultimately, however, by not acting you have failed.  You failed to achieve your goal.  

Fear of Success.  This one seems crazy.  I mean, after-all, who wouldn’t want success?  Let’s think about it for a moment, though.  What happens when someone says, “Yes, I want to work with you!”.  YIKES!  Now you have to perform.  You have to deliver on the promise.  Not only is that work to do on your part but what happens if you don’t like what you end up doing or worse…the client isn’t happy with the results.  Where else could success leave you feeling vulnerable?

Not having or knowing, what you need to do next.  On the surface, many of the things on our to-do lists seem obvious.  You think you just have to just sit yourself down and write an article. Or sit yourself down and make a phone call.  Or get yourself to empty your inbox.  However, what you often recognize are all of the little steps that you need to do or decisions that you need make.  “Empty inbox” is really make hundreds of little decisions.  Write article is really “Decide what to write about.  Get in the flow of writing.  Write something witty.”  Make a phone call is really “Understand the details of the program you want to share.  Decide who to call.  Find their phone number.  Figure out what you’ll say if they answer the phone.  Figure out what you’ll say if you get an answering machine.”

Of course once we know exactly what steps are next we often cycle back into fear of failure or success.

With all of this going on how can anyone ever expect themselves to get anything done?

Yes, productivity is a multi-billion dollar industry but when it comes down to it, the most effective strategies won’t cost you a dime.  Here are three strategies that work for me and many of my clients.  Go ahead and give them a try.

1.  Think about what’s stopping you.  Is it fear of failure or fear of success?  What is the worst thing that would happen if you got the project done?  Go deep here.  Some of your thoughts may sound ridiculous even to you but in reality those are the ones that matter most.  Awareness is the best tool around these fears.

2. Know yourself and respect your process.  If you know you never get work done before 10am or after 5pm, don’t try.  If you know you need to settle into a project before you can start on it, then give yourself “settling in time”.  If you need quiet, then shut your phone, your email, certainly your internet connection and tell anyone in or around your workspace to leave you alone and if that doesn’t work, take your computer and leave.

3.  Make sure you understand what your next step is.  If you had to sit down at your desk right now and do the project, do you know what you need to do?  Are there questions you need answered?  Are there steps you need to take in order to start?  Do you have all of the materials and information necessary?

So what are your most effective productivity strategies?  Let me know by sharing below.