Nobody likes to suck at productivity, but it happens more often than not. Learn how to use Mindful Planning™ to start getting it right.

If feels like everyone is talking about achieving more, but also about how they suck at productivity, doesn’t it?

This trend shouldn’t surprise you, though.

Just take a moment to compare the lifestyle of your parents and grandparents when they had your age.

It’s not like they didn’t have struggles, but they were different ones.

Transportation and technology, for example, solved most of the issues people had 20, 30 or 50 years ago.

But as distances were shortened and everyone became accessible no matter where they were in the world, new challenges arose.

One of these challenges is being able to do more and more within a limited period of time. In other words, becoming more productive.

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For many, productivity implies:

  • Working overtime.
  • Taking work home.
  • Accomplishing under the expectations.
  • Not having time for themselves or their beloved ones.
  • Feeling stressed and overwhelmed all the time.
  • Getting a (job) burnout.

I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be this way.

Productivity itself isn’t the source of all evil. The lack of it is what causes problems.

Even if you now suck at productivity, there are steps you can take that will lead you to achieving more at a realistic pace.

Discover how you can start to plan your days mindfully to become more productive without stress. Join the FREE email course 5 Days To Mindful Planning today.

The blog series

This post is part of a series.

Through these articles, I help those who fear they’re never going to get things done because they “suck at” one or more aspects of productivity.

They’re blog posts for those who are close to losing (or who have already lost) hope of improving their planning and productivity skills.

Each month, I’ll share with you basic steps on how you can turn the table and become more productive one day at a time.

The method I use is The 5 Steps To Mindful Planning™. It’s the same basic principles of my online courses and coaching sessions

My goal is to help you, little by little, remove all the chaos from your schedule and start focusing on what really matters to you.

Since there’s no magic pill and I don’t want to add even more stress to your life, we will advance slowly. Allowing you time to adapt your routine before moving forward.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Stop worrying about your productivity and start working on it.

What does it mean to suck at productivity?

Time doesn’t stop.

Once you finish one task, others come up.

It makes no difference if you have a corporate job or if you’re an entrepreneur.

There’s always a project to finalize, a new one to start, and the recurring tasks on top of everything.

It’s too much, period.

But it gets even worse when you suck at productivity.

If the simple idea of blocking time slots to focus on something makes your skin crawl, “Houston, we have a problem!

And it’s a big one!

Yet, it is possible to solve the puzzle.

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How to avoid sucking at productivity?

There well-known and respected approaches to productivity out there.

Maybe you have already some of them.

But I fear that if you’re reading this post, you haven’t solved all your struggles yet.

I’m not here to promise you a miraculous solution.

However, you can avoid sucking at productivity with these 5 steps.

Implement the 5 Steps To Mindful Planning™ to become more productive one day at a time without stress.

1. Measure

Yes, you can measure your productivity!

There’s even a mathematical formula for that.

But don’t worry because I’m not talking about this kind of measurement.

Think about the way you organize your day and your tasks.

Answer the following questions with “always”, “sometimes”, or “never”:

  • Do you try to do everything on your own?
  • Are your priorities clear to you?
  • Do you multitask?
  • Are you aware of how you spend your time?
  • Do you find it hard to concentrate?
  • Do you postpone tasks according to their difficulty?
  • Are you overwhelmed by all the tools you use?
  • Do you automate your processes?
  • Is there (too much) clutter around you?
  • Do you keep a daily schedule?

Write down your answers before moving to the next step.

2. Analyze

Review your answers to the questions above.

How many of your pain points are related to things you can change?

You can’t control the amount of work your manage assigns you, but you’re responsible by the way you organize your priorities.

Among them, which ones cause you more problems?

Whether you suck at productivity because of two or ten aspects, you already know you can’t solve everything on a day.

Take the time to define your number one struggle from the list.

3. Prioritize

Now that you know where it hurts the most, it’s time to start cleaning the wound.

It doesn’t matter how bad you suck at productivity, if there’s room for improvement, you’ll need to focus on the biggest issue first.

Trying to solve all your problems at once is exhausting and stressful and rarely brings good results.

If the amount of tools you use is what is getting on your way, it’s time to move to Evernote, for example.

If you’re blogger who still manually shares your content on social media, why not investing on a tool like CoSchedule?

Remember to work smart, not harder at all times.

4. Focus

There’s a reason why focus comes after prioritizing in the 5 Steps To Mindful Planning™.

Once you set your mind on the thing you want or need to improve the most, you got to invest your energy in it 100%.

I know you have other things to do, but if multitasking is causing you to get little done, don’t start working on your clutter at the same time.

You are where your attention is.

It hasn’t worked until now, has it?

What makes you still think it’s a good approach to stop sucking at productivity?

If you find it difficult to concentrate, look for a different approach.

Some of them are:

  • Blocking shorter time slots.
  • Having a separate area to work.
  • Decluttering your work space.

5. Systematize

I’ve already gave you the name of 2 of my favorite productivity tools.

The systems you put in place will boost or doom your efforts.

Keep the amount of tools you use to a minimum, mainly in the beginning.

Before I started using Evernote, I had files and information scattered everywhere. I wasted a lot of time just trying to find what I need.

Once I started to collect my blog posts, processes, and even household lists in Evernote, I become much more organized and gained a lot of time.

Independent from the priority you’ll be focusing on first, you’ll be able to apply Evernote to become more productive.

The best part is that you can continue using it to stop sucking at productivity no matter what struggle you’ll handle next.

Discover how you can start planning your days mindfully to become more productive without stress. A 5-day FREE email course that shows why you need planning and how to get it done successfully.

Moving forward

There’s no reason to rush in and try to solve all your productivity problems at once.

Slowly and steady wins the race, also when it comes to quitting sucking at productivity once and for all.

Take as much time as necessary before advancing to the following item of your priority list.

Don’t hesitate to go through the suggested questions above before advancing.

You may decide what points you want to deal beforehand, but life changes and so do your needs.

New urgencies may come up and it’s normal to reorganize your plans.

Use a Mindful Planning™ approach at all the times to achieve the best results without side-effects such as frustration or stress.

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Next time…

In case you are following this series as I publish it, you may notice that this post is a little later than initially announced.

This month, I will catching up, though.

The next installment, about Time Management, will be here before you turn the page of your calendar.

Nobody likes to suck at productivity, but it happens more often than not. Learn how to use Mindful Planning™ to start getting it right.

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Debbie Rodrigues
Debbie Rodrigues is a Productivity Expert. She helps busy career women create a productive routine that fits their lifestyle. She does this through coaching, online courses and through the blog debbieinshape.com.