Baby Steps: The Key to Productivity #atozchallenge

a-to-z HEADER [2015] - april

It’s day two! B-Day in the A-to-Z!  I want to share with you what might be the single-most important thing to be mindful of when you’re taking on a new process to increase your productivity:

B is for Baby Steps

As you endeavor to explore new systems and procedures, develop habits, or reinforce a practice, you need to take it slow. I know this sounds counter to the whole idea of productivity, but productivity doesn’t mean you’re flying by the seat of your pants, racing through all the things. Productivity is not about the quantity of tasks completed in a day. Instead, it’s about making the best use of your time while producing quality work.

If you’re like the average human in today’s hectic society, your days are just packed. Often, we come across advice on how to become more productive and drop everything to work it into our routine. All of it. Right Now. While this might be a fabulous solution in the short term, it’s more likely that things will fall apart in a few weeks. Old habits will creep back in. The work of learning the new process was just adding to the problem.

The other side of that coin is investigating a productivity solution that is so vast and involved, you can’t see your way to even start. Frustration, discombobulation, and irritation ensue, and you’re back to your old ways, feeling like you’ll never see the end of the crazy.

Does this mean you’re impervious to change?

Fear not, intrepid productivity seekers! There is hope.

And that hope comes in the form of baby steps.

Examples of Baby Steps: 

Social Media Time Suck: You want to limit your social media use to only 30-minutes a day, when you’re currently using it all day as you work. Instead of going cold turkey tomorrow, set a deadline. Say, in two weeks, I’ll be down to 30-minutes a day. Then, start tomorrow by only getting on social media at the top of the hour, for ten minutes. Then in a couple of days, switch to every two hours for 15 minutes. Then maybe only during breaks twice a day, and so on. You might find yourself forgetting to check in at the top of the hour eventually *gasp*.  You might find that the twice a day during breaks is your sweet spot. Adjust as you go. If you make this change slowly, you’re more likely to stay with it as you experience the benefits of being more focused at work and at play.

Wake Up 1 Hour Earlier: Many productivity gurus preach about the benefits of waking earlier and making the most of the quiet morning time. I am a believer, but I am also a night-owl. (It’s almost 1am as I write this.) I would love to get up at 5am daily and get an extra hour of work in before the kids get up for school. My plan is to have this in place before summer break, so when the kids sleep in, I can get HOURS of work done and still have plenty of time to play. My plan is to start May 1st. I will get up 15 minutes earlier for a week. Then add another 15 minutes for a week, and so on, until I am up an hour earlier than normal – at 5am.

Setting a start date, breaking it into baby-step pieces, and being realistic will help make any change stick. I’m looking forward to rising early in the near future!

Have you applied the Baby Step method to induce change in your life? 

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