You Know When You Have Plenty of Time and Still Don’t Get Things Done? That.

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Confession: Sometimes I have plenty of time to get things done in, and I still don’t get them done.

Sometimes I have all the resources I need to compelete a project, and I put it off.

Sometimes I watch entire days go by and have nothing to show for it.

Why? When I have a to-do list, and I have the time…why don’t I get things done?

Productivity (and the satisfaction that comes from accomplishment) is not necessarily related to the amount of time I have; it’s related to the amount of clarity I have.

When I’m getting nowhere, here’s what works for me:

1. Ditching the computer and getting out paper and pen.
2. Giving each project or goal its own piece of paper.
3. Writing everything I can think of related to that project on the page.
4. Organizing all that writing in to actionable to-dos.
5. Reintegrating that new info into my existing digital to-dos.

There’s something about scratching it all out on paper that focuses me and gets me moving forward. I keep my paper notes; it’s helpful to go back and look at the full scope of the project when I get stalled in little to-dos again.

What about you? How do you reset when you’re in a productivity slump?

8 thoughts on “You Know When You Have Plenty of Time and Still Don’t Get Things Done? That.

  1. It helps me to get away from my desk. Moving to the kitchen table is good, but going to a cafe is better. Somehow a change of venue changes my perspective enough to break through and move forward.

  2. Oh my. I’ve been in one of those phases, where I have more than the usual amount of time to get things done. And I just don’t. In my case I think it’s a confluence of factors – husband away on a prolonged trip, kid sick on and off, fewer projects to finish off – and maybe even a bit of exhaustion. I find that stepping outside, taking a walk and feeling sunshine on my face makes a huge difference. And like Loren, sometimes a change of venue makes a big difference. The other thing that has helped me is to draw, sketch or paint. It quiets my thinking mind a lot.

  3. I read this, I applied for some days and I’m living proof it works. I’d never gotten so many things out of my head.. now everything feels more peaceful, I know exactly what to do (and I somehow are procrastinating less (!) ) and I’m no longer afraid of forgetting things.

    Thank you, Laura!!

  4. Laura – yes! Closing the laptop & getting out a thick legal pad has helped in so many of those moments of stuck-ness. I did it when I was writing papers for professors, writing sermons, planning & designing weddings, and now as a spiritual director and consultant with small businesses and non-profits. It works for copy, marketing, project management, writing a course or designing your delivery – everything. Thanks for sharing. Good link to send folks to!

  5. I thought I was the only one! God! And it’s such a downer! The feelings of guilt are just exhausting.

    I’m definitely going to apply these pointers.

    I think I need to integrate a bit more “spontaneity” into my workday. I’ve been in the “cooped up in the office wearing pajamas all day” funk, and just thinking of feeling some sun on me sounds like a dream.

    Hopefully this, and allowing myself some creative time will help as well.

    Thanks for this post, Laura!

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