How to Overcome a Productivity Roadblock

Last Updated Oct 12, 2010 7:20 AM EDT

We've all been there -- you're staring at your to-do list knowing perfectly well what tasks you need to tackle but completely lacking the will to actually get started. Maybe the tasks are boring or difficult. Maybe you're just distracted by other things in your life. But whatever the cause you still need to get over this roadblock and get back to being productive. How do you handle the situation?

Enter SmartBlog with a post by Mary Ellen Slayter that offers a simple, concrete process to follow to jump start your productivity and get back on track.

  • Notice what you are doing without judgment. The first sign of being in conflict with what you should be doing is when you feel the "warring." The warring is a physical sensation in the body. It begins in the pit of your stomach; you feel nervousness and uneasiness. Then, after the warring comes the thrashing. You tell yourself, "You're doing it again! What's wrong with you? How come you can't do what you say you're going to do?" Be aware of how long it takes you to notice your behavior. It may take 45 minutes before you realize that the war is raging. The next time, your reaction will be faster. The goal is to shorten the time it takes to notice your habit, thinking, or behavior.
  • Name your feeling. Identify the feeling you are having: angry, sad, scared, overwhelmed, frustrated, put upon, controlled, resentful, unappreciated, unworthy, incompetent, irritated, impatient, lonely, isolated, defeated? You can have your feelings, but you don't have to be your feelings.... Now that you know how you are feeling, decide whether you are still committed to completing the task you set out to accomplish.
  • Breathe.
  • Know that you have a choice. The great thing about having choices is that as long as you are breathing, you have an endless supply of them. You might make a choice to continue doing what you're currently doing, take on the task you were avoiding, or choose something else altogether. By choosing, you are back in control.
  • Make a two-minute choice. If you are still not ready to tackle your task, make a choice that you can live with for the next two minutes. The goal of this short-term choice is to create movement that will get you unstuck. For example, if you're resisting getting up from watching television to check your e-mail, you may say to yourself, "For two minutes, I'm going to choose to get up, sit at my desk, and answer my e-mail and, after the two minutes, I can stop." You can even set a timer. By the time the timer goes off or the two minutes have expired, you've taken the action to overcome the habit.
Read More on BNET: (Photo courtesy of Flickr user ncanup, CC 2.0)
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    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.