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May 10, 2018

Get Out of Your Own Way!

Do you complain that other people get in your way and prevent you from doing your job? Do they interrupt you, distract you, and derail your efforts to be positively productive? Do you sometimes feel like a helpless victim? If so, stop! You’re not a victim. In many cases, you are getting in your own way.

Let’s look at three areas where you might be sabotaging yourself.

Interruptions.It can take up to 20 minutes to regain your focus when you are interrupted, so you must take control of them. This requires you to be selfish about your time and how you are using it. When someone tries to interrupt you, explain that you’re on a deadline and will call them back later; make sure you do! Set your out-of-office message to tell people when you are available to answer questions and be firm about it. Close your door if you can. Remove your visitor’s chair or pile papers and books on it. Unless it’s your job to answer questions, start referring people to either online or print resources.

Perfectionism.Your work needs to be accurate and precise, not perfect. I’m not saying it’s okay to make mistakes, but spending an inordinate amount of time tinkering and tinkering with something to make it perfect is counter-productive. Accept the fact that sometimes you will make mistakes despite your best efforts. Acknowledge that you can improve, will learn from any mistakes, and make it okay to be wrong!

Procrastination.Often this is the heart of not getting things done. For some reason, you just don’t want to do it. Maybe you don’t know where to start. If this is stopping you, start anywhere. There’s no requirement that you start at the beginning. Maybe you don’t know what to do because you have a lack of training or experience. If so, find out who can teach you, check out training offered by your company, and use online resources to find what you need. Sometimes, you just don’t like the task. In this case, limit how much time you will commit to it and give yourself a reward when you finish.

Remember, people may not be what’s keeping you from being positively productive. You might be the reason. See my blog post, Where Are You Wasting Time?

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