The #1 Easily-Fixed Flaw in Your Workflow That is Holding You Back

Note: This is a guest post from Alex Mangini of Life Notion
I’m going to be honest with you: one of the most difficult things about doing any kind of work is finding the motivation to keep going and get what needs to get done, done.
And not just for the sake of accomplishing something, but to actually do a good job of it.
And I’ll let you in on a little secret that may take some guilt off your conscience:
Each and every one of us has given up on something, or hasn’t completed a task to our fullest potential.
Generally, this is because we don’t have an interest in what we’re doing (like homework, or chores). When’s the last time you were told to do something you absolutely did not want to do, but did anyway? Was it fun? Wouldn’t you rather be doing something else? But most importantly: did you do what you were asked to your fullest potential?
Incredibly enough, doing things you don’t enjoy is not what will ultimately kill your overall productivity. And it’s not even the “flaw” I was referring to at the beginning of this article.
As a matter of fact, millions of people go to a job they dislike every day and get their work done. Whether it’s flipping burgers or filing papers all day ”” the productivity is there and people are getting things done.
So what is truly, the #1 biggest killer of productivity, and the one flaw in your seemingly perfect workflow?

Not Knowing What to Do Next

I don’t know how many times I’ve been working on a new project or doing chores around the house, and then suddenly have it all come to a screeching halt because I don’t know what to do next.
It’s kind of like being stuck in a conversation with your friends and having nothing to say because you don’t understand what the heck they’re talking about.
So what’s the easiest solution to this problem? The easiest thing to do would be to curl up in a ball and not worry about work. But since you’ve read this far, you’re obviously not the type of person to just sit around and let things happen. You’re ready to take action and work hard to improve yourself.
I admire that a lot, so I’m going to share with you a few things I do to always keep myself busy, and know what I have to do next.
1. Always Be Prepared for the Worst
When you try committing yourself to your work, it’s easy to get distracted by the world around you and stray away from what’s important.
I do feel that if you’re doing work that stresses you out, a distraction is actually good for you at 1-5 minute intervals. Just to keep you calm and take the stress off your mind for a little bit. Then it’s back to work.
But if you find that you’re getting too distracted by Facebook or you can’t stop eyeing the pretty girl at the coffee shop you’re working from ”” it’s time to get rid of them and start eyeing what’s most important to you: getting the job at hand done.
2. Be Proud of Your Work
Nothing is as satisfying as looking back at what you’ve accomplished at the end of the day and feeling good about it. It not only makes you feel great, but it gets you absolutely pumped up to get back to work as soon as possible.
So don’t be afraid to gloat or show off your work every once in a while. Even if you’re not one to brag about your accomplishments, you should be telling yourself this one thing at the end of each day:

I’m happy with what I accomplished today, and know that I did it all to the best of my abilities.

Be proud of your work, and have great respect for everything you do. No one else can do the same thing as you, and that alone commands respect greater than anything else.
3. Don’t Go to Bed Without a New Plan
This is just as important, and something I try to work at every day.
Before I go to bed, I will put some thought into what I’ve done that day, and figure out how I can build upon all that work. Or, I think of new things I need to get done tomorrow.
This is helpful because it allows me to get straight to work without ever thinking twice and wasting valuable time sitting at my desk and staring off into space.
I would also recommend writing down a little schedule, or keep a small to-do list of things you want to do. If you can maintain a list and actually do the things on it, you will be golden.

Don’t Waste Your Potential

Each and every day, you have the opportunity to do something amazing.
Don’t let this one thing; this one stupid thing hold you back from creating and doing something great.
Know what you need to do, know how you do it, and most importantly ”” do it. Then, know what to do next, and do that too.
Alex Mangini is an 18 year old web designer and blogger. He’s the founder of Life Notion, where he helps people discover their passion and live the life of their dreams. He thinks you should check it out right now.
Photo by seier+seier

13 Comments

  1. I have learned that having a sense of pride in my work has really helped me to stay focused and committed.
    I also like the idea of pre-planning for the next day.

    • Justin,
      Thanks for the comment! I live life totally confident, and am convinced there’s not other way to live. And that definitely starts by loving the work I do.

  2. Planning is usually fumbling. To do lists are great way of going. Your workflow should consist of never ending task list that keeps growing and shrinking. If you are able to make a selection of tasks that are really important, and always keep fun and or unnecessery tasks after the critical ones, you are highly effective person.
    I am wriitng more on this subject at my blog. Once you have organized task manager, there won’t be a single moment that you don’t know what should come next.

    • Hey Bojan,
      I agree with you. I’m not one to make a plan and follow it to it’s entirety. Usually, when I make plans and lists of things I’m going to do, I will get what I want to and feel like are the most important done. I’ll usually end up subconsciously evaluating the things that are not as important, and question whether or not it’s even worth my time.
      I can see why you would want to write more about this on your blog, as it’s a topic that I think can be discussed for pages and pages.
      Appreciate the comment!

  3. Hey Alex! Great article. I especially like tip number 3 and it’s one that I’ve recently started applying. Not only does it get you jumping straight into work the next morning but it also helps me sleep better! When I’ve planned out what I want to do the next day it helps me sleep better because I have less on my mind and can get to sleep quicker.

    • Thanks for the comment Kian!
      I always like to sit a little before I go to sleep and think, then when I wake up – think again. It’s a great way to get your mind focused and ready to end/start the day.

  4. Kingsley Obinna
    Kingsley Obinna

    After readin dis, it sims like a burden has bin lifted 4rm me givin dat oportunity 2 do what is needed of me i would highly recommend this. Thumbs up

  5. Glad you liked the post Kian!
    It’s much better going to bed happier than distressed, am I right? 😀 I’d much rather lay awake for hours thinking about how successful I’m going to be, over panicking about problems I’m having.

  6. Hey Alex,
    Thanks for your article! 🙂 I’ve been exploring the Getting Things Done system (the part about the Next Actions for each project), and it works well. I incorporated it in my mind map dashboard.
    I know what to do next, and all that’s left is planning it in my day.
    Cheers,
    Matt

  7. Thanks for stopping by Matt!
    That’s good you are learning more about it! I think the best way to start your day is to come up with a brief outline of all the things you want to do, so you know 1) what to do now 2) what to do next.

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