Forcing yourself to be productive when you feel like procrastinating is much more difficult than getting additional productivity from another person. For pretty much the same reason that you can’t tickle yourself, it’s hard to trick yourself into doing things. There’s no surprise in it.
Smart entrepreneurs know that scaling up your business is often all it takes to get results, be productive and, and these methods will work even if you’re only focusing on yourself.
Turn up the lights
Your surroundings have as much to do with productivity as anything else. There’s a reason why humans sleep when it’s dark and get active when the sun comes up. Making your workspace into a darkened cocoon has a tendency to trigger a relaxation response in your brain. Fight it with changes in lighting.
It’s not just as simple as turning on all the lights, either. The kind of light you get matters. Your body gets its cues about how to run its internal clock by its exposure to natural light, especially through the eye. Your computer screen and the fluorescent lights overhead give the wrong kind of cues. Scientists have found that natural light absorbed by the eyes affects your mood, body temperature, sleep, melatonin production, and many other aspects of your behavior and health.
Try banishing the blinds and letting in more natural light. Push your desk over to the window, but turn it sideways so the light doesn’t wash your screen or shine directly in your eyes. If that’s not possible, augment the lighting where you work with lamps that have natural spectrum light instead of cool fluorescent tones. Your improved mood and alertness will naturally lead your towards getting things done instead of putting them off.
Turn up the temperature
This one is hard to grasp for many people. Home offices are often kept on the cool side. It’s common for brisk temperatures to be associated with staying on your toes, but the evidence doesn’t back it up. According to a very rigorous study where work from home entrepreneurs made 44 percent more errors when the temperature was 68 degrees then they did when the temperature was 77 degrees. That’s a big productivity gain to enjoy just by turning up the thermostat, or in many cases, turning off the air conditioner.
Go where it’s noisy
If you’re having trouble concentrating because the sound of the computer fan drives you up the wall, you might think the last thing you’d want it is to find a place with even more noise to help you concentrate. The evidence says otherwise. If you’re having a particularly unproductive day, trick yourself into higher mental alertness by heading off to the local coffee shop.
This one’s tricky. There’s a sweet spot of noise and bustle that focuses your mind on what you’re doing, usually by supplying a steady 70 decibels in the background, delivered by a bunch of people sitting around you. As long as you don’t go to socialize, the people around you don’t distract you, but the human urge to impress people when you’re being observed kicks in. The background noise needs to be like a steady, undifferentiated hum, not recognizable conversation. If trays of dishes get dropped with any regularity, you’ll do better in another diner.
This one would send a supervisor into fits, but you’re tricking yourself, remember? Some of the most productive people that ever lived, including John D. Rockefeller, Sr., took a power nap after lunch every day and met the afternoon workload refreshed. Just 15 or 20 minutes of shuteye in the middle of the day is like starting fresh in the morning again. Trick yourself into two mornings a day, and get the benefits of that morning burst of productivity a second time.
You can coordinate your power nap with a cup of coffee to sharpen your mind as well. Drink a cup of coffee after you eat your lunch, and then take your power nap. The caffeine in a cup of coffee doesn’t kick in right away, and it’s surprisingly easy to fall asleep right after you’ve had one. When you awake a little while later, the caffeine will just be hitting its stride, and so will you.
Now It’s Your Turn!
What do you do to turn procrastination to productivity? How has it helped your business? Please feel free to share your comments below in the comments section and I look forward to reading them!
Having natural light is important to me – for my home & work environment. Gotta have that Vitamin D from the sun!
I’m not a napper, but one thing that works is to get out and take a walk (again, get some sunshine). Other times, just starting on an easier task & getting that done, can then spark motivation to plunge forward onto a task you might have been procrastinating about.
I have no problems with procrastination, if anything I just work too hard. Computer fans really bug people? With that said I totally agree with temperature and light. I live in Arizona so those two factors are big ones here. We have the sun all the time so it helps with productivity. Interesting post!
Yes, I have too procrastinated at times but, it is not the best model to follow. Nothing gets down and you become frustrated. These tips are great.
The one on warming up the room works well for me. I have low blood pressure and so my feet are always cold and when my feet are cold I cannot concentrate. But for me instead of warming up the whole room too much i also make sure that I wear warm socks on my feet and maintain the room temperature at moderate. Bottom line is you got to understand your physiology for optimum performance. Thanks for sharing.
I am not going to lie. I am guilty of this but I know that I am getting better over time.
What I do to turn procrastination into productivity is do whatever needs to be done and get away from the things that do not move my business & my life forward!
Great post and tons of value! Thanks for sharing 🙂 Shared for you!
These are great tips – I need to put some of them into practice. Thank you for the ideas!
I think I’m gonna need a huge nap to get back productivity. Thank you for the good information! this really help a lot
Great tips and they all seem to work well.
I tried the snoozing after lunch and it works very good for me. It refreshes me but next time I will try it with a cup of coffee after lunch. lol
I also suggest starting the day by eating the frog meaning finsh the most difficult task on your list even if you don’t like it.
Thanks Nate for the great tips. Have a great rest to your week.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been here.
I’m glad I stumbled upon this topic because at times I can be bad at procrastination. You know one of the things I do is go for a while and brainstorm. It really helps me a lot because I get pretty excited over some of these ideas and then add them to my blog or marketing campaign.
I like the idea of going to a coffee shop or maybe a diner. I can really get lost in my work when I’m in that type of setting.
I’ve read somewhere that the most successful people don’t lose sleep like we keep hearing. It was surprising that a lot of them sleep over 8 hours a day. I was like huh, but then again I started thinking it’s about working smarter, figuring out how to leverage time the best way possible!
Thanks for sharing Nate! Have a great rest of the week!
Great article with some solid tips!
When I find I’m starting to procrastinate I take a quick break and then look at what it is I’m supposed to be doing. I then create a mind map (Tony Buzan style) and look at the breakdown of tasks I need to do to get to that end result. By breaking down the job into smaller tasks it helps me focus and motivates you when you tick them off one by one.
Thanks for the article, I’ll tweet this out! 🙂
Some of your excellent tips are so counter intuitive!
I mean, who would have thought that turning up the temperature a few degrees would actually help you concentrate and focus better.
Or that seeking out a diner of all places might actually be proven to help yo focus more!
I guess it’s just like being successful. You watch what the unsuccessful do and basically do the opposite!
Thanks so much for sharing your powerful insights!
Found some really interesting tips what I didn’t know whey helps to be more productive, like the more light and temperature is better.
When it’s about the noise, I knew for this tip, and also I have to share some useful website with you and readers (It’s not mine) I use it to get more concentration and it really helps! Better then quite room when the only sound you can hear is computer’s fan.
Choose one of these sounds like rain, wind, etc and you’ll feel it it helps when you do some work like creating content, designing something etc. At least it helps for me.
Thank you for your tips and share!