Productivity Pitfall Number 1, Over-Optimization

Productivity Pitfall Number 1, Over-Optimization

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A common productivity pitfall happens when looking for the best way to do anything but spending far too long to maximize everything involved. It is the perfectionist mindset to all situations; hopelessly ceasing action while waiting for the perfect. Whether that may be the perfect moment, perfect timing, or perfect route. I find this over-analysis to be a root cause of unproductivity.  

My Lack of Productivity

I ran into this very problem trying to create blog posts. I’d spend hours planning out the best way to organize my information and how to display. All before I had even written my first word! List by list created for each step of the process; done with far too much depth and no progress. (Now, creating lists isn’t detrimental to process—by any means—but, when obsessed over they can become the main hindrance.)

A Real-Life Example

Picture it like this, you would love to clean the garage—as anyone aching to have a clean, presentable house would. The garage is messy, cramped, and dirty and has been that way for months—if not years, so what do you do? You write down a list of what’s to be done. Well, really you make a mental note. Correction: You mentally write down a list.

The Perfect Amount

Each mental list contains: each bay split up into sections, the tool bench, the shoe rack, and the stairs. This is the sweet zone list. It contains not too much organization, but also enough to remove the daunting presence of the room. If not done the task can be too much, but when too far you run into the over-optimization problem.

That Looked Great Until…

If this list stayed in that sweet zone, you would have yourself an organized list; something that surely will help you finish your project in no time! (or a few days of boring picking up and dropping) But often, that’s not where the planning ends, we’re imperfect creatures. Not everyone is always the most productive they should be! The organization can be fun, often more than the actual work and we quickly find ourselves hooked on the incidentals. However, more often than not, the organization becomes the distraction and so, you stop and look at this list, and break down each section far too deep. Instead of a concise approach to accomplishing tasks, you end up with something like this.

To Clean Garage:

  • Organize Car #1
  • Organize Car #2
  • Clean Off Tools
  • Wipe Down Tools
  • Wipe Down Cars

Of Course, This Doesn’t Apply to You

Now you may be saying, “I don’t do that, why would I ever do that????” But, the point of this section isn’t the list themselves, but the process that ends up occurring and that’s what you should look at. With every item, picking up piece after piece, you fall into this distracted mindset. Each piece of clothing moved across the house, each tool wiped down and organized, and so much more. Spiraling down and out of your control. So, after four hours of painstaking work, you feel no accomplishment. Even though so much has been because the entire garage isn’t clean; it feels as though nothing is.

How do you fix this? Stay focused on one task.

Simple, Stay Focused on the Small

Finish one section before moving on. Finish every part, piece by piece. When you protect your plan, you promote proper completion. Don’t become sidetracked by side goals, stay honed on your target which in this case was cleaning a forsaken garage, but in others may be a messy life. The best way to maintain your productivity is with a concise plan ready.

As always, thanks for reading. Have a great Thursday!

For similar posts, check out Full Measure and Win Condition.

The First Blogger at Domincusation.com

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