Do you know what the one of the biggest reasons is that people don’t get stuff done? It might not be what you expect. It’s not procrastination. It’s not perfectionism. However, it’s related to both. In a single word… It’s PRESSURE.
Nearly every other excuse for lack of productivity leads back to the problem of too much pressure. Think about it. Why do we procrastinate? Because the job feels overwhelming. Why do we aim for perfection? Because we want to be seen as being great at what we do. Still, the underlying cause is pressure.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the biggest obstacles to getting stuff done and how pressure can be the root cause.
5 Reasons We Don’t Get More Done
- We put things off: Procrastination is a funny thing. Some people use it to kick themselves in the butt at the last minute. But more often than not, we procrastinate because we dread the job at hand. We feel pressured to get something done and that causes us to pull back.
- We try to be perfect: Do you want your work to be perfect? Don’t worry, it’s a common thing. However, it also adds a tremendous amount of pressure. I used to be a perfectionist. I’d struggle to complete anything because nothing felt good enough. But when I gave up perfectionism, something amazing happened. It eased the pressure to conform and I got to work. Now I aim for quality, not perfection.
- We talk too much: Have you ever been excited about a project? You go around telling everybody you know about it. But guess what you just did? You just added more pressure on yourself. Now that others know what you’re planning, the pressure to complete the project is stronger than ever. That may just cause you to procrastinate even more.
- We put the wrong things first: I’m guilty of this. One reason I haven’t made oodles of dough on this blog is because I put writing before marketing. It’s true that we need good content. It’s also true that marketing can be hard. But when I get caught up on writing, I tend to do more creative work instead of the needed marketing. That’s because marketing feels overwhelming. It adds more pressure and then I put it off.
- We push too hard or too fast: This is huge. Burnout is a real thing. However, it can usually be avoided. But many of us tend to jump into a project with all four limbs. We work our butts off only to feel overwhelmed. When we start to feel the pressure, we can be quick to give up.
Something Happens When You Ease the Pressure
So, if it’s pressure that’s behind the primary reasons for not getting stuff done, it makes sense to release some of that pressure. How? It’s actually easy. Here are a few simple ideas:
- Work in short spurts: Rather than trying to knock out a project in one fell swoop, try working for short periods of time. I rarely work for more than an hour at a time. I tend to work for 20-40 minutes, then I take a break for about the same amount of time. Then I go back to work. It’s amazing how much I can accomplish using this method.
- Focus on having fun: If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, you’re either doing the wrong thing, or it’s not the right time. Take a break and try again an hour later. Do something fun between work sessions. It really can relieve the pressure.
- Know it’s good enough: Perfection is not only impossible, it’s overrated. I’d rather see honesty in workmanship than something that looks like it was made by a machine. Rather than aiming for perfection, aim for high standards. Know what those standards are, and be satisfied when you meet them. Finally, accept yourself when you fall short.
- Play the long game: Most successful ventures are built over time, not overnight. When we play the long game, it eases the pressure of feeling obliged to succeed in short order.
- Stop caring too much: It’s good to be passionate about what we do, but unless your life depends upon that book you’re writing, (and I’m guessing it doesn’t), don’t get overemotional about your work.
It’s an Oxymoron, but It’s True: Less Is More
Stop trying too hard. Working too hard is kind of like a boomerang. Instead of getting the ball down the field, it comes right back at you. You wind up stressed out and frustrated. The old adage, less is more, is true. The hustle mentality is a lie.
Ease the pressure of productivity by moderating what you do. Take breaks. Don’t expect too much of yourself. Know you only get better with time. Less pressure is equal to more productivity. I know it sounds backwards, but it works. I encourage you to give it a try. Ease the pressure. Work less. Get more done.