Ever had one of those painful “Ah Ha” moments? You know the kind where you suddenly realize something about yourself that makes you feel like a complete bonehead. Not because that “something” is such a bad thing, but because you never really saw how it was affecting your life.
Well, I just had one of those. I just saw plainly how my own enthusiasm was actually having a negative impact on my level of productivity. Ouch! So now I am publicly blowing the whistle on myself to create some accountability. Why? Because now that I know that there’s a problem, it’s time to do something about it.
Self-sabotaging behavior from enthusiasm?
Here are a few things about me that you may or may not know:
1) I’m a person who takes action when something excites me.
2) I am constantly learning and implementing new information.
3) I have zero limiting beliefs about what I am capable of.
In other words, I am full of enthusiasm! But here’s the problem, I am a starter! That means that I like to take a new concept, break it down into actionable steps, and then take action on what I’ve learned. When something else comes along that gets my enthusiasm going, I do the same thing again.
Do you see the problem? I am always starting new projects before I finish whatever I was working on before. I have so many half finished projects that it’s ridiculous. So, in a very real way,my enthusiasm and those three positive traits I listed above are having a negative impact on my productivity.
Undisciplined enthusiasm can sabotage your productivity
Enthusiasm is a wonderful trait, and I’m blessed with massive amounts. In fact, when it comes to enthusiasm for new projects, maybe I have a little too much. Let’s face it, if we fail to see our projects through to completion, we will never realize the reward for our hard work. We end up just spinning our wheels and not getting anywhere.
Now that I am aware of how this tendency has been undermining my productivity, it’s time to take some decisive action and turn things around. Here are some of the strategies I plan to use to accomplish that.
7 action steps to help me finish what I’ve started.
1) Be more task oriented. This means focusing on the task at hand until it is completed. Every “start” needs to have a corresponding “finish.” Instead of just seeing the phases of a project, it’s important to see the whole project. Starting is a phase, but it’s not the whole project. Instead of applying my enthusiasm to starting something new, I will apply it to each successive phase of my current project.
2) Define each step ahead of time. Knowing what steps are required defines where we are going. There will always be some unanticipated twists along the way, but we don’t want to get something half done and then stall because we failed to analyze what’s involved. A plan of action needs to be well thought out ahead of time. This gives us a logical sequence to follow so we can move steadily toward completion.
3) Treat each phase like a small project. Once we know what is required, then each step should receive our enthusiasm and focused attention. We still need to be mindful of the big picture, but each phase of the project will go much faster if we give it the focus it deserves. If we follow our already established “logical sequence,” it will lead us to completion.
4) Use applied focus sessions. This is the best way I know to keep my eye on the ball while it’s still in play. Applied focus sessions allow anyone to accomplish much more in a shorter amount of time because they eliminate distractions. When we get distracted, even for a moment, it takes several minutes to regain our focus. Distractions, large or small, kill productivity.
5) Ignore the lure of new ideas. For me, if something comes along that sounds irresistible, I will just make a note to check it out later. That means forget about it until after I complete whatever it is I am working. This is where I let myself get sidetracked, so for me personally, there can be no compromise here and no shift of enthusiasm or attention.
6) Limit my focus. Let’s face it; we all have other things besides new projects that require regular attention. For most people, life is pretty full without adding anything to the mix. That means there is a need to be economical with our time. It may be possible to find more time by eliminating a few time wasters, but that only works to a point. It would be counterproductive to take on new projects at the expense of necessary commitments.
7) Value completion. On some level, I must be attaching more value to starting projects than to finishing them. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be in this situation. It likely stems from the fact that I just like to take things from the conceptual stage to the action stage. Like I said, I’m a starter, but now it’s time to become a finisher. Learning to attach more enthusiasm to completion is certainly a good place to begin.
What can you learn from my undisciplined enthusiasm?
It is entirely possible for any of us to sabotage our own efforts without harboring any limiting beliefs. Sometimes it just comes down to the process. If we are constantly getting derailed between point A and point B, something is out of adjustment. Our habits and our daily rituals have a powerful influence on our productivity and thankfully, they are some of the easiest things to adjust.
A small change in the way we manage our focus can have a dramatic and lasting effect on our quality of life and our level of productivity. In a very practical way, knowing this gives you an enormous amount of creative control over your personal reality. Putting these 7 action steps down in writing has empowered me to quickly begin creating even better results for my efforts.
How about you? Can you see any area in your life where a simple shift in focus, energy, or enthusiasm could lead to a significant improvement in productivity? If so, why not get the ball rolling be leaving a comment and creating some accountability? It worked for me and it can also work for you.
What distractions interfere with your productivity?
Are you able to maintain your enthusiasm from start to finish?
The lines are open!
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