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Common Obstacles to Productivity

Common obstacles to productivity

Set a goal and achieve it!

We all have To Do lists right? We cross three things off but then five more chores get added. It’s never ending, and that’s ok, as long as we are consistently moving forward and actually crossing things off.

How many items on your list just keep getting pushed back and never crossed off?

You just move them to a different list. Then as the weeks (or months) go by you berate yourself. “I’m so lazy…why can’t I just do it…I never accomplish anything”. The options are limitless for the ways people can be hard on themselves for not completing a task. (For more on this specific topic, see last month’s blog!) Let’s take a look at the following two examples. These are from a conversation with a client recently who was discussing a couple of household chores that were weighing on her, that she had yet to accomplish.

My client, let’s call her Nicole, was talking about her bathroom renovation and what she still needed to do to consider it complete. There is wallpaper paste on the wall that needs to be removed. Nicole talked about this task and seemed frustrated with herself for not having done it yet. When I asked her a couple of questions about it, the obstacles to her getting this done became clear. First I asked her if she felt confident that she knew the correct way to remove the wallpaper paste and she quickly said no she wasn’t sure of the best way.

Insecurity and lack of knowledge of how to do something is a huge obstacle to productivity.

So right away we talked about her doing some research. She could search online or go to a store that sells wall paper and ask for suggestions. Next I asked her if she thought she had all the supplies she would need for this task and she again said no she didn’t. She also wasn’t sure of exactly what she would need. Not having the proper tools, ingredients, supplies, etc to do a chore is another big obstacle commonly faced.

So given these two obstacles, is it any wonder Nicole hadn’t done this task yet? Is it even realistic to expect herself to have done it?

Here’s another example from the same session with Nicole. She had another item on her to do list for a while, to finish painting part of her hallway. She expressed similar frustration with herself for how long this item has been on her list. So again we explored potential obstacles.

She mentioned that the unfinished part is very high and she needs to use a ladder to reach it. First question, did she have a ladder the right height for this job? No she didn’t. She said she planned on asking her neighbor to borrow his. I asked if she was sure her neighbor even has a ladder. Again the answer was no she had no idea.

Identifying these obstacles helped us to create sub-tasks that needed to be addressed in order to complete the larger task. So for the second example, first Nicole had to ask her neighbor if he has a ladder the height she needs, then she can ask when she could borrow it.

Often our minds will try to skip over these seemingly insignificant details and just try to bully ourselves into productivity.

But in actuality, these details are crucial to our success in being able to achieve the satisfaction of crossing those items off the list. Too often people resort to self criticism in response to not accomplishing something. Instead approach it with curiosity and understanding. Probing a little deeper into why we haven’t tackled a task yet can yield helpful information which will allow you to achieve success.

I’d love to help you get past your mental obstacles that impede your completing tasks and fulfilling your goals. Contact me to schedule a session!

Kathy Most
Therapist in Westfield, NJ
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