• Getting your head out of your ass will improve your productivity and motivation
  • Organize your work so you’re in control and on top of your projects
  • Stop multitasking and focus on deep work to get shit done
That report is looming large in your mind.

But you have a few days to get it done so it doesn’t feel too urgent. There’s still plenty of time to hunker down and turn it in on time.

The trouble is, you’re easily distracted, especially when you’re under pressure. The temptation to start cyberloafing, daydream about life outside your cubicle, and gossip with your coworkers is too strong and much more fun.

Eventually, you have to settle down and get on with your work but you’re not exactly firing on all cylinders. In fact, you’re barely getting it done at all.

The work keeps piling up, deadlines are looming and it’s a mad scramble to get everything done before you get in a load of shit with your boss.

Other people have noticed that you’ve been dropping the ball and it’s reflecting poorly on your personal brand. Instead of being the office star, you’re more likely to be seen as a slacker.

It’s time to “get your head out of your ass” and get back to doing the great work you’re known for.

Staying focused when you really want to procrastinate is tough. But if you’re going to save your reputation, it’s crucial. Luckily, there are lots of ways to finally get your head out of your ass and ease through your workload. 

Why You Need To Get Your Head Out Of Your Ass

When your head is in your ass, you’re oblivious to what’s really going on. You’re ignoring glaringly obvious problems and hoping they’ll magically fix themselves. You’re like an ostrich burying your head in the sand to avoid facing the situation head-on.

It’s sending your work quality plummeting and your career could go the same way if you carry on like this.

Plus, it’s highly stressful.

Leaving everything to the last minute piles on the pressure. You’re frantically racing to create something that’s acceptable rather than stand out. Sooner or later, it’s going to bite you on the ass.

Imagine how good you’ll feel when your work is wrapped up ahead of a deadline and you have a genuine reason to sit back and relax for a little bit. No guilt, no procrastination.

When you finally get your head out of your ass, it can be the norm. How cool will that be?

How To Get Your Head Out Of Your Ass

Getting out of procrastination mode is tough but it’s definitely possible. You’ll need to switch up how you work and change how you think about your workload to make it a success. But once you’ve done that, you’ll be on top of your work and cutting out all the last-minute stress.

Here’s how to get your head out of your ass for good and impress everyone with your quality of work. 

1) Get Started 

Procrastinating is often a response to feeling overwhelmed. It feels easier to distract yourself rather than jump into something that feels scary.

Although it may feel like the best route to take, letting yourself get distracted by bullshit shallow work (or no work at all) only gets you in more trouble.

By the time you realize you have no option but to hunker down and get your ass in gear, it’s too late to do anything other than an ok job on it. You know you’re better than this but fear and overwhelm get the better of you.

Counteract this by forcing yourself to get started, even if it’s only for 10 minutes. Once the 10 minutes is up, you’ll probably be in the zone and ready to carry on for longer. 

2) Prioritize Your Workload

Failing to plan is one of the biggest culprits for procrastination. If you’ve got no structure to your plans, your mind finds it hard to focus. It’s inevitable that you’ll fall victim to cyberloafing and other distractions.

Planning ahead is the key. It avoids procrastinating on shallow work because you haven’t planned what to work on first.

But everything can’t be #1 so you need to prioritize what matters the most. The Eisenhower Method is a great way to do this.

It uses four quadrants to prioritize your workload:

Quadrant 1: These tasks are both urgent and important

Quadrant 2: These tasks are important but not truly urgent

Quadrant 3: These tasks are urgent but not that important

Quadrant 4: These tasks are neither urgent nor very important

Every item on your to-do list needs to go into a quadrant.

Quadrant 1 is where you should put the majority of your energy and time. Don’t get sidetracked by anything from quadrant 2 until all of your quadrant 1 tasks are done.

Any shallow work from quadrant 4 that isn’t very urgent or critical is the lowest priority. If you can, try to get this off your to-do list completely by delegating or automating it.

3) Stop Multitasking

Multitasking is false productivity. While you’re busy giving yourself a mental high five for being such a legend, here’s what’s really happening.

Multitasking fools your brain into thinking that you’re getting lots done. But in reality, it slows you down. This study from the American Psychological Association is the clincher. Every time you switch from one task to another, it takes your brain around 20 minutes to re-focus on the new task.

There’s another problem too. Constantly switching between tasks means you’ll likely not get any of them done.

It’s guaranteed that you’ll lose focus and feel overwhelmed when you have multiple projects on the go and you’re not moving the needle on any of them. Even worse, there’s much more potential to screw up.

You can actually do more with less stress by mono-tasking, not multitasking. Work on one key thing at a time and don’t move on until it’s done.

4) Break Tasks Into Bite-Size Chunks

Getting started on any task is one of the hardest aspects of working. It’s like when a long cargo train needs to get going. It requires an immense amount of energy to get the load going.

The same applies to your mental state before starting a task. You need to kick off the momentum. And the best way to get things going is to make it as easy as possible with the smallest subtask.

Check out this short video that explains how starting with sub-tasks or even sub-sub-tasks is the key to starting your momentum.

VIDEO: One Small Change That Creates Massive Results
YOUTUBE: Anthony Ongaro
LENGTH: 3:42
Summary points:
  • Break your task down into ridiculously easy aspects to get started
  • It gives you a big sense of accomplishment that you can build on
  • It takes you from a “thinker to a “doer”
If tasks feel achievable, you’re more likely to get them done. But just as importantly, breaking tasks into bite-size chunks gives you plenty of opportunity for racking up small victories.

Every small win you notch up provides a “hit” of dopamine and lights up the reward centers in your brain. These are the same areas of the brain that light up when you’re feeding an addiction - like with social media scrolling.

No great surprise given that dopamine “hits” can be incredibly addictive. The more you achieve, the more you want to keep going. And better you feel about yourself. 

5) Dive Into Deep Work

When you procrastinate, you turn to shallow work that doesn’t require creativity or concentration. You can do it without even thinking, like replying to emails that are definitely not urgent and making phone calls that can easily wait for another day.

These are just random bullshit tasks that don’t get you any further forward. And crucially, they’re taking time and energy away from the work that actually matters.

Blocking off time for deep work is the game-changer.

Your sole focus is the work you need to get done. No breaking off for tasks that won’t move the needle. You need to “get in the zone” and get shit done.

Let your coworkers and boss know that you’re diving into deep work and can’t be disturbed. Soften the blow by telling them you’ll be available outside of this but you need total dedication to get your work done. 

6) Schedule Breaks

Your brain isn’t designed to work for hours on end without a break. Trying to power through nonstop for hours on end only sets you up for failure. Sooner or later, you’ll hit the wall.

It’s like when your smartphone battery dies. The only way to salvage it is to put it on charge. Breaks ensure that you never get to that stage and you’re never about to shut down.

Regular breaks aren’t a luxury - they’re an absolute necessity.

Use the Pomodoro Technique to build in breaks during your work sessions. Work hard for 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break.

Get up from your desk if you can to stretch your muscles, get the blood flowing and give your eyes and mind a quick screen break. You can even do a one-minute meditation to keep you calm.

After you’ve done this four times, take a 20-minute break. It works incredibly well because your brain knows it’s going to get a break when the timer goes off. 

7) Have Your BFF Hold You Accountable

Everyone needs a work BFF. Let’s face it, work isn’t the most inspiring place to be most of the time. Finding your tribe isn’t always easy but it makes it more fun to be at work.

Your office BFF can also provide some much-needed accountability. They can keep you motivated to get shit done. And, they’ll call you out when you’re slacking off.

Plus, they’re there when you need to vent and to pick you up when you’re having the day from hell. It makes a huge amount of difference when work sucks.

Feeling lonely at work sinks your motivation and productivity. But if you have friends in the workplace, you feel happier and your quality of work goes up. This study from the University of Warwick in the UK shows how happiness can drive productivity. 

8) Create A “Remember This” List

Create a “remember this” list and add distractions to it as they come up.

You know how it is. You’ve just settled into doing some meaningful work when a random thought pops into your head. It’s got nothing to do with your work but you know it’ll bug you all day if you try to ignore it.

I’ll just do a quick Google search. It’ll only take a second.

An hour later, you’ve gone down the rabbit hole and you’ve made zero progress on your work.

With a “remember this” list, you can jot it down and look it up later. It’s a great way to offload it from your mind and carry on with the task in hand instead of breaking off from what you’re doing. 

9) Cut Out Distractions

Speaking of distractions, you’re not going to get anything done while you’re constantly having to refocus all the damn time. Cutting them out goes a long way towards getting your head out of your ass.

Route all calls to voicemail.

Close every browser tab that isn’t related to your work.

Close your personal and work emails.

Put your smartphone away and turn off notifications.

Whatever acts as your main distractions, know the triggers and cut them out. You can pick them up later but for now, focus on the job in hand. 

10) Work In A Quiet Zone

Can you work somewhere quiet and free from distractions?

When the pressure is really on and you need to get in the zone, it can be almost impossible to focus in a noisy office.

You can control some of it but when it comes to Chatty Cathy and Verbal Val, taking yourself off to a quiet place is pretty much your only option.

Changing your location is a great way to recharge your energy and creativity too. It’s like a reboot for your brain.

But if you can’t move, block out the noise with headphones. Sometimes, it’s the only way to save your sanity. 

11) Get Help From Coworkers

Rope in your teammates to proofread projects or make sure you’ve covered everything. They can spot things you may have missed or even help you fill in gaps when you’re really up against it.

This is because when you’re deep in the weeds with your work, you miss the higher level things. Having a fresh set of eyes and different perspectives ensures that your work will make sense and is logical.

This is where it pays to have friends and alliances in the workplace. They can help you out when you need it. Just make sure you repay the favor when they’re in a bind. The best alliances are two-way relationships.

12) Schedule Reviews With Your Manager

One way to definitely keep yourself on track is to pre-schedule review meetings with your boss.

Schedule daily or weekly interim reviews with your manager on your key projects to stay on top of your workload and keep things moving along. Plus, this can uncover any missing items or errors that would otherwise have slipped through the cracks.

And, if you’re experiencing any delays or other challenges, you can escalate issues with them so that you can keep moving forward.

But if you’re not rushing through your work, you’re much less likely to make these kinds of mistakes. 

Keep Your Head On Straight & Kick Ass

Stalling on that report might feel like the best way to go but you’re doing yourself no favors in the long run. Getting your head out of your ass and facing up to your workload is your best bet.

Once you can change your working style and give yourself the opportunity to get ahead, it’s a game-changer. Get away from the distractions too. Find your own quiet place to work if you have to. Whatever you need to do to help yourself.

You’ll feel incredible when your work is done with time to spare rather than the usual last minute stress to have something (anything) in on time. That’s a huge win to add to all the small ones you’ll be celebrating along the way.

You can get in the zone and stay focused on that report.

Feel Better,

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