I’ve talked about the plateau, understanding what it is, and realizing that it is merely a necessary step to your next leap of progress. It is possible, though, that you may think you’re on a plateau when in reality you’re just spinning your wheels.
It’s critical to have good work habits in place and understand what you’re trying to achieve in order to take advantage of the plateau.
Here are some simple ideas that will help you work efficiently and put you in a position to catapult from the plateau to the next level of mastery. Experiencing the leap past the plateau to the next level will help you overcome some of your fear. Some of these ideas will be explored in more depth in future posts.
1) Decide on your goal and commit to it. As we talked about in the November 30 Fearless Friday post, without truly deciding and committing to your goal, you’ll never get there. Pretty basic. You can be very busy without making much progress. In order to work efficiently and take advantage of the plateau, you have to know where you’re going.
2) Strategize about your time management. When is your Prime Time? That is, what are the hours that you’re most rested and most alert? These are the hours you will use to do the toughest or most important tasks of your day.
3) Focus, focus, focus. Once you decide where you’re going and when to work on getting there, minimize distractions as much as possible. If possible, turn off your cell phone, close your office door, tell the kids they have to leave you alone for an hour. Don’t try to work and watch TV or listen to music at the same time if the work requires mental effort.
4) Use shorter amounts of time than usual to attack a problem or task. We often spend far longer on a task than we should. Short focused, concentrated periods of time are frequently sufficient to make significant progress on the task at hand. Are you aware of what you can get done on your project in 15 minutes? 30 minutes? 1 hour?
5) Give yourself down time. Frequently, the most important work of the plateau is done when you’re taking a break from your focused, concentrated effort on the task. During the break, your brain will continue to process the information you’ve taken in and will often provide you with insight. It becomes a waste of time if you insist on forging ahead long after your brain is tired.
6) Give up the belief that you’re a great multitasker. Considerable research has come out pointing to the fact that multitasking is not possible. Worse, it actually slows you down, contributes to mistakes and misunderstandings, and can leave you frazzled, confused, and exhausted. More on this in a future Time Management Tuesday post.
Simply tweaking some of your habits will make a huge difference in your progress, catapult you from the plateau to the next level, and help you manage your fear.