Mastering Productivity

Posted on: January 4, 2017, by :

I had only 2 hours to wash, detangle and blow dry my hair before I had to pick my kids up from school. Normally, I dedicate an entire day to grooming my mane. But this time, I procrastinated most of the day away chatting with my mom and scrolling social media. When I realized I only had 2 hours of my day left, I considered just waiting until after I picked the kids up from school to start the process.

I was already 3 days deep in procrastination about this hair. I knew if I put it off again it wasn’t going to get done “If I don’t start, I won’t finish.” And not finishing was not an option. If you know me you know I really don’t feel like my best self when my hair isn’t done… I will cancel all kinds of important plans like recording training videos for my team and marketing photos/videos for my businesses because my hair is in a boring ponytail. It’s safe to say great hair is a necessary factor in my productivity and my self esteem.  May be trivial to you, it’s a necessity for me.

I’m sure 2 hours is plenty of time for most people to do a simple wash. However, I have very thick, very curly and moderately long natural hair. It usually takes me a good 3.5 hours to wash, detangle and blow dry. Then another 2-3 hours to style it depending on how I want it to look. Getting it all done in 2 hours was a far cry from reality for me.

I decided to just start and if I had to leave mid-job to grab the kids then so be it. One thing was for certain, I would definitely finish if I got started. 

Lo and behold! I washed, detangled and blow dried my hair in 1 hour and 15 mins?!?!?!

I astonished my doggone self! I will never, ever, ever go back to those 5 hour hair days again. 

This experience taught me a few key things about mastering productivity…

  1. If you don’t start, you won’t finish. Sounds like common sense, right? Except it’s not because I’m sure there are things you have always planned to do that you still haven’t started…and guess what? They’re not finished 😉
  2. Starting doesn’t require perfection, it just requires action. Let go of all the intricate details. Just start and sort out the details as they come along. I had no idea what part of the process I would be in 2 hours later, but I knew I would be further along than when i started. I could solve whatever challenges I faced as they came along. I could sort out any necessary details when I got there. 
  3. Don’t skip any steps. I always coat my hair in a penetrating oil before I shampoo to make sure I don’t wash out all the moisture and to make detangling easier (before and after the wash). I was tempted to skip this step considering I didn’t have much time to get it done. But I remembered how much harder the detangling process would be if I didn’t. It’s much faster and easier to do a job right the first time. So don’t skip steps trying to rush your process. 
  4. Enforce a deadline. Take this seriously because it is very key. You have to hold yourself accountable for the work you said you would get done. So if you set a deadline you have to enforce it just like a boss would. There will be consequences for missing the mark. If I didn’t finish my hair in that two hours I would have been forced to go outside with wet hair in 30 degree weather…not to mention the wind chill.  Pneumonia, anyone? 
  5. Make the deadline almost impossible to reach. I realized that I had been doing myself an injustice by dedicating an entire day to my hair.  Clearly all I needed was an hour and fifteen minutes, but since I had the whole day I almost luxuriated in it. When we don’t push ourselves to achievement and completion, we take our sweet time getting there. We stretch our work to fit the time slot. But when you’re down to the wire and determined to get it done, that’s what you do. Push for more with less. 

What are your tips for mastering productivity?