Even the best of us are guilty of it: procrastination. It becomes particularly hard this time of year when the weather is so painfully gorgeous, yet all you have to look forward to is that load of paperwork sitting on your desk.
‘Maybe I can do it tomorrow?’
‘Maybe I can get an extension on that deadline?’
Or maybe you can stop procrastinating. Hopefully the next couple of tips will give you a nudge towards channeling some solid productivity into your day.
Keep a to-do list
Maybe I’m just your old school kind of girl, but I get that small sense of accomplishment whenever I can physically cross out a task on a to-do list, and that motivates me to move on and tackle others. Another expert tip: Be specific. Don’t just write “Call Ryan Gosling” on that list. Instead, try “Call Ryan Gosling at 7:00.” Make the commitment and assign yourself a time.
It doesn’t have to be perfect
Guilty as charged. I know some of you out there don’t even realize you are procrastinating – some of you are just overthinking it and suffer from a ‘Hamlet’ complex. While perfectionism can definitely be a positive quality, sometimes urgent deadlines call for a splash into the water even if you don’t have the perfect swimwear or the best weather conditions. Catch the metaphor? Pace yourself and be aware of how much time you are spending on one task versus the several others that may be on your to-do list. If you’re stuck on the first one, do the others and come back to it. It’ll still be there when you’re through.
Do the worst jobs first
I hear that groan. When you have a cupcake why would you start eating it from the bottom? Well maybe because you want to save the best for last. Looking forward to something can make the preceding tasks seem like lesser evils. Try to force yourself to tackle the worst tasks first and get them over with at the beginning. It’ll make everything a little less painful.
Take A Break
Make sure you book some downtime into your schedule, whether you use it as refuel-and-recharge time or an incentive to look forward to after you finish a task. There is no point in trying to force yourself to keep to a strict schedule and work feverishly non-stop—that will, if anything, discourage you in your conversion to a non-procrastinator for the long-term.
Avoid Energy Supplements
Just some two-cents from a caffeine addict who’s been there before – try to avoid using caffeine or any other sugary supplements to keep you focused or keep your energy level up. 9 times out of 10 that does not end well. Instead try just sitting back and meditating about nothing for a few minutes or an hour. Power naps are your best friend here. After all, your overworked brain needs a break to recharge from time to time.
Shut off the World
Yes, it is painful to cut off that all-important part of yourself, but it is a necessary sacrifice that I promise will increase your productivity two-fold: Turn off Facebook and Twitter, shut down YouTube, and turn off those push notifications for regenerated Candy Crush lives. If you can, disconnect yourself from your phone and your internet. Isolating yourself and exercising self-discipline is key to zeroing your focus in on priority deadlines without having that temptation to take a selfie and post it under #procrastination.
Remember that procrastinating is all about making small but essential life choices throughout your day – the baby steps all add up. Ignoring the thorn in your side won’t make it disappear, so make sure to tackle the tasks you need to get done before they get buried by other work commitments on your plate. You’ve already taken the first step towards lifelong productivity by recognizing your need for improvement in time management skills and looking for solutions. Awesome! Now, all you really have to do now is… do.