Do you know the following scenario? You take a few days off of work in order to finish some tasks or projects of your own. In the evening you are planning your day and go to sleep with a fixed plan in your mind. But once morning arrives you suddenly can’t be arsed to get up so early. So what do you do? Of course: you make another plan in your head, how you could manage all of your tasks after all – even when you get up a bit late. And then again when your alarm clock starts to ring, you start your calculation all over again… to cut this scenario short: By the end of the day, you still did not manage to get anything useful done.
Procrastination is lingering in all of us. It's so much easier to procrastinate that to get things done. I took some time in order to shed some light on procrastination and how you can actually beat it.
Here are my essential tips on how to get things done and maximise your productivity:
Start with the things you hate the most. You have to understand that procrastination is the opposite of action. Therefore I start my days by doing the tasks I hate the most – first thing in the morning. This way the worst part is out of the way and I can concentrate on the tasks I actually like to do. Dragging unwanted but necessary tasks along just slows you down and you are not able to enjoy your day at all. Neither can you become even remotely successful this way.
Pick your number one priority. Think of one task that has the highest priority to you. Ask yourself the question if you could be satisfied with this day if you accomplished this specific task only. This is most likely the task that causes you the most stress. So make sure you get these tasks out of the way immediately.
Write your goals and tasks down. Ask yourself this question: What do I want to achieve today? Write all your goals and tasks down, set deadlines for yourself - and work off your list step by step. At the end of the day you will see how efficiently you have been working and where you can still improve
Dedicate some focus time. Try the so called Pomodoro technique, in which you work for 25 minutes straight, followed by a five minute break to let your brain relax. Do not stress the tasks outcome yet – just focus on doing your best for the 25 minute period. It will help you focus and concentrate and you will be amazed by how much you can actually accomplish by really giving it your 100% for 25 minutes.
Find your productive time. Find the time of the day that you are most productive and use this to your advantage. Make sure you won’t be distracted during this peak.
Eliminate interruptions. Make sure you close all of your social media accounts, Internet connection, emails and also turn off your phone. You need to take some interruption-free time to get things done. Reading emails as they arrive or answering phone calls will ruin your concentration instantly and you will need a significant portion of your time to get back to your focussed state again.
Take regular breaks. As I already wrote earlier on, it is very important to take short breaks of five minutes every now and then with some longer breaks thrown in between. Make sure you do something that relaxes you and makes you feel good. So go on, go for a walk, make plans for the evening, take a nap or a bath. But don’t forget, there is still work to do.
Do short tasks straight away. Tasks you can complete in a really short timeframe should be done straight away. Trust me, It feels like you have already accomplished a lot once you manage to finish a few short tasks early on in the day. This will boost your productivity immediately.
Break down huge projects into manageable parts. Large projects can be overwhelming at first, but if you start breaking them down into smaller tasks you will find everything easier to tackle instantly. The key is to only do one task at a time. Tasks will add up very quickly and you will be surprised how you managed to finish the whole project almost effortlessly.
Don’t waste too much time on emails. If you receive emails, make sure you deal with the most important messages first and decide which ones can be dealt with in the afternoon, tomorrow or even next week. When you write emails make sure you come to the point quickly and write clearly so that your message comes across instantly. Don’t think too much about every single sentence. This can turn out to be a big time waster.
Fighting procrastination does not work from one day to the next, but if you constantly work on it, incorporate the rules slowly but surely into your daily routine, you will be able to be more successful, more energised and much happier at the end of the day.
One additional advice I think should also be stated: don’t be too hard on yourself. If you get distracted or if you didn’t get your tasks done once again – just start freshly the next morning. You will get there eventually. I promise.
Do you have any tips on beating procrastination? Please leave me a comment below.
Now go on and get some things done!