The Thief Of Time – Procrastination – Ironic!
The thief of time – procrastination – and why is it ironic? Well, you put things off to get other things ‘done’ and before you know it, very little or nothing gets done – so much for saving time or better still – ‘waiting for the right time’. What a viscious cycle we find ourselves in.
Why is it that some of us seem to be affected by inertia much more than others? If you are one of life’s procrastinators, you’ll recognize that however interested you are in a project, sometimes locating the necessary get up and go to move from the theoretical to the possible is a hard task.
However much you want to, making the first move seems impossible and you find lots of other little tasks to distract you and take up your time instead, rather than getting on with the major job on the agenda.
So how do you break the mental gridlock and get cracking? Give these simple methods that will help you to release the ‘fangs’ of procrastination and in no time you’ll be a productive ninja before you know it…
Reformat Your To Do List
Many of us make a number of mistakes when it comes to creating our to-do list. We make them far too long – with more tasks that we could ever hope to reasonably achieve in a day – and we make the items on them too huge. This leads to inertia and paralysis as everything on the list just seems overwhelming.
Reformat your to-do list so that it contains a maximum of five items for the day, and make sure they are things which are actually achievable. By limiting yourself in this way, you also allow time for all the random interruptions and reactive tasks which are an unavoidable reality of working life.
This method works especially well if you have work that you need short bursts of concentration for, like creating online content. If you have large projects to do, only include smaller milestones rather than the whole thing.
For example, while ‘fix IT systems’ is huge and very complex, something like ‘Organise Computer Repairs’ is far easier, so make sure you break larger tasks down into more easily digestible ones.
Do One Simple Thing First…
Movement creates movement, so a good way to get started is to pick an easy, short task from your list and complete it straight away. By doing that, you can tick something off quickly and this creates a positive momentum that you can build on.
… Then ‘Swallow The Frog’
A well known productivity technique is to ‘swallow the frog’, which basically means tackling the most disagreeable job – the one you’ve been putting off – first.
Most of us tend to experience our peak energy first thing in the morning at work, so don’t waste it on routine admin tasks. Tackling your big or unpleasant job will give you an amazing sense of satisfaction which makes all the other jobs on your list easier in comparison.
So get the ball rolling with something easy and quick, then jump straight to your most involved task of the day. Save anything routine for the post-lunch slump when your energy and creative power tend to hit a bit of a low.
Reject The Perfection Myth
If you have perfectionist tendencies, quite often that can lead to procrastination through analysis paralysis. If you recognize this in yourself, try to resist the temptation to get bogged down in details or making something ‘perfect’. Decide how good is good enough, and aim for that instead. Not everything has to be 100 per cent effort – save that for when a project really demands it. Tying yourself up in knots is unhelpful – make a start and you can always refine things later on.
Images courtesy of UnSplash.
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