Procrastination. The art of time wasting. We all do it, often when we’re faced with a task we don’t want to do. But are there really ways to beat procrastination?
Fortunately, yes there are!
Here are some of the best ways to help better use your time:
1. Just do it
Don’t give yourself time to procrastinate. If you’re given a task, start it now, this instant, immediately! Chances are, once you’ve started, you’ll carry on with it. For most people, starting to do something is the most difficult part. Come to think of it, it’s not just people. Starting a car or getting it up to speed takes more energy than just cruising along. So the next time you’ve got a nasty task to do, start doing it!
2. Write a to do list
Write out a few things you need to do today. Don’t write an essay on this, bullet points will work fine. Then put them in some sort of priority order. This doesn’t have to be exact but it shouldn’t have watching re-runs of the Simpsons as your top priority. Pick off the items one by one and complete them if possible. Once they’re done, take pleasure in erasing them from your list!
3. Do the big tasks first
Ouch. Likely not what you wanted me to suggest. But if you do all the small tasks first, the time left at the end of the day won’t be enough to make it worth your while starting that really big item. So you’ll put it off (again) until tomorrow. Here’s a quick analogy on this: if I gave you a glass jar and a batch of large stones, pebbles and sand, which way would you put them into the jar to get as much in as possible? Sand first wouldn’t leave enough space for the large stones. Same with the pebbles. You’d get best results placing the largest items in the jar first, followed by the next largest, and so on. Exactly the same way you need to deal with your time. Do the largest task first each day. Then fill in with smaller items. You’ll be amazed at how much more stuff you get through.
4. Don’t wind yourself up
Do your best not to get into a panic about the various things on your shiny new to do list. Think about them calmly. If you need help with any of them, seek it now. Before that deadline looms! Being prepared helps enormously. You wouldn’t start cooking a meal without the food. Don’t start a project without the necessary items. But, equally, don’t let the lack of a small insignificant item prevent you from starting the task. If you’re missing a yellow hiliter pen, so what? If you’re missing the computer for your PowerPoint presentation, that’s a bigger issue! But it’s solvable, even if means you can’t start that item until tomorrow.
5. Reward yourself
When you complete a major task, give yourself a reward. Maybe a chocolate cookie. Whatever makes you happy. This way you’ll start to condition yourself to want to do the items on your list rather than put them off and off and off…