Have you ever heard the phrase ‘there’s just not enough time in the day’? In fact, you may be procrastinating more than you think. The good news is that there are a number of proven strategies which will boost your productivity. Here are some simple ways to get started:
Create two to-do lists. One tells you what absolutely has to be tackled today. The other covers everything you need to handle in the near future.
Break the tasks on your ‘To Do Today’ list into small, easy-to-accomplish steps. This way you will move quickly through them, look back with a definite sense of accomplishment, and not forget anything important.
Before you get started, take steps to make sure you stay on course.
- Some people work better with music in the background, but make sure you have the TV off.
- Set your phone to ‘silent’ and ask anyone around you not to disturb you for the next few hours.
- Lay out everything you’ll need in advance so you won’t get side-tracked while looking for supplies.
- Sign out of your social media. If you know from experience that the temptation will be too much, there are apps and programs that can prevent you from accessing your favorite sites for a set amount of time.
Sit where you won’t have light glaring in your eyes and arrange your desk ergonomically to reduce or eliminate back pain while working at the computer.
While you’re at it, for every half hour to hour of work, take a few minutes’ break. Wander around, look out the window, or do some stretches to get the blood moving and reduce eyestrain.
The Three Minute Rule
If you’ve been repeatedly procrastinating on something, set a timer for three minutes and get started. You’ll probably find that you’re willing to keep going once the three minutes are up. That’s because, even in this small amount of time, you’ve begun to get ‘into the zone’ for the task.
Choose Where to Start
There are two strategies here which work for different people. You should try them both to see which is best for you.
Strategy 1 is to start your day with a short, easy task. This will get your head in the game early and make you more motivated to beat procrastination with the other assignments.
Strategy 2 is to tackle the hardest task of the day first. This way you’ll handle it when your mind’s fresh and the other projects will feel easy by comparison.
Once you’re done for the day, make sure you reward yourself for all of that hard work. Ending things on a positive note will start to rewire your brain, making you less likely to procrastinate each day. Pro tip: lay out the reward, whether it’s a bar of chocolate or your phone, where it’s easy to see from your workspace. That way it can encourage you to get back on task if your attention drifts.
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