Ok, here’s a dirty secret – I was a HUGE procrastinator. I waited until the last minute to do things, leave the house, finish a project. I used to think of it as a challenge, a fun little personal task. When asked the dreaded, “What would you say is your weakest quality?” question in an interview, I would answer, “Procrastination.” but I would follow it up with, “I work great under pressure.” And I do. However, I have discovered that when you give yourself enough time – meaning more time than you think you need, it actually makes everything more relaxing and enjoyable.
As a human you are programmed to procrastinate. It’s our nature, we all do it. So, now that we no longer have to feel guilty about it what can you do about it?
I’ve tried a lot of things, including, blocking off my calendar so it looks like a rainbow fun pop of to do’s and obligations during the day. Here’s the thing, best intentions don’t always lead to improved actions so I am going to share a few tips that I used to outsmart procrastination.
Figure out your natural schedule. Decide when you like to do certain things and when you are most productive. For example. I have discovered that if I work out in the morning, check email and get ready, then start working I am a much happier and more productive person. I then find that if I do something active in the afternoon: a walk with my dog, yoga, working in the yard etc. then work after that I am also a happier, more productive person. So, I have scheduled my day and the priorities I have to finish around that schedule. If you are in an office decide the times you are most productive and take advantage of that time. Then allow yourself some slack time or time to do less taxing priorities in the areas around those natural energy bursts.
Next, block those websites that pull you into a black vortex where time stands still and you come out knowing a bit about your friend’s weekend, the latest youtube sensation or checking in on the latest news story… Set a temporary website block with programs like Temporary on Google Crome. It’s a free app for your computer that allows you to temporarily block websites so you can’t view them in the specified amount of time that you set. If you can’t see it you can’t view it so you have no choice but to work.
Also, turn off your email and anything that beeps, dings or chimes on your phone. We are like Pavlov’s Dog. We respond to those noises very well and we go searching for our treat. Cut it off and silence it.
This next option is a little less strict than Temporary. Time Warp, another Google Chrome app for your computer that will allow you to set three different “wormholes”
Option 1: Redirect: Takes you to the most productive site you specify
Option 2: Quote: Shows your most motivational quote
Option 3: Timer: Displays the amount of time you spent on the site today
It’s an interesting options that I have just installed on my computer and plan to use soon. So clever over there at Google.
Last, is sheer will power. You have to focus on something larger and more important than the present moment to push you through whatever it is you have to get done. Here are a few Time Saving ideas to get you started. Also, I always tell myself that whatever I’m dreading will not be as hard as I anticipated and the truth is it usually isn’t. And it feels so good to have it done!