10 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
Time Management Tips by Arman Sadeghi
Have you ever wondered why certain work that you have been meaning to do never actually gets done? It’s because you have been putting it off, for whatever reason. That’s procrastination. No judgment here, but that’s pretty normal human nature. However, if we need to get more work done in less time and achieve success in whatever we do, we must overcome this habit.
There are multiple reasons that may cause a person to procrastinate: genuine lack of time, no prioritization of work, overwhelming or boring nature of the work, no time-based goal setting that motivates action, lack of tools to do the work, etc. While some of these possible reasons are genuine, others are mere excuses.
Having been a peak performance coach for many years, I have encountered many who face this issue of time management and seek help to overcome it. Well, I decided that I might write a blog today and share a few tips that experience has taught me. Below are the points I believe will inspire you to manage time more effectively:
1. Put pressure on yourself. Before commencing or accepting any task, reduce the deadline in your mind and presume an earlier time or date.Work towards your deadline or even try to beat it; make it sound like an interesting game and resolve to win!
2. The most effective and popular (but least followed) strategy is to keep a to-do list.This list can help because it doesn’t “conveniently” allow you to forget about unpleasant or time-consuming tasks. Remember, these are still tasks to be done, no matter how overwhelming they might sound.
3. If you’re putting off starting a project because you think it is overwhelming, take a different approach. In reality, the task might not be as overwhelming as it seems; you just need to get started to find out! Here are some tips to help you get started:
a. Break the project into a set of smaller, more manageable tasks. Take one step at a time. You may find it helpful to create an action plan with time-based goals.
b. Turn a task that you think is boring and frustrating and make a game out of it.How can you ensure your work is finished on time and interesting? Try playing a game of ‘How many of these could I get done in 20 minutes?’ or, ‘How much before [name a time][/name] can I finish this?’By framing your task this way, you find some competition within it. All of a sudden, you make it interesting and much less boring or frustrating in the process.
4. Practice positive procrastination. Before you start wondering how procrastination can be positive, let me clarify. You can’t always do everything, so consciously put off less important or non-urgent activities, and instead focus on the “real” task at hand. It is critical to decide which tasks matter. To find out how to do this, check out my video at the bottom of this blog post.
5. At any given moment, apply the Law of Three. In any area of your life (such as career, family, or health), there are three activities that will contribute to 90% of your success. Some of these might not be urgent but are still important. Identify these activities and focus on completing them before anything else.
6. You can also try the Law of Forced Efficiency. There is never enough time to do everything, but always enough time to do the most important thing. Use this to put pressure on yourself to finish the task with the highest priority on your list.
7. Limit how much time you spend on something. Think:I will work for twenty minutes and then I am calling it a day! This way, your brain thinks: I’ve got twenty minutes, so I better make the best use of it.It works like a charm! Limiting how much time you spend on a task makes the work more fun, better structured, and less frustrating, because you’ll always have the finish line in sight. There are huge productivity benefits to the idea as well. When you limit how much time you spend on something, instead of throwing away more time by fussing at the problem, you force yourself to exert more energy over less time to get it done, making you much more productive.
8. Don’t regularly say yes to unimportant tasks that others ask you to do.It fills your time with other peoples’ problems, instead of getting on with the important items already on your list. Sometimes it’s necessary to put your foot down and be assertive with your valuable time.
9. Ask someone else to check up on you. Peer pressure works! This is the principle behind weight loss and other self-help groups. It also is widely recognized as a highly effective approach in dealing with procrastination.
10. Finally, don’t forget to reward yourself for doing the work, especially those tasks you found intimidating in the beginning. For example, promise yourself a piece of the tempting cake you saw at lunchtime if you’ve completed a certain task. Be conscious of how good it feels to finish things. I am sure that you will fall in love with staying at the top of your game.
You can also check out my 30-second Time Management video that may help you further decide which work needs your attention first and then go about finishing the work at hand.
I am sure if you keep these tools in mind, you will beat the clock with your tasks, and procrastination will be a thing of the past!