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10 Powerful Hacks to Overcome Procrastination

10 Powerful Hacks to Overcome Procrastination

I will do it later. That is the refrain of the procrastinator. Unfortunately, later never comes, or when it does arrive, it comes with panic and the need to rush. Neither is a good thing.

Procrastinating steals productivity and can cause a variety of negative consequences. So, how do you stop procrastinating so much? You can begin by applying these ten hacks to your life.

1. Revamp Your To-Do List

to do list

    Your to-do list should probably be a lot shorter than it is. Why is that? If you already know you are going to do a particular task, do not bother writing it down. Instead, limit the items on your to-do list to the tasks that tempt you to procrastinate.

    The simple act of writing these jobs down can have the psychological effect of making your need to finish them even greater. After all, it does suck to end the day without crossing things off your to do list.

    2. Identify Your Procrastination Source

    look for

      If you find yourself putting off a task, try to figure out why. Are you lacking energy? Is the task too intimidating? Are you afraid that you will not do an adequate job?

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      Identify the reason why you are procrastinating, and you might be able to solve the underlying problem. Then, you can get back to being productive.

      3. Set a Timer And Get to Work

      set timer

        If you have ever tried to get a child to clean their room, you might have set a time and encouraged them to beat the clock. Believe it or not, this often works for adults. In fact, there is an entire productivity and time management philosophy that is known as the Pomodoro Method.

        This involves setting a timer and working in bursts of 25 minutes with 5-minute breaks in between.

        The idea is to spend the 25 minutes working at a furious pace on the task at hand and then rewarding yourself with that small break. It is much easier to work if you know you have a break coming up. You can also compete with yourself to get more done during each work spree.

        4. Tackle The Miserable Tasks First

        sunset girl

          There are two factors that have a big impact on procrastination. The first is the time of day. The later it is, the less likely you will be able to push through that urge to put things off.

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          The second factor is the misery factor. Knowing this, try to structure your day so that you will work on those tasks that seem like drudgery. Save the tasks that are easier or more enjoyable for the afternoon. Your tired brain and body will appreciate it.

          5. Take Planned Breaks Throughout The Day

          relax

            If you are a procrastinator, you may not be taking enough breaks. That is right! Your problem may not be that you spend too much time relaxing, but that you spend too little. The issue is that many people will take lunch and work breaks, but when they do, they stay in work mode.

            How many lunches have you taken as you read work related emails? How many breaks have you spent talking to a co-worker about a current project? Take your breaks, and make sure that you spend them truly disengaged. Eat, relax, surf the net, take a walk. You will come back prepared to knock out the next task on your list.

            6. Make a List of Commercial Break Tasks

            Ben & Cat Photoshoot

              Think about all of the jobs that you put off in a given day. How many of them can be accomplished during a television commercial break?

              Chores such as switching over laundry, taking out the kitchen trash, wiping down the counters, and feeding the pets can all be finished in the time that a few commercials run during your favorite shows.

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              Even if you do not watch television, you can use this technique to push yourself into getting up and just doing it.

              7. Break Big Jobs Into Smaller Tasks

              folders

                If you try to tackle a huge project, the intimidation factor alone can make procrastination seem very attractive. For example, rewriting the employee manual seems like an albatross of a task that could take weeks to finish. Break that down into smaller tasks that you can chip away at one at a time, and suddenly the job seems easier:

                • Write 200 words of the employee manual introduction
                • Think of titles for each section
                • Send email to company present to clarify policy on tardiness

                Don’t these smaller tasks seem much more ‘doable’?

                8. Take Care of Yourself

                yoga

                  Do not assume that your procrastination issue is a laziness problem. You might simply have drained your energy reserves. Help yourself stay on track by getting enough sleep, eating enough healthy foods, and getting at least a bit of exercise.

                  If you are feeling particularly lethargic and unmotivated, talk to your doctor. Your body could be struggling with a vitamin deficiency or even depression. When you are healthier, procrastination will often become less and less of an issue.

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                  9. Reward Yourself

                  play games

                    If you want to stop procrastinating, give yourself a reason to get back to work. Reward your own accomplishments by treating yourself. For smaller tasks, you can create a list of small rewards such as a five-minute break to play a favorite game on one of the top sites for gaming or a small amount of desert.

                    If you tackle something that was particularly difficult, then make your reward bigger. Get that big project knocked out, and maybe you have earned a Friday night out on the town.

                    10. Go Off The Grid For a Day

                    work place

                      If you are like most people, electronic distractions can be a real source of your procrastination. It is easy to put tasks off in favor of hanging out on Facebook. It is also much more tempting to avoid getting things done when you ‘have to’ respond to all of those emails and messages.

                      To combat this, consider taking yourself off the grid every so often. Switch your devices to airplane mode, let people know that you will unavailable for the day. Then, put your head down and start plowing through all of those tasks that you would normally avoid. This is a great technique for getting your offline tasks finished and out of the way.

                      Conclusion

                      Procrastinating is a bad habit that limits your productivity and can carry a variety of other negative consequences. Fortunately, you retrain yourself and learn to drop or modify the behaviors that can lead to putting tasks off.

                      The next time you feel tempted to delay an important job, try applying a few of these techniques. Before long, getting up and getting things done will be just as deeply ingrained as procrastination. This is when you will know that you have truly beaten your procrastination habit.

                      Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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                      Last Updated on February 17, 2021

                      50 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More in Less Time

                      50 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More in Less Time

                      If you feel like you don’t have enough time to do everything you want to do, maybe it’s time to check-in with your time management skills.

                      No one is born to be very good at time management, so that’s okay if you think you’re bad in it. But everyone can learn to boost their productivity and achieve more!

                      Here are 50 ways to increase productivity and add hours to your day.

                      1. Set a Timer

                      Estimate the time you need to tackle different tasks and set a timer for each of your tasks. How you go about this is up to you as there are many different ways. There is the Pomodoro technique where you focus on a task for 25 minutes followed by a five minute break afterwards.

                      In the event that you have a task that will take much longer than that, you can consider one of the many timer-based apps. One that comes to mind is Clockify. It’s used for freelancers and entrepreneurs alike, however it’s a good way to be setting yourself a timer. It provides reports and you can serve as a project manager of sorts too. Best of all, it’s free.

                      2. Eliminate All Distractions

                      Distractions include the phone, email notifications and having multiple web browsers open on the desktop. Just as it’s important to be organized offline, it’s key to have things organized online as well. This free guide End Distractions And Find Your Focus is a good tool to help you. With this guide, you’ll learn how to get rid of distractions and boost productivity. Grab your free guide here.

                      You can also learn more on how to get rid of all distractions in this guide: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

                      3. Listen to Music That Boosts Productivity

                      Distractions should be avoided, but sometimes a bit of music in the background can help you focus.

                      Of course, it doesn’t need to be heavy rock music, but a bit of Beethoven may do you some good.

                      Here’s a complete guide to help you pick the right music for better productivity: How To Maximize Your Productivity With Music: A Complete Guide

                      4. Find Meaning in What You Do (And Love What You Do)

                      Enjoying what you do is the ultimate way to increase your productivity.

                      If you aren’t sure what you love doing yet, don’t worry. Leo Babauta has some unique ways to help you: How to Find Your Passion

                      5. Prioritize your tasks ahead of time.

                      By listing your tasks in order of importance, you can make sure that you finish all of your most important tasks during the day.

                      Learn a unique technique to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster.

                      6. Batch Similar Tasks into a Single Batch.

                      Tasks like blog writing, phone calls, email and errands can be grouped into a single batch. You will save time by completing similar tasks in one session. One way to help you with organizing all of those things is through the app Todoist. It’s an easy and simple way for you to plan out your day, set reminders, and group all of your most important tasks in a convenient spot.

                      7. Complete Your Most Dreaded Tasks First Thing in the Morning.

                      Whichever activity you are dreading the most is probably the one you need to complete first thing in the morning.

                      Many people tend to check emails in the morning because after checking a list of emails, they feel fulfilled. But that’s just an illusion of having achieved more.

                      Doing simple tasks like checking emails first in the morning is bad for you. Instead, do the difficult tasks because you have more energy in the morning to tackle them!

                      8. Reward Yourself for Finishing a Big Task

                      To stay motivated for whatever you do, reward yourself every now and then.

                      Keep track of your small wins and milestones and celebrate them. So whenever you struggle about your progress, you see how far you’ve come!

                      Find out more about this 2-Step Approach to Self-Motivation: Track Small Wins and Reward Yourself.

                      9. Don’t Multitask

                      Research has shown that multitasking is not productive. If you think you can multitask, think again.

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                      For optimum productivity, focus on one thing at a time.

                      10. Step Away from the Computer

                      The Internet has become one of the number one distraction. To increase your productivity, try to do as much of your work offline as possible.

                      I do this a lot when I try to brainstom new ideas and have found it to be very beneficial to simply unplug.

                      11. Use Focus Tools

                      Make good use of apps and technology to help you remove distractions.

                      Here’re 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools to help you stay focused. This way, you’re not distracted by the web, e-mail, or IM.

                      Also, join the free Fast-Track Class – Overcoming Distraction, and you’ll learn the one simple method to work even when you’re surrounded by distractions. Join the free session now!

                      12. Just Start

                      Often times, starting is the hardest part. People tend to wait for the perfect time with perfect condition to start. But there’s no perfect condition.

                      Once you get going, you will quickly get into a rhythm that could last for hours.

                      13. Find out Your Productive Hours

                      Everyone has a certain time of the day in which they are more productive than others. For me, it’s the morning.

                      Find out when your prime time is for productivity and optimize your work schedule accordingly.

                      14. Keep a Notebook and Pen on Hand at All Times

                      This way, you can write down your thoughts, to-dos and ideas at any time. The key is to get everything out of your head and onto paper. Your subconscious mind won’t be reminding you about it every other second. Another consideration is getting the app Evernote. Not only does this save you on ink and paper, Evernote is a convenient place for you to jot down notes and thoughts and then share them with the team. In certain circumstances, this can prove useful if you’re the type of person that has a lot of ideas that you want to share.

                      15. Write a Blog to Chronicle Your Own Personal Development and Achievements

                      The blog keeps you accountable and always working towards self improvement and personal growth.

                      When you write down all the small achievements you’ve been having, you’re also more motivated to move forward.

                      And you know what, this is how I started Lifehack too! What also helped me in starting Lifehack is WordPress, which allows people to set up a website for free. WordPress has simplified a lot of the process of building a site to the point that virtually anyone can build a website now.

                      16. Write out a To-Do-List Each Day

                      I like to plan my day the night before. This way, I can get started on my most important tasks as soon as I wake up. The Full Life Planner is a nice tool to help you organize your days and get things that matter done. Check out the planner here and start to plan your day ahead easily!

                      Make sure you don’t make any of these common to-do-list mistakes!

                      17. Write Your Most Important Tasks and To-Dos on a Calendar.

                      The key to good time management is knowing where to be and what to be doing there at any given time. Effective calendar management goes hand in hand with good task list management.

                      Learn here How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space.

                      18. Reflect on Your Productivity Constantly

                      As you go throughout your day, repeatedly ask yourself:

                      “Am I currently making the best possible use of my time?”

                      This one simple question can be an excellent boost to your productivity.

                      19. Get up Early Before Anyone Else

                      I know it could be difficult for some to wake up early in the morning but nothing beats a quiet house!

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                      Here’s How to Start Your Day at 5:00 AM and some Simple Things Early Risers Do to make waking up early easier.

                      20. Get Plenty of Sleep

                      When you work online, sleep can become a long lost memory. However, it’s important to get plenty of sleep so that your working hours can be as productive as possible.

                      Try out this night routine which I highly recommend for productivity: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide: Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

                      21. Exercise

                      Research has shown that midday exercise boosts productivity and morale in the workplace.

                      Take a short walk at lunch or do some simple stretches during your break to maximize your productivity.

                      Here I have some exercises recommendations for you:

                      22. Outsource as Much as Possible

                      If you want to achieve more in less time, learn to delegate or outsource work. Here are just a few of the companies that will help you outsource your everyday tasks:

                      Also, read this guide to learn how to delegate effectively: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

                      23. Set Some Exciting Goals

                      Without worthy goals, you will never be motivated to get things done.

                      Set goals that are challenging and achievable. The best goal setting framework is a SMART goal. That said, there are other tools that can help you out as well. For example, The Dreamers’ Guide To Reaching Your Goal is a great guide to help you set and reach goals effectively. Grab your free guide and learn how to make your goals happen this year!

                      24. Tell Other People About Your Goals

                      When you tell others about your goals, you will instantly be held accountable.

                      25. Listen to Podcasts

                      Listen to educational podcasts or audio books while you’re driving to work, cleaning the house, exercising, or cooking dinner.

                      Audio learning has the power to add hours to your day. Not to mention, your cranium is sure to thank you for it.

                      Some recommendations for you: 11 Podcasts To Inspire Yourself

                      26. Read David Allen’s best-selling book Getting Things Done

                      This is one of the most important productivity books you will ever read. Read it, apply the tips in your daily lives and get more things done.

                      Here’re more great books about productivity too: 35 Books on Productivity and Organizational Skills for an Effective Life

                      27. Learn to Speed Read

                      When you can read faster, you will read and learn more! Check out these 10 Ways to Increase Your Reading Speed.

                      You can also make use of the app OutRead to help speed up your reading speed!

                      28. Learn to Skip When You Read

                      When you’re reading a book, just read the parts that you need and skip the rest. But you have to read with a purpose.

                      Learn how to make it work here: How to Read 10X Faster and Retain More

                      29. Focus on Result-Oriented Activities

                      Pareto’s law (also known as the 80 20 rule) states that 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs. This means that 20% of our actions result in 80% of the results.

                      We must find the 20% that is creating the 80% of our desired outcomes and focus solely on those activities.

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                      30. Take a Break

                      You can’t always be working at optimum productivity. Instead, you should shoot for working in short bursts at your most productive times.

                      31. Start a Polyphasic Sleep Schedule

                      What is polyphasic sleep?

                      Polyphasic sleep is a sleep pattern specification intended to compress sleep time to 2-5 hours daily.[1] This is achieved by spreading out sleep into short (around 20-45 minute) naps throughout the day. This allows for more waking hours with relatively high alertness.

                      While you can learn more about it here, you’re recommended to take some naps during the day to recharge your energy too.

                      32. Learn to Say “No”.

                      We can’t do everything and therefore we must learn when to say no in order to save our sanity.

                      Learn the Gentle Art of Saying No from Leo Babauta.

                      33. Go on an Information Diet

                      Most of the world lives on information overload. We must eliminate mindless Internet surfing.

                      Stop reading three different newspapers a day and checking your RSS feeds multiple times a day. Otherwise, you’ll never get anything done.

                      The key is to limit yourself only to information that you can immediately take action on. Here’re some simple tips you can try: 10 Simple Productivity Tricks To Manage Overloaded Information

                      34. Organize Your Office

                      The piles of paper around your desk can be a huge barrier on your productivity. Optimize your time by organizing your office, setting up a system and dumping the junk.

                      Check out these 21 Tips to Organize Your Office and Get More Done and 20 Easy Home Office Organization Ideas to Boost Your Productivity.

                      35. Find a Mentor

                      By modeling after those who have already achieved success, you will save yourself a lot of time and energy.

                      A good mentor is hard to find, so here’s a guide to help you: What to Look for in a Mentor

                      36. Learn Keyboard Shortcuts

                      With technology’s help, you can double your work efficiency. Even better, you learn all the shortcuts when using technology, for example keyboard shortcuts.

                      When you use keyboard shortcut, you gain 64 hours every year!

                      Not sure what shortcuts to lear? Check out these 22 Tricks That Can Make Anyone A Keyboard Ninja.

                      Besides learning the shortcuts, you can also create keyboard shortcuts with AutoHotKey.

                      37. Improve Your Typing Speed to Save Time

                      Do you know you can save 21 days per year just by typing fast?

                      You don’t really need to take some serious courses to type faster, try these typing games online:

                      38. Work from Home and Avoid the Daily Commute

                      If your job is a flexible one, consider working from home. This saves you the commute time and you’ll find yourself more energetic throughout the day as you have saved the long ride.

                      Take a look at these tips to help you stay productive while working from home:

                      How to Work from Home and Stay Ultra-Productive

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                      39. Get Rid of Time Wasters

                      Common time wasters include Instant Messenger, video games, Flickr, checking your stats 10 times a day, television and extraneous Internet surfing.

                      Don’t rely on your willpower, make use of some of these useful tools to help you stay focus: 10 Online Apps for Better Focus

                      40. Plan Your Meals in Advance

                      Plan out all of your meals a week ahead and make your grocery list accordingly. This allows you to focus on the necessary – saving you time and money. You can also save yourself even more time through a wide variety of apps. One app that I find helpful is Mealime. It’s an app that provides you with a wide selection of recipes and also a convenient spot for your grocery list as well.

                      Considering the fact that over 4 million users have this app, it goes to show that there is a good selection of meal plans that you can follow and that the app is friendly to use.

                      41. Cook Your Meals in Bulk

                      When you cook your meals in bulk, you will have plenty of leftovers. This can avoid having to cook everyday.

                      Find out more about how to make cooking in bulk works: Once a Month Cooking: Productivity Hack or Overrated Time Suck?

                      42. Protect Yourself from Unnecessary Phone Time with Caller ID

                      The minutes you spend on picking up unnecessary phone calls are time wasted. You can prevent that from happening.

                      Check out this detailed guide how you can deal with those unnecessary phone calls: How To Lose the Useless Items that Weigh Down Your Day – Cellphone Calls

                      43. Take Shorter Showers

                      This one may sound silly but it’s actually something I struggle with. I spend up to 30 minutes in the shower. Think of the time I could save simply by speeding up a bit.

                      44. Save the Trips to Bank by Taking Direct Deposit

                      Many employers now offer direct deposit. If yours does, then be sure and take advantage of it and save yourself from a number of trips to the bank.

                      45. Auto Pay Your Bills

                      How many times have you been worried about whether you missed the bills deadline?

                      Auto paying your bills will save you time and eliminate late fees and increased interest rates.

                      46. Shop Online

                      Whenever possible, avoid going to the store. When you shop online, you can be more focus about what you’re getting.

                      47. Speed up your Internet With a Broadband Connection

                      Many people are aware of the slow speed of internet but aren’t doing anything about it. In fact, this is the number one Internet time-saver!

                      If you must use dial-up, then you can use accelerators like Propel and SlipStream to double or even triple your speed.

                      48. Keep up the Speed of Your Computer

                      If you’re a Windows user, use Windows hibernation feature to avoid the slowdown of exiting and restarting Windows.

                      Or maybe, consider switching to Mac as there’re plenty of Advantages You Probably Don’t Know About Switching To Mac From PC.

                      49. Turn off the TV

                      The average American watches more than 4 hours of television every day. Over a 65-year life, that’s 9 years glued to the tube.

                      For better health and productivity, turn off the TV. Here’re 11 more reasons to tell you to stop watching TV so often.

                      Turn off the TV and you are sure to get more out of life.

                      50. Use a Tivo or DVR

                      This can help you cut an hour-long television show down to just 40 minutes. You can save time while not missing the fun.

                      So, here’s the ultimate list of techniques you should learn to boost productivity. Pick the techniques that work for you and make them your daily habits. As time goes, you’ll find yourself being a lot more productive.

                      More Time Management Tips

                      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                      Reference

                      [1] Medical News Today: What is biphasic and polyphasic sleep?

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