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How Procrastination Makes Time Management Ineffective

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How Procrastination Makes Time Management Ineffective

Everybody procrastinates. Students, parents, employees, employers, and every other human can’t help but procrastinate. No matter what you do, it’s close to impossible to get rid of procrastination if you’re not good at time management.

Time management and procrastination are very closely related as one affects the other. Procrastination, in particular, puts all your time management efforts to waste. If you can understand the how and why aspects of this concept, you can fight against procrastination and begin to use your time efficiently.

Effects of Procrastination

Procrastination is what happens when time management strategies are not utilized well. If you’ve been trying to make the most out of your time, you need to get rid of procrastination. Here are 3 ways that delaying tasks without a reason messes up your entire schedule.

Wasting Time

This one’s a given. It’s easily understandable that if you keep putting off a task that you’re supposed to get done, you will be wasting a lot of time.

You probably have a schedule for the day. Let’s assume you work for 8 hours every day. Your schedule will include tasks that will require 8 hours of your time. However, somewhere in the middle of the day, you just didn’t want to do one particular task. You kept delaying it.

You end up wasting hours of your time that was meant to be utilized somewhere else. Unfortunately, there’s no way to bring back the time that has gone by. All you can do at the end of the day is to push all the pending tasks to the few remaining hours of the day, which inevitably creates a great deal of pressure and stress.

Stress Leads to Bad Performance

As stated in the previous point, procrastination leads to wasting a great deal of time. When you’re left with all the work and just a few hours to finish it all off, of course you’ll feel pressured and stressed.

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The issue here is that even if you get into a boost mode and somehow manage 8 hours worth of work in four hours, you won’t be able to perform well. What does that do? It ruins your reputation at work because what you produce is not your best effort.

Bad performance can lead to further stress. Sometimes, your employer may even ask you to re-do the whole task all over again because it wasn’t satisfactory the first time around. This will add more to your existing to-do list. You’ll have to handle more in the same amount of time.

You’ll end up in a cycle of stress and bad time management just because you were careless a few times.

Extends Your Working Hours

The responsibilities that you delayed are sometimes manageable in a short time-frame, even after procrastination, but more often than not, it’s impossible to cover them within the same working hours.

Let’s take the previous example once again. You procrastinated for four hours. Now you half the time to finish off what you were supposed to do in eight hours. There’s a pretty big chance you’re unable to manage it, so your employer will tell you to stay back and finish the tasks for the day. You spend four extra hours in the office. The personal responsibilities you had to tackle in those four hours have to be rescheduled. You get home late, go to sleep later than usual, have a hard time waking up on time, and end up getting to work late.

Basically, it’s a cycle. Procrastinating once doesn’t have a one-time effect. It keeps getting carried on and makes your life harder. Time management is impossible if you keep procrastinating.

How to Stop Procrastinating and Manage Time Effectively

So, it’s clear by now that time management and procrastination are closely linked and that time management can help you avoid creating new difficulties with procrastination.

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These two interdependent concepts require a good deal of work to be useful. Here are some tips on how you can manage time in a way that reduces the chances of procrastination.

1. Have an Effective Schedule

Everyone has a schedule that they follow. Some people have a rough idea of their responsibilities in their heads while others have it jotted down somewhere. If you want to improve your time management and stop procrastinating, you need to start making effective to-do lists.

If you’re a procrastinator, you need a very detailed schedule. Look at it this way: when you have a plan for every minute, you won’t have enough time to think about delaying anything. Every single activity will be calculated and timed.

A great thing you can do while making a detailed schedule like this is to break down your tasks. Instead of allotting one hour to a job, allot 10 minutes to different segments of it. Your mind will also find it easier to tackle small chunks in 10-minute intervals than to go ahead with a big task that will need 60 minutes.

2. Take Enough Breaks

Not allowing breaks to save time is the biggest waste of time. Working non-stop is a huge trigger for procrastination. Give your mind the sense of relief that you’ll have some time off after you finish a few tasks.

If you don’t have short breaks scheduled throughout the day, your brain will know that it has to work continuously. Unconsciously, you’ll want to squeeze some free time in between tasks. This is where you’re likely to start procrastinating.

On the other hand, if you allow yourself 5 minutes off after every 25 minutes, it will keep you motivated to work hard through the 25 minutes to get a break after that. It keeps you from procrastinating and also boosts your motivation.

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3. Use the Pomodoro Technique

When you’re struggling to get a hold on time management and procrastination, it won’t be easy to manage it all alone. You should use supporting apps that will help you reach your goals more easily.

The Pomodoro Technique is all about time management and maintaining focus. It is a concept in which a person forces their attention on the task at hand for 25 minutes straight. You can then treat yourself to a 5-minute break or continue working for another 25 minutes. After 2 hours, you get a longer break[1].

Numerous applications help you implement the Pomodoro Technique. Use them to monitor and divide your time effectively.

4. Prioritize

You know that you’re likely to procrastinate at some point in the day, but you also know that you’re the most motivated after the lunch break.

Schedule your most important work at the time when you know you’re most likely to be productive. Even if you keep pushing yourself the rest of the day, at least you’ll have the relief of fulfilling the urgent responsibilities on time.

Prioritization may not solve procrastination, but it can help you manage time in a way that, even if you slack a bit, it won’t harm you.

5. Monitor Your Behavior

The best way to stop yourself from procrastinating is to keep an eye on yourself. Track your behavior. Write down where you’re spending all of your time. How much of it was spent on work, and how much did you spend distracted by the bee on your window?

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If you’re using an app for time management, you can monitor your activities to some extent. For more efficiency, make a conscious effort to remember where you’ve spent every single minute of the day.

The next step is to eradicate the causes of procrastination and minimize the distractions. If the bee on the window keeps you occupied for a good five minutes, shift your office space. Put your chair in a different spot so that you cannot look out the window. Turn off your phone so you don’t waste time scrolling on social media.

As for the material distractions, you can easily find a way to get rid of them. For mental distractions, you may want to add in a 10-minute meditation session before starting the day. It will help you practice mindfulness throughout the day.

6. Learn to Say No

Start by figuring out what makes you want to procrastinate. Usually, people procrastinate on tasks that they find boring, too hard, ambiguous, or meaningless[2].

If you doubt you’ll have fun doing a job, or you know you won’t be able to perform well, simply refuse to do it.

However, there are some cases in which you just cannot say no, when you are obliged to fulfill the responsibility regardless of whether or not you’re interested. In those cases, put the other tips to use so that you can get it done without compromising your work duties.

The Bottom Line

Clearly, procrastination is entirely dependent on the absence or presence of good time management strategies. Time management and procrastination are intertwined, but where you find one, you likely won’t find the other.

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The above tips will help you find a way out of delaying your work and wasting precious time. Start practically using this advice so that you too can make the most of your life!

More Time Management Tips

Featured photo credit: Charlz Gutiérrez De Piñeres via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on June 1, 2021

10 Effective Ways To Make You a Fast Learner

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10 Effective Ways To Make You a Fast Learner

The importance of learning cannot be underestimated. Learning empowers us to fulfill our ideas and realize our full potential. The speed of gaining new knowledge is practically as important as its volume. Who wouldn’t love to remember tons of information as quickly as possible?

If you want to start learning faster, you need a new approach towards the process which would enable you to comprehend the essence of the matter and relate it with new concepts you encounter.

The following 10 tips will help you become a fast learner:

1. Analyze Your Learning Style

Before you can start experimenting with different studying methods, you need to understand what type of learner you are:

Is your memory associated to sound?

Maybe you can remember what you were reading when a particular song was playing? If this is your case, then you fall into the category of auditory learners.

If you want to start studying more efficiently, then it would be wise to record the lectures and listen to them instead of reading textbooks.

Do you relate information to visual content?

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If you are a visual learner, you should implement images, graphs, charts, infographics, colorful lists, flashcards, and other types of visual content when you study.

Are you a physical learner?

If your learning style is not auditory or visual, then you might be a physical learner. Some students have too much energy; they tap their feet or play with a pen during lectures.

A walk before a lecture will calm your nerves down. You can try studying or listening to audio lectures during a walk. That will help you remember the information more quickly.

2. Use the Right EdTech Tools

Technology has the power of making everything easier. There are plenty of websites, online tools, and smartphone/tablet apps that will boost your skills of planning, writing, time management and brainstorming, etc.

One way of improving your productivity is using flashcards. You can make your own cards, but you can also download pre-made kits online:

  • StudyBlue is one of the best online destinations when it comes to creating and discovering flashcards from all areas of study.
  • If you are looking for a tool that makes the process of brainstorming more effective, then you should try PapersGear.
  • You also need the SelfControl app, which will eliminate all distractions when you need to stay focused.
  • Quizlet is another website you should bookmark; it offers study tools that will transform the learning process into a fun activity.
  • Notella is an app that will help you take quick notes at any time.
  • Brainscape is an educational platform that makes complex subjects easy by relying on cognitive science.
  • You can also try Dragon Dictation, especially if you are an audio learner.

3. Train Your Brain to Accept New Information

Efficient studying is a habit. Your brain needs constant training if you want to improve your focus and complete complex tasks without taking breaks.

One way to achieve this goal is to create a private learning space in your home. You’ll also need a specific time of day that you’ll devote to studying. That will make your brain ready to accept the information it gets, so you’ll notice you’re starting to learn much faster by the day.

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4. Get Some Exercise

You are aware of the fact that physical activity is good for your body, but your brain needs it too!

Light exercise, such as yoga, can help you learn much faster. If you are inactive throughout the day, your body will want to move, so it will be difficult for you to stay focused.

If, on the other hand, you canalize your energy through light training sessions, you will be ready to study productively.

5. Work on the Ambiance

If you have a noisy neighborhood or a working environment full of distractions, you won’t be able to learn or study no matter how hard you try.

If you want to learn quickly, you need a quiet, distraction-free environment that won’t disturb the mind in any way. Such a peaceful place will set you in learning mode as soon as you find yourself in it.

6. Take a Lot of Notes

Only few people are capable of remembering information as they read it. If you don’t belong to this category of privileged learners, then you absolutely need to start taking notes.

This simple learning method will force you to think about the essence of the material. It will also give you a nice framework that will help you review the things you’ve learned.

Write down only the most important information. That will help you remember all the other things you’ve learned.

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Here’re some tips to take notes effectively: Why Successful People Take Notes And How to Make It Your Habit

7. Make Mind Maps

Mind maps are among the best tools to speed up the learning process. Your mind will process information effectively if you create a visual representation of the things you’re about to learn.

You can create a nice mind map in the old-school way: take a large sheet of paper and organize all facts and explanations. Use pictures, note-cards, and other symbols you can think of. Group similar items together and connect them with colorful pens.

Some tips mind-mapping here: How to Mind Map: Visualize Your Cluttered Thoughts in 3 Simple Steps

Of course, you can also use an online mind mapping tool if you want to save yourself some time.

8. Experiment with Memorization Methods

Memorizing is often misused in the process of studying. Some people memorize whole sentences, paragraphs and lectures without grasping their essence.

However, memorization can be useful when you need to learn definitions and classifications really quickly. Don’t avoid this technique if you want to fill your brain with information without wasting any time.

Try this if you want to memorize more and faster: How to Memorize More and Faster Than Other People

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9. Find the Right Context

Memorization works solely in times of urgency. If you want to learn in the most effective manner, then you need to have context for information.

Find an aspect that’s interesting for you; try to research for related information, and you’ll discover the joy of learning.

The first step? Jot down as much information and as many ideas as possible: How Simply Jotting Down Ideas Can Make You Smarter

With time, this practice will make you a faster learner.

10. Study Every Day

It will take some time before you get used to a daily studying routine, but your mind will eventually grasp the habit.

The more frequently you study, the less time it will take for you to remember the things you read.

If you start studying as soon as possible after you have learned some new concepts, it won’t take long at all for you to get ready for an exam. Now that sounds really good, doesn’t it?

More to Help You Learn Quicker

Featured photo credit: Becca Tapert via unsplash.com

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