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Time and Procrastination: Using Technology To Become Efficient With Your Time

Time and Procrastination: Using Technology To Become Efficient With Your Time

Ever since I started school I have had to battle my procrastination. Sometimes it almost feels like a disease; one that is treatable at times, but just seems to never go away. Because of my bad procrastination, I adopted systems like GTD,  a calendar and scheduled and time-blocked everything,  reminders of important tasks and due dates “dinging” from everywhere. What I found is that unless I am on top of my game and choosing to “be productive”, I easily fall back into the pit of procrastination, where time is never “of the essence”.

Objective and subjective time

I’ve read quite a few books and essays on the psychological effects and reasons of procrastination. Something interesting that has stuck with me is in the book Procrastination by Jane B. Burka (not an affiliate link) having to do with the way that “procrastinators” perceive and interact with time. According to Burka there are two ways that we deal with and understand time: objectively and subjectively. Objective time is “measured by clock and calendar” and is predictable where as subjective time is measured by our own personal understanding and is outside of clock time.

As you can see, if your personal subjective time isn’t lining up with the world’s objective time you can have some serious issues, especially since your boss, your professors, and your spouse tend to base everything off of objective time.

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I have this problem with objective time and after reading through Procrastination I decided to break myself of it by employing some different techniques when it came to my “time management skills” or lack thereof.

Track, track, track

    Some bright person once said, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” and that holds completely true with managing your time. The first thing that I had to do to understand how I use my time was track almost everything. For instance, I found myself being late in the mornings for work and always blamed it on something external; like the winter weather, traffic, how long it took to get gas in the morning etc. It wasn’t until I started tracking how long it actually took me to take a shower and get out of the house did I understand that I needed to get up about 20 minutes earlier. It sounds stupid, I know, but to someone who thinks they understand time and where it goes, it takes the detail of tracking the real world to understand it.

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    You can track your time many different ways but some of the best apps that I have found for Android and iPhone are great when you are on the run and need to get a quick statistic to use for planning. There are a ton of options on both platforms but in the free category I would go with Eternity Time Lite and aTimeLogger for iPhone and Time Recording – Timesheet App and Track Task Time for Android. All of these offer the user the ability to track multiple activities, create their own categories, and gives them reports and statistics they can use to help understand just where there time goes.

    You can also track your time use on your PC or Mac with RescueTime. RescueTime basically tracks what applications you are spending your time with and can give you a realistic view of where your computer time is going.

    Starting now and time blocking

    One of the most elusive ways that procrastinators abuse time and do not sync their subjective time with objective time is underestimating how long a task will take to complete. I’ve been told my many former and current software project managers that when they ask a software developer how long it will take to get something done they usually multiply their answer by two or three to set realistic expectations. Many of us are confident (sometimes overconfident) and do not set realistic time constants on ourselves.

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      This is where starting a task or project immediately and then time blocking the rest of it is a great way to balance time. The idea is simple, when given a task or project to complete,  jump in and start working on it for at least 25 minutes. This allows you to understand how big the task or project is which allows you to make realistic predictions of how long it will take to complete. This is syncing your subjective time with objective time. After this you can time block the project.

      Time blocking, the idea of blocking out a certain amount of time on your calendar for a task or project, has been around forever and works well if you have a realistic view of how long something will take to complete. After starting your task or project, take out your favorite calendar app and start “blocking” out time in your schedule to complete the task. Usually, if I think something is going to take 2 hours to complete, I block out about 2.5 total hours. This gives me some starting and stopping leeway. I also suggest only blocking out 50 minutes at a time to prevent burning yourself out. It seems that 50 minutes of work and 10 minutes of rest/play when you are in a working period is ideal.

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      When it comes to generic timers for PC or Mac I highly recommend FocusBooster. It’s an Adobe Air application that lends itself to the Pomodoro technique of task timing, but you can use it for setting your working time on a task or project. For calendaring, I have to admit that I solely use Google Calendar for all my calendaring needs as it is everywhere I go and I can sync it to just about any device I want to. That isn’t to say there aren’t a bunch of good calendaring options out there, it’s just that Google Calendar has met all of my needs thus far.

      Conclusion

      Having an understanding of how to sync your subjective time and the world’s objective time can save you a ton of pain in your personal and professional life. But, if you are anything like me you will need a some help along the way to understand where the objective time goes. Hopefully if you understand the difference between your “inner clock” and the real world, track how long it takes you to accomplish tasks, and think more realistically about how long it take to accomplish something and schedule accordingly, you can say goodbye to procrastinating your time away.

      More by this author

      CM Smith

      A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

      5 Project Management Tools to Get Your Team on Track To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System How to Beat Procrastination: 29 Simple Tweaks to Make Design Is Important: How To Fail At Blogging 7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively 6 Unexpected Ways Journaling Every Day Will Make Your Life Better

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      1 How to Be Confident: 51 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence 2 How to Become an Early Riser and Stay Energetic 3 How To Study Effectively: 7 Simple Tips 4 7 Helpful Reminders When You Want to Make Big Life Changes 5 Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes & How to Tackle Them

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      Last Updated on October 14, 2020

      How to Be Confident: 51 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence

      How to Be Confident: 51 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence

      When you learn how to be confident, you can use it in your everyday life to tackle all of your goals and challenges. However, not many people realize that learning how to gain self-confidence is like building a muscle—it grows in response to the level of performance required of it.

      Here I will give you 51 proven ways to overcome a lack of self-confidence and achieve more.

      1. Learn Something New

      Sign up for that evening class and enjoy it. Alternatively, read a book (or take an online course) on a topic you’ve always wanted to learn more about.

      Learning new things stretches your abilities, keeps your mind active, and most definitely improves your confidence in your ability to do new things.

      2. Ask Your Partner or a Friend What You Can Do For Them

      This can be something as easy as helping them with a chore they don’t like or have little time for. Through helping them, you’ll find that you feel better about yourself.

      3. Hit the Gym

      The physiological effects of going to the gym will leave you feeling great.

      Countless studies have shown that regular workouts at the gym can boost not only your sense of well-being, but can increase your self-esteem, too[1].

      4. Go to a Networking Event

      Rather than being nervous about your own stuff, focus on how to help others. Instead of going along with the aim of trying to sell yourself to others, why not change your approach and simply go along to see how you can help the people you meet?

      By doing this, you’ll come across as calm, confident, and someone that people will want to turn to again and again.

      5. Get Clear on the Things That Matter to You

      If these things are not in your life, you’ll need to bring them in.

      For example, if your daily work routine is currently as dull as dishwater—but you’d like it to be fun—then do something about it. Turn data entry into personal speed contests, paper filing into “screen-free” time, and interactions with your colleagues into enjoyable conversations.

      6. Remove Negativity From Your Life

      Write a list of the things you’re tolerating and putting up with in your life, then write down how you can remove, minimize, or diminish each one.

      I personally like to do this with pen and paper as it feels just a little more real and definite than on screen. It’s also a good idea to put the priority items at the top of your list, so you can begin resolving these first.

      7. Celebrate Your Big and Small Wins

      Look at the big or small goals you’ve completed, and give yourself credit for your part in it.

      Recognizing your achievements is not egotistical, it’s healthy.

      8. Converse With New People

      Go and have a conversation with someone you don’t know. By doing this, you may be pleasantly surprised by what—or who—you’ll discover.

      You can also extend this trait by breaking outside of your normal social situations at your workplace. This will do wonders when learning how to be confident.

      9. Do Something You Would Normally Say No to

      Next time you talk yourself out of doing something (a party invite, a challenging project, etc.), go and do it anyway. This is a great way to boost personal development.

      10. Do One Thing Each Day That Makes You Smile

      This could be something as simple as sending a thank you email to a colleague that has been helpful to you, or leaving a surprise present for your partner that they’ll discover when they wake up.

      Life shouldn’t be drudgery, and we all need to make the effort to keep it light, loving, and fun.

      11. Give Yourself Good Advice

      Look for the patterns of thought that take you to a place where you start second-guessing or overthinking.

      Now imagine that your best friend went through exactly the same thought process and ended up holding themselves back—what would you want to say to them?

      This is known as Soloman’s Paradox—we’re often quite good at solving others’ problems but not our own. Challenge this and take your own good advice next time[2].

      12. Ask Someone on a Date

      If you’re single and have met someone that you’re definitely attracted to—go ahead and ask them out.

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      Even if they turn you down, it will help you learn how to be confident through the fact that you were decisive and made an effort. What’s the best thing that could happen? They might just say yes!

      13. Write Down 20 Things That Make You Feel Good

      Think of this as a gratitude list. Typical things you might include are: your partner, your kids, your parents, your pets, etc.

      I recommend writing this list at least once a month. And most importantly—make sure you’re giving the 20 things plenty of room in your life.

      14. Stop Playing Different Roles

      Stop playing different roles and squeezing yourself into boxes based on what you think people expect of you.

      Be your authentic self, the one who knows what to do and loves what they do. It’s easy to find this part of yourself as it’s inherent in your hobbies and your close friendships.

      If you can bring this authenticity into your work life, you’ll be surprised at how positively others will react to you.

      15. Cultivate a Positive Mindset

      Learn to catch yourself every time you tell yourself that you can’t have, won’t get, or aren’t good enough to get what you want[3].

      Talk yourself up when learning how to be confident.

        Instead, tell yourself that you can have, will get, and are good enough to get what you want. Mindset is everything. Make sure yours is positive and dynamic.

        16. Take Yourself off Auto-Pilot

        Make deliberate decisions on what really matters to you.

        For instance, if you normally work 9 to 5 but find yourself spending hours getting to and from work, why not negotiate with your boss to mix your hours up a bit?

        You might also suggest a day or two working from home. Sell this to your boss by reminding them that the time and stress lost to commuting can be neatly transferred to productive work hours.

        17. Listen Carefully to What You Tell Yourself

        Next time you come up against a risk or a challenge, listen to what you tell yourself, and look for a way to improve your inner dialogue.

        If you normally find that your inner dialogue is negative, then break out of this by asking yourself questions such as:

        • What would make this easier?
        • Is there a different way of doing this?
        • Could research help?

        18. Laugh at Yourself

        Scared of looking silly? It’s no biggie, so don’t let it stop you.

        Whenever we try something new, there’s a fair chance that we’ll make fools of ourselves. But you’d be a bigger fool to let that stop you. Instead, laugh at your baby steps and watch your confidence soar as you begin to master your chosen activity.

        19. Listen to Your Doubts

        Sometimes your doubts are there to let you know what you need to prepare for, so you can use them to your benefit as you move forwards. Other times, they are just doubts.

        The trick is to quickly determine if your doubts have validity. If they do, use them to shape your decisions.

        To illustrate this, imagine that you’ve had an enticing job offer, but you doubt whether you’re capable of doing the job. Spend a little time analyzing your doubts to see whether they reflect reality, or whether they are just negative thoughts that are trying to hold you back.

        20. Recall a Time When You Did a Great Job

        Think of a time when it felt like a whole bank of switches in your head flicked to the on position, and you were firing on all cylinders. What were you doing, and what’s the reason it felt so great? Can you emulate that passion and drive that you had?

        21. Tear up Your Rule Book

        You may not know it, but you’ve almost certainly got a whole bunch of outdated rules that determine what you do and don’t do. These rules limit your thinking and your behavior.

        It’s time to change them. Tear up this subconscious rule book and toss it in the fire. Once you’ve done this, you’ll immediately notice how free you feel to make challenging and exciting decisions.

        22. Ask Yourself What You Have Gained When You Lose

        Do you get annoyed with yourself because you didn’t make the most of something or stepped back from an opportunity?

        Firstly, don’t beat yourself up because that’s just going to make you feel worse. Instead, be brutally honest and ask yourself what you gained from the situation and what you lost out on.

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        Based on this win/lose balance, what’s a different choice you can make next time?

        23. Don’t Let People Put You Down

        If there’s someone in your life who puts you down or makes you feel small, you owe it to yourself to let them know that you expect something different from now on. 

        Trust me, once you’ve told them, they’ll change, and you will, too. Inevitably, you’ll boost both your confidence and happiness by taking control of your life in this way.

        Learn how to get out of toxic relationships in this article.

        24. Reveal a Little Bit of the Real You

        Relationships can be difficult. They can also lose their zest and become stale. If this happens in your relationship, then it’s time to add some magic to the mix.

        Try revealing something interesting about yourself or your past that your partner doesn’t currently know when learning how to be confident. Perhaps you never mentioned to them that you used to play in a rock band—and you still have the recordings to prove it!

        By adding new things to your relationship, you’ll deepen the bond and keep the spark alive.

        25. Be Your Own Hero

        Recognize that you’re more than a match for any situation you might find yourself in—no matter how tough the going gets.

        We all love movies like Die Hard where ordinary people are driven to super-ordinary feats. But here’s the rub: you can be your own action hero.

        Whatever the situation, meet it head on and overcome it. Keep in mind the classic phrase: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

        26. Don’t Give in to the Instant Pay-off

        If I was to offer you $100 now for a day’s work tomorrow or $110 for the same work, but I won’t pay you for a week, which would you choose? Well, I can’t read your mind, but I do know that studies using a similar question to this have found that most people choose the instant, smaller payment over the latter, bigger payment. It seems that we’re hardwired for instant gratification.

        However, if you want to be a success in life, always look at the bigger picture. In the example above, if you could have only waited seven more days, you would have been $10 richer!

        27. Instead of Yelling “I Deserve Better,” Say “I Can Be Better”

        Too often I hear people complaining about their personal circumstances but refusing to do anything about it. Don’t be like them.

        If things aren’t going your way, find solutions and implement them. Your boldness and decisiveness will boost your confidence and help you rapidly climb the ladder of success.

        28. Admit You’re Wrong

        It may not be easy, but you should always be prepared to hold your hands up and change your mind if things are going south. Not every idea you have will be a winning one. The trick is to know when things are clearly not working out.

        You can either attempt to get them back on track or kill them off completely (sometimes that’s the best way).

        29. Trust Your Instincts

        We all have our gut feelings and intuitions, but many people choose to ignore them and rely only on facts, facts, and more facts! While this may work for many scenarios, there will be other times when you’ll need to rely on your instincts.

        30. Imagine Your Confident Future Self

        Imagine you’re visited by a successful, confident, attractive, and vibrant version of you from the future, a version of you who’s everything you hope to be. What do they want to tell you?

        They might praise your efforts, but they may also criticize your lack of planning and weak goals.

        Luckily, if you listen closely to what they tell you, you’ll be able to rapidly shift gears in your life and become the you of the future!

        31. Ask for Help

        This is a common issue. We take on way too many responsibilities and end up either burning ourselves out or just doing a bad job!

        The secret is to put the vast majority of your energy and efforts into what you do well. Give the stuff you don’t do well to others who have a gift for it. Sometimes the most confident and effective thing to do is ask for help.

        32. Be Around People Who Make You Feel Like You

        Do this by spending more time with the people who support and encourage you and less time with those who undermine you.

        At work, don’t be ruined by negative, petty people. Instead, make sure you surround yourself with colleagues who make you laugh and feel good about yourself.

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        33. Participate in the World Around You

        Ask yourself this question: “What can I participate in that’s important to me?”

        Typically, this could be your church, a sports club, or even just a weekly get together with your best friend.

        34. Develop Skills to Work on Things That Matter to You

        What can you practice that would radically improve your chances of winning?

        If you want to climb the corporate ladder, for example, then develop the skills needed to do this. These might include: effective project management skills, powerful presentation abilities, and superb goal setting skills.

        Of course, don’t forget that emulating those who have already achieved your goal is one of the quickest and most reliable ways for you to achieve your aims, too.

        35. Act Until You Make It

        The body is a mirror for the mind, so shifting your body language into a confident state can have surprising results.

        This is all about acting. If you want to come across as tough, act tough. If you want to come across as successful, act successful. And if you want to come across as confident, act confident.

        Try doing these things, and you’ll be amazed by the results.

        36. Push Through When You Want to Give up

        Don’t get disheartened or demotivated when you get to 90% with something you’re working on. Push through, and you’ll see that the last 10% is where the magic happens.

        37. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

        Keep comparing yourself to others? Stop it. If you want to learn how to be confident, don’t try to validate yourself through comparison—you’re just peachy as you are.

        Social media often makes this difficult. Try stepping away from your Facebook page for a few days and reconnect with the great things in your own life.

        You can get started with this guide.

        38. Speak up When You Can Make a Difference

        Speak up if there’s something you think could be improved or if you have an idea you think has legs.

        Have you noticed that quiet people at work rarely get the promotions? It’s not that they are incapable or lacking talent, but their abilities are usually overlooked as they don’t know how to engage with others or how to sell themselves.

        Step out of your comfort zone and be sure that you’re an active player. Speak up in meetings by suggesting ideas and offering constructive criticism.

        39. Stop Struggling and Start Accepting

        If there’s something you’ve been struggling to understand for a while, stop trying to understand it. Accept it just as it is, fully and wholly.

        Life offers endless mysteries. If you try to resolve them all you’ll drive yourself insane. Instead, let some mysteries remain, and keep your mind focused on your goals and dreams.

        40. It’s Okay to Be Shy

        There’s nothing wrong with being shy, and it doesn’t mean you’re not a confident person.

        If you suffer from shyness, you might think it’s a major weakness of yours. However, introverted people have the edge in many ways, such as: they’re first-rate listeners, they have excellent observational skills, and they’re easier to trust[4].

        41. Clean up Your Environment

        Your environment directly impacts your self-perception. So, if you’re surrounded by clutter, paperwork, and rubbish, put a morning aside to clean up your stuff and get organized.

        42. Write a List of Things You Would Love to Do

        Write yourself a list of the amazing things you’d love to do in your life, and make a start by simply looking into the first one or two things that leap out at you. This will help you get started as you learn how to be confident

        Even if you don’t currently have the means to live your dreams, you can, at the very least, make a start. The best way to do this is to write out the things you’d love to do. These may include cool stuff, such as travelling the world, learning a new language, or climbing a mountain.

        Once you’ve added the items to your list, don’t stop there. Begin researching and preparing ways to turn your dreams into realities.

        43. Make Your Self-Worth Independent From Others’ Validation

        Don’t make your happiness or self-worth dependent on being in a relationship or being validated by someone else.

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        While it’s difficult to admit it, we often find ourselves rating our self-esteem by the value other people put on us.

        For instance, you may have a super-positive boss who is always encouraging and supportive. They make you feel upbeat and confident at all times.

        However, imagine if they left and your new boss was the complete opposite. They constantly look for faults in your work and regularly criticize you. Would you still feel confident in those circumstances?

        If you’ve answered no, then you need to reappraise your self-worth, as it shouldn’t be dependent on the validation of others.

        44. Use Your Strengths

        We all have our weaknesses, but they only undermine your confidence if you let them.

        For instance, are you aware that Virgin’s founder Richard Branson suffers from dyslexia? He never let this hold him back or destroy his confidence. Today, he is one of the world’s most successful men, with a net worth of approximately $5 billion[5].

        45. Complete a To-Do List

        The longer you leave that big thing on your to-do list, the more it’ll drain you, and the bigger it’ll seem. Get it done and free yourself up.

        If you have a big goal, break it down into smaller tasks. For instance, instead of trying to write a whole chapter of your book in one go, how about just writing the opening paragraph?

        46. Treat Your Body Well

        When learning how to be confident, our body image does matter, because if you have a bad relationship with your body, you won’t feel confident in yourself.

        What’s one of the first things most of us do when we get up in the morning? We look in the mirror. If we don’t like what we see there, then our day starts off with negative self-talk. If, on the other hand, we look in the mirror and feel proud of our appearance, then we start the day off in an upbeat, positive way.

        If you’re unhappy with your body and looks, do something to improve them. Exercise, diet, and styling are common ways of improving your body image—and your confidence.

        47. Learn to Say No

        Don’t say yes to taking on a task simply because you don’t want to rock the boat. You can politely decline requests you can’t meet without needing to create excuses.

        While saying yes to everything that comes your way might feel like you’re being helpful and in demand, in the long run, you’ll burn yourself out.

        48. Learn From Confident People

        Look at the people you respect who seem confident. Don’t copy them, but identify what it is they do differently that conveys confidence and what you can learn from it.

        People-watching is not only fun, but it can be informative, too. Look closely at successful people you know, or those being interviewed on TV, and over time you’ll begin to notice common traits, beliefs, and behaviors that they exhibit.

        49. Follow Through on Your Plans

        Most people find it easy to write plans. The hard part, of course, is seeing them through. To stand out from the crowd, make sure that you know exactly how to complete your plans.

        If you need to, write down a step-by-step guide and begin following it. Not only will this drive you towards the completion of your plans—but experiencing the progress will also give you a continuous boost to your self-esteem.

        50. Shift Your Focus When You Doubt Yourself

        When you feel yourself focusing inwards and becoming paralyzed with doubt or fear, switch to focusing outwards at what you can engage and interact with.

        I remember one of my writing tutors telling me that when the words stop flowing, it’s time to take a break— preferably a walk in the park. It’s sound advice as it’s very easy to get caught up with our thoughts and emotions and be unable to make progress.

        51. Never Beat Yourself up for Failing

        Life is guaranteed to not always be a barrel of laughs. Instead, it’s much more like a roller coaster. There will be ups and downs, so ride them out.

        The art of living is to know how to handle whatever comes you way. The best way to achieve this is by developing an iron core that is unhindered by the topsy-turvy outside world.

        Final Thoughts

        Here I’ve given you 51 different ways to start building self-confidence Take action on the ways that you’re drawn to.

        It’s not enough to read about them. For them to work, you must adopt them into your daily life. Do this, and you’ll start to feel your confidence soar.

        More on How to Be Confident

        Featured photo credit: Matheus Ferrero via unsplash.com

        Reference

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