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15 Productivity Hacks For Procrastinators

15 Productivity Hacks For Procrastinators

There are more than six billion people in this world and I am willing to bet that the majority of us are probably procrastinators. It is just an easy habit to fall into. Think of procrastination as if it were like quick sand. It is easy to stumble and sink into and hard to get out of. Not to worry though, here are some tips that can help pull you out of the procrastination pit.

1.Set an abundant amount of alarms.

As a procrastinator, you all know the feeling of waiting until about fifteen minutes passed your alarm to actually get up. Set several alarms to force you out of bed and to give you time to transition from morning yawns and sighs to being ready for a new day. Also, make hitting the snooze alarm harder to hit to make you get out of bed with each alarm.

2.Write things down!

It is best to start out with a dry erase calendar to remind you of what you are needing to do. Big bright letters or bold black letters are going to be best to make sure it catches your eye when you walk by. Keep it up there and cross it out as you complete the tasks you must finish.

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3.Set things out.

To save you some time, try setting the things you need the night before, as oppose to the day of. It gives you time to start your day off right instead of frantically searching for something in the morning and pushing everything on your schedule forward.

4.Minimize distractions.

Having the TV on while you clean, or while you are doing homework works for a few people, but more than likely it takes more time. If you’re like me, you probably stop a few minutes here and there to actually watch what is going on the screen rather than working on an assignment due in a few days. Try putting music on if you need white noise in the background and place it further from you. This will help keep the procrastinator in you from grabbing your phone to “change the song” and ending up on facebook.

5.Reward yourself.

Remember when you were a child and your parents rewarded you for doing simple things every once in a while? Remember how excited you got? It helps out to reward yourself after completing that paper that was due or cleaning your house. Set aside a DVD or a slice of chocolate cake for you to enjoy after your tasks are completed. It works! Trust me!

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6.Set time aside to do activities you do when procrastinating.

It is important to set time aside for mindless news feed scrolling, game playing, and sleeping. Even though we are super humans, our brains need rest every once in a while. Set time aside to just lay around. Set a timer and give yourself about fifteen minutes

7.Snack on food that gives you energy.

Stay away from heavy snacks that make you sleepy and lazy. Grab an apple or an orange and enjoy mother nature’s pick me up. You will feel better and your body will be more energized to get tasks done.

8.Minimize your To-Do list.

Instead of trying to accomplish a huge goal all at once, break it down into little goals. For example, instead of trying to re-arrange and clean the whole house by next Tuesday, break it down by room each day. Clean the kitchen one day, the living room the next day, etc. It will give you a list that will seem do-able and not so overwhelming.

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9.In your office/study area/ work area set the clock 10 minutes fast.

This is for the ones that like to wait until last minute to start making dinner or getting ready. It won’t give you too much time, but it will at least give you a head start on things.

10.Get up earlier.

There are a lot of people that get more done in their day than I do in mine. If you think you are not going to have time in a day to get everything done, set your alarm to wake up earlier. You will give yourself an extra two to three hours that you usually don’t have to finish all that needs to be done.

11.Take breaks.

It is important to give your brain a break when trying to finish something like a paper or a take home test. Take ten minutes here and there between each hour to stand outside or grab a snack.

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12.Don’t sit down right after work.

We are all guilty of it and we all can’t deny that we do this. Sitting down after work when there is a lot to be done is a huge mistake for us procrastinators. We sit down and everything we needed to do is either out the window or an extreme inconvenience from then on to finish. Our bodies get comfortable, and our brain starts to shut down.

13.Have an organized friend be your mentor.

Ever heard of “if you lie down with dogs, you get fleas?” It is usually used when someone is hanging around bad company, but it also works on the opposite side of the spectrum too. If you hang out with someone who is organized, does everything in a timely manner, you will slowly start to as well. It can go either way though, so make sure you chose wisely.

14. Use Post-It Notes

When you don’t see the dry erase board telling you what to do, place post-it notes on the things you do walk by daily. On the fridge would be an ideal spot and it would be perfect to remind you to have a healthy snack before your meeting in an hour. It will also remind you to do little things like “finish cleaning the guest room” so you can check it off the list.

15. Accept it.

On the days you find yourself still in bed binge watching Netflix just remember, you are not perfect and neither is anyone else. Sometimes we need those kind of days. The keyword being sometimes.If all else fails, accept it. Accept it and get help. Remember, it takes two weeks for something to turn into habit and a month for something to be a regular routine.

Featured photo credit: Gradeeation- Andrea Van Orsouw via flickr.com

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Margielyn Musser

Event And Volunteer Coordinator / World Traveler

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Last Updated on September 11, 2019

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides “I love you” is “I don’t have time”. Everyone suggests working from a to-do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

Let’s say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a to-do list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

To-do lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. It’s the same with to-do lists—you can put one together, but if you don’t do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

Why Some People Find That General To-Do Lists Don’t Work?

Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:

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  • They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do.
  • They don’t know how to prioritize the items on list.
  • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it.
  • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks.

Benefits of Using a To-Do List

However, there are many advantages working from a to-do list:

  • You have clarity on what you need to get done.
  • You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind.
  • It helps you to prioritize your actions.
  • You don’t overlook so many tasks and forget anything.
  • You feel more organized.
  • It helps you with planning.

4 Golden Rules to Make a To-Do List Work

Here are my golden rules for making a “to-do” list work:

1. Categorize

Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down.[1] For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

It might work well for you to have a “project” list, a “follow-up” list, and a “don’t forget” list; you will know what will work best for you, as these titles will be different for everybody.

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2. Add Estimations

You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively.

Imagine on your list you have one task that will take 30 minutes, another that could take 1 hour, and another that could take 4 hours. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning, so add an extra column to your list and include your estimation of how long you think the task will take, and be realistic!

Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

3. Prioritize

To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. Add another column to your list for priority. Divide your tasks into four categories:

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  • Important and urgent
  • Not urgent but important
  • Not important but urgent
  • Not important or urgent

You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Why? Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals, and when you only work on tasks that are urgent and important, you’ll feel like your day is spent putting out fires. You’ll end up neglecting other important areas which most often end up having negative consequences.

Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.

4.  Review

To make this list work effectively for you, it needs to become a daily tool that you use to manage your time and you review it regularly. There is no point in only having the list to record everything that you need to do, but you don’t utilize it as part of your bigger time management plan.

For example: At the end of every week, review the list and use it to plan the week ahead. Select what you want to work on taking into consideration priority, time and sequence and then schedule these items into your calendar. Golden rule in planning: don’t schedule more than 75% of your time.

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Bottom Line

So grab a pen and paper and give yourself the gift of a calm and clear mind by unloading everything in there and onto a list as now, you have all the tools you need for it to work. Knowledge is useless unless it is applied—how badly do you want more time?

To your success!

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Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

Reference

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