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That’s OK If You Are A Procrastinator…Some Last-Minute Hacks For You

That’s OK If You Are A Procrastinator…Some Last-Minute Hacks For You

Procrastination can be a real pain in the rear end. It feels good blowing things off because that usually means we got to what we want to do instead of what we have to do, but there are some drawbacks to all that too. Working in a frenzy isn’t good for your stress levels or your blood pressure. Sometimes it does happen so let’s take a look at some productivity hacks to help you get your work done at the last minute.

1. Cut out all distractions

When you’re coming down to the wire the last thing you need is a distraction. Every time you return a text message or stop for a moment to sing a song, that’s time you could have been spending working. Put your cell phone on vibrate, put it where you can’t see it, and focus on your work. If you’re at home studying for a big test, don’t put Netflix on because you’ll probably just end up watching that. If you must have music, try something without words like techno or classical because they can keep you motivated without stopping to make you listen to any lyrics. Distractions cost you time and if there’s one thing procrastinators can’t be wasting when a deadline is looming, it’s time.

2. Make a quick plan to tackle your work

productivity hacks

    One of the biggest mistakes procrastinators make is to just jump into a pile of work without thinking about it. We recommend that you stop and think about it for a minute. It’s very likely that whatever it is you’re doing can be broken down into smaller tasks that are easier to handle. By breaking down your task into smaller tasks, you give yourself focus and a tried and true way to estimate your progress. Do yourself a favor, take five minutes to sit down and look at everything you have to do, and then tackle them in a manner that makes sense instead of just throwing yourself at your work.

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    3. Take it easy and start out slow

    Doing last minute work is like running a mile. If you start running at a dead sprint, you’re going to wind up running out of steam more quickly. Start with something easy to get your mind and body prepared for the harder parts. You’ll find yourself in the zone eventually and then the harder stuff that takes longer will be something you’re prepared mentally to tackle.

    4. Don’t expect any miracles

    productivity hacks

      IF you’re coming down to the wire to get your job done then you’re not going to be producing your best work ever. Especially if it’s a difficult project. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to put out good work but it does mean that you should be prepared to make concessions when something takes too much time. If you’re doing a presentation and you had a really fun animation you wanted to do for a PowerPoint slide, you may need to let that go and focus on getting work done.

      5. Consume sustenance

      Food and drinks provide us with energy. When you’re meeting a deadline you’re going to need all the energy you can get. When you go to your desk to start working on that deadline project, take something to eat and drink with you. The added energy will help improve your performance and chances of getting a good project done on time.

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      6. Just get started

      productivity hacks

        Earlier we talked about making a plan and breaking your project into smaller chunks. It doesn’t really matter which chunk you start with first. The important thing is that you get started immediately. We also recommended tackling the easier chunks first which is still a good idea. However, if you find yourself just not getting the ball rolling, we recommend you pick a chunk, sit down, and do it. At the end of the day, the important thing is that you sit down and get into that mindset that you need to do work and if you need to start on a harder chunk to get that accomplished, then do it.

        7. Up the ante

        One of the reasons we procrastinate is because we simply don’t care about the end result. It could be a presentation at the office or that term paper in that class you never wanted to take anyway. To get around not caring about something, try thinking about it a different way to increase its importance. If you don’t get that term paper done, you’ll have to take the class all over again and do the term paper again anyway. If you don’t knock that sales report out of the ballpark, you may be demoted or fired. If you have to do something, you might as well do it right because it could affect things you have to do in the future. Doing something over again because you didn’t do it the first time is not a pleasant feeling.

        8. Identify when you’re just making excuses

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        producitivyt hacks

          This is the gateway to procrastination. You look at something and think of all the ways you can get it done later and not right now. If you can identify those excuses then it makes them harder to ignore. You may not feel well that day or you may want to watch the latest blockbuster in theaters with your friends. It’s something that doesn’t sound like an excuse but it really is. People work when they don’t feel well all the time and blockbuster movies are in theaters for more than one day. Netflix can wait, go get your work done!

          9. Don’t think in the abstract

          The difference between abstract and concrete is something you ought to know. When you think abstractly, you would say something like “I should write my term paper about the Civil War.” It’s okay to think abstract when you’re first starting out but if you procrastinated then you’re well beyond the starting point. You need to think more concrete. Woody Allen once said that, “80% of success is showing up.” If you don’t show up and put some concrete ideas down on paper (so to speak), then you’re not going to get any work done and you’re going to stress yourself out more.

          10. Don’t over-think it

          I am personally guilty of this all the time. I will sit and stare at a completed article for 25 minutes just because I’m not sure if it’s how I wanted it to be written. Meanwhile, my next article is 25 minutes closer to deadline. Don’t over-think things. Obviously if you spot a mistake or an error you should fix it but don’t over-analyze every little thing. That takes too long and you’ll begin to doubt yourself. Not everything has to be perfect all the time. In most cases, it just needs to be passable. You don’t graduate college by getting an A, you graduate by passing the classes. Remember that the goalposts aren’t set all that high and while you should try to do your best, you do not have to be flawless every time. Unless you’re a surgeon. Then you should probably aim for perfection every time.

          11. Forgive yourself

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          productivity hacks

            You may be sitting at your desk beating yourself up for letting this project of yours get this far out of control. Stop. It happens to everyone and you’re wasting valuable time, energy, and focus berating yourself. Everybody screws up. That’s why we have editors. Your job now is not to hate yourself but to fix the problem. So you should acknowledge that you messed up, forgive yourself, and get back to this business of living. You’ll save a lot of time and stress when you focus on the work instead of focusing on how you waited a week to start on the work.

            Really the bottom line to procrastination is to not panic. The work is going to get done one way or another and you owe it to yourself to not let things get in the way. The very first item on this list is to avoid all distractions and really the other ten points are just other (more abstract) ways you can get distracted. Bottom line: sit down, get it done. That’s all you really need to do.

            Featured photo credit: WhyAmILazy.com via whyamilazy.com

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            Joseph Hindy

            A writer, editor, and YouTuber who likes to share about technology and lifestyle tips.

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            Last Updated on July 13, 2020

            How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

            How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

            Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

            If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

            1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

            The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

            Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

            For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

            The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

            2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

            Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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            As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

            Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

            3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

            Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

              This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

              We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

              Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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              When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

              Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

              4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

              Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

              For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

              Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

              5. Make Decisions

              For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

              If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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              If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

              Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

              I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

              This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

              The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

              6. Take Some Form of Action

              Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

              The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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              It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

              Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

              The Bottom Line

              Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

              When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

              More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

              Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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