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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
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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 21, 2021

            The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

            The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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            No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

            Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

            Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

            A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

            Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

            In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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            From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

            A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

            For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

            This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

            The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

            That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

            Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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            The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

            Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

            But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

            The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

            The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

            A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

            For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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            But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

            If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

            For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

            These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

            For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

            How to Make a Reminder Works for You

            Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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            Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

            Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

            My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

            Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

            I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

            More on Building Habits

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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            Reference

            [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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