The art of avoiding procrastination

The definition of procrastination is to put off till another day or time; defer; delay. To put off tasks until the last minute. Even if you know there will be consequences for doing so.

Does this sound like something you do or have done in the past? I know this is me. I am constantly leaving things to the last minute.

At the end of the day when I have achieved nothing at all. I am always left scratching my head. Asking myself, why did this happen? And thinking, everyone else gets things done, they have more time it’s not fair! Does this all sound familiar?

At the end of the day, I have the exact same 24 hours in a day than the next person. It is just how I am utilising my time which is hindering me.

As C.L. Murphy said – “24 hours in a day. No more no less. that’s all I have to work with. “

Biggest time-wasting habits

Social Media –

Down the rabbit hole. This is what we call it in our house. I have lost count how many times I have picked up my phone to check something and then all of a sudden I am on social media. From here it is mindless hours down the rabbit hole.

I get it, it is so easy to do and half the time it is even without you even realising.

Watching TV-

Have you ever sat down on the couch to watch one episode of your favourite show, and soon you have watched the entire season?

I have wasted so many hours in my days from just binge-watching shows. I would do the school run in the morning and then come home, make a cup of coffee and watch an episode of something. Only thing was that I would finish my coffee but keep on watching.

I very soon realised that this morning routine was stealing hours away from my day.

Not having a plan for your day-

When I physically go into work, my days are planned. I know what time I start, my break times and the end of my day.

It’s my home days, where I notice if I do not have a plan for my day, I am more likely to spend my time doing unproductive things. If there is no plan, I sleep in later and tend to not start getting anything done until at least after lunch.

Prioritising the wrong things –

This really does tie in with not having a plan for the day. If you are unsure of your plan/goals are for the day, you may find that you will use your energy and time towards things that aren’t so important.

For example, there are some things that might need to be done on that day, and some things that need to be done but not as urgent. If you focus on the latter, you might run out of time to do that one thing that needed to be done on that day.

Clutter –

Anyone else go to do a task but become side-tracked by the clutter? I have lost count how many times I have sat down to catch up on work but soon become distracted by the clutter.

Along with the distraction that clutter brings. You also waste a lot of time looking for misplaced items amongst the clutter. You know those mornings when you need to get going and you can’t find your keys? Or when you need a pen or that one piece of paper?

If everything has its place you can reclaim some time in your day. Every minute really can count.

Multi-tasking –

To be honest, multi-tasking is overrated and exhausting and can be one of the biggest wastes of time.

When your multi-tasking you are doing lots at the same time. So, when you are working on something, your mind needs to focus on that task. But when you’re moving back and forth from task to task, you’re not really focussing 100% on each task.

While you may think you are saving time, in actual fact you are wasting your time. It can take on average 15 minutes for your brain to actually become fully focused on the task at hand.

I’ve tried to be a pro at multi-tasking only to find that I end up with ridiculous number of half-finished tasks.

Changes you can make to be more productive each day

Plan out your day –

Start each day with a plan of what you need to achieve in your day.

I plan out my entire day the day before. In fact, one of the items on my to do list is to write a to do list.

It doesn’t have to look pretty or fancy. In fact, I honestly just use numbers on my phone. Once I have completed a task, I just delete it from my list. Nothing more satisfying then seeing your to do list disappearing.

You have the power to schedule as much or as little as needed. It is your time after all. My weekends for example I really want to focus on spending time as a family. My weekend to do lists are very minimal. I do not set times but just what tasks I need to have done by the end of the weekend.

Example of my daily schedule

Schedule time for TV-

Setting a block of time for watching TV. By setting a time to watch TV you know when to turn off.

I knew I needed to break the habit of having my morning coffee and watching TV. Because I would sit far longer than I needed to. Then once I realised how long I had been watching TV, I would panic and try to rush through my to do list.

Schedule time for social media

Very similar to the above point.

Schedule time in your day to check your social media accounts. Even if notifications pop us resist the urge to check them then and there. Instead wait until you have scheduled a break and check them out then.

Alternatively, you can remove the temptation by going into your settings and disable the notifications

If the temptation still arises there are some really great apps out there which can help.

  • Flora – Green Focus
  • Flipd
  • AppBlock
  • OFFTIME

Reflect –

There are times that procrastination really takes a hold on me. I look at a task on my to do list and I just don’t do it. I keep delaying it and finding something else to do instead.

When these moments hit, I now stop and reflect. I look at whatever task it is that I am struggling with to see why I am putting it off.

Is it because you need more information? There is something you don’t understand. Is the task too big and therefor too daunting?

Sometimes when you know why you are putting it off, it can help you to figure out a way forward.

Prioritise

When it comes to keeping on task it helps to schedule in your priorities. Priortise your tasks in the day by those that need to be done over those that can be done the following day.

Another one is to ensure you are also prioritise putting yourself first so you can achieve your goals. You don’t always need to say yes. This is one lesson I have learned the hard way in my journey to finding a balance in my world.

Remove distractions

Try to keep focused and complete one task before you move onto the next.

I know easier said than done sometimes. But if you remove distractions this makes it easier for you to succeed at finishing the task at hand.

Try removing your phone out of sight and setting a time to check your emails, where you will have time to respond to any if needed.

Take breaks -.

When I plan my day, I always ensure I have some down time. Even if it is only half an hour between tasks to stop and breathe. In fact, I stopped to spend some time in my garden before coming back to proof this post!

Believe it or not but actually taking a break will increase productivity. It helps to restore your motivation.

What tips do you have to help keep on task?

Until next time

Maggie x

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