Procrastination – Getting out of your own way
Procrastination is a global pandemic, and we all know it!!
Hey there, my fellow timewasters! Are you tired of feeling like you’re always busy but never actually getting anything done? Well, fear not, because I’ve got some tips for you! Let’s get started.
5 of the Biggest Timewasters of Your Day
Even if you’re more dedicated and organised than most, I bet you still waste time. Whether you work from home or in the office, all of us are guilty of getting distracted and losing focus. It may not be deliberate, and you probably don’t realise you’re doing it until it’s too late.
Here are five ways you waste time every day. See if you can relate.
1. Social Media/Emails/Texts
I know, I know, it’s hard to resist that sweet, sweet ding of a notification. But trust me, your brain will thank you if you limit your scrolling time. So, set aside a specific time to check those updates and turn off those notifications for the love of productivity! Yes, it’s become a vital part of our lives. But the world won’t stop turning if you don’t look at your social media for 15 minutes.
Picture this scenario: you’re in the middle of work when your phone beeps. You reach for your phone to see your incoming message. So, you go from message to email to Facebook to Instagram. Then, when you’re done, you notice that 20 minutes have passed. Procrastination wins again!
Research shows that each time you get distracted, even for a couple of minutes, your brain needs more than 20 minutes to refocus. So imagine how much wasted time that amounts to at the end of the day!
The Fix: Avoid randomly checking social media, emails, or texts. Instead, set up a time during your day to do just that. In the meantime, turn off any notifications or mute your phone.
2. Organising and Preparing
You’re probably wondering: how is this a timewaster? But too often, we fall down the rabbit hole of ‘organising’ our day. Sometimes, we take so long that we run out of time to do anything on our list.
Yes, planning your day is important, but don’t get lost in the weeds of colour coding and bullet journaling. Instead, keep it simple with an online planner and to-do list. And pick a day to plan out your entire week, so you can avoid getting sidetracked by the little stuff.
The Fix: Find an online planner and to-do list. Then, pick one day out of the week when you plan out seven days in advance: schedule work-related projects, meetings, and deadlines. You can also include a workout schedule and get-togethers with friends.
Multitasking: another thing that we do to trick ourselves into believing we’re being productive. Yet, the sad truth is, multitasking wastes a ton of time.
It’s counter-productive when your attention is divided among several tasks at once. In other words, it’s just another form of distraction that leads to procrastination again.
Also, your goals might feel too big, so you put the lid back on that baby and go to three other things. Try breaking your goals into smaller, manageable tasks, and create a schedule for completing them. Just put all your attention and focus on one task at a time. Then, when you’re done, move on to the next task, and so on.
The Fix: It’s simple. Just put all your attention and focus on one task at a time. Then, when you’re done, move on to the next task, and so on. As a convicted multitasker with strong avoidance tendencies, I can assure you that it takes determination at first to do this. Still, it is possible, and you feel much more accomplished when you make a list and tick it off instead of going from thing to thing to thing and back again.
4. Checking the News
It’s a black hole of headlines and clickbait. Of course, we all want to stay informed, but we don’t need to check the news every five minutes.
In this day and age, it seems something is happening in the news every five minutes. So, it’s easy to use the news as an excuse for procrastination. After all, we all want to be in the loop regarding politics, sports, and local news. The Fix: Force yourself to stay away from checking news updates every half hour. You can use sheer self-discipline, or you can use a site blocker. One great example is the Stay Focused Chrome app. It helps you ‘hide’ certain websites for, say, 45 minutes. Then, tell the app you want to spend 20 minutes on the so-and-so website. After 20 minutes, the app will block you until your next break.
Use a site blocker to limit your time on news websites and save yourself from falling into the abyss of breaking news. In this day and age, it seems something is happening in the news every five minutes. So, it’s easy to use the news as an excuse for procrastination. After all, we all want to be in the loop regarding politics, sports, and local news.
Force yourself to stay away from checking news updates every half hour. You can use sheer self-discipline, or you can use a site blocker.
One great example is the Stay Focused Chrome app. It helps you ‘hide’ certain websites for, say, 45 minutes. Then, tell the app you want to spend 20 minutes on the so-and-so website. After 20 minutes, the app will block you until your next break.
4. Errands and Chores
Ah, the never-ending list of adult responsibilities. But don’t let them take over your workday! The problem isn’t with the errands or chores themselves; it’s when you do them. Running errands during rush hour is one of the biggest timewasters ever! Doing chores is another. You might be sitting at your desk, working away, when you notice a dusty shelf or a cluttered drawer. So, you do the responsible thing and start dusting and decluttering. You tell yourself that it’ll only take five minutes. But then, when you’re done cleaning the entire room/office, the day is over! And you still haven’t finished what you’re initially working on.
Plan your errands for light traffic, and shop during off-peak hours. Designate one or two days a week for cleaning and decluttering so you don’t get sucked into a full-on house overhaul in the middle of your workday. The problem isn’t with the errands or chores themselves; it’s when you do them. Running errands during rush hour is one of the biggest timewasters ever!
The Fix: Plan your errands when you know there’ll be less traffic. Also, try to do your shopping when you know the stores won’t be as crowded and they’re outside peak hours.
As for chores, set up one or two days during the week when you dust, clean, and declutter. This way, even if you see what catches your attention, you can push back in your mind and wait until ‘chore day’ rolls around.
Now that you know how to be more productive, let’s talk about some of the benefits of being effective:
More Time for Fun
When you’re more productive, you’ll have more time for the things you love. Whether it’s spending time with family and friends, pursuing hobbies, or simply relaxing, being productive means getting everything done and still having time left over for the things that matter most.
You’ll feel less stressed when you’re not constantly rushing to meet deadlines and complete tasks. Being productive means you can work more flexibly, and you won’t have to worry about falling behind.
When you’re more productive, you’re more likely to succeed personally and professionally. This is because you’ll be able to easily take on more responsibilities and complete them all. Another benefit of being more productive is that it can lead to increased job satisfaction and career advancement. When you can accomplish more in less time, you can take on more challenging projects and responsibilities. This can lead to recognition from your employer, which can ultimately result in a promotion or raise.
Moreover, when you are productive, you are less likely to procrastinate. Procrastination can lead to a vicious cycle of stress, anxiety, and poor performance. By being more effective, you can break this cycle and reduce stress.
A Final Note
We all get the same amount of time each day: 86,2400 seconds, 1,440 minutes, or 24 hours. It’s up to you to determine how you will spend that time. Sadly, many of us spend our days doing things that don’t add value to our lives—or anyone else’s, for that matter.
The good news is that you can train yourself to focus more and have fewer distractions. Make a conscious effort to add purpose and value to your life and follow through. You’ll soon notice you’re getting more done during your day than ever before!