Procrastination – It’s the little voice that never goes away. It implores you to check your social media or watch Netflix, rather than doing your homework. There’s always tomorrow, it whispers.
Procrastination is the enemy of success and happiness. You don’t progress towards your career goals. You feel stressed and unable to relax, with unfinished projects and obligations weighing on your mind.
What if you could kick procrastination to the curb? Learn how to be more productive with these six proven techniques, and silence that nagging voice forever.
1. Do that first, tiny step.
The urge to procrastinate is the most urgent when you’re tackling a massive, daunting or unprecedented project. But when you learn how to be more productive, you can trick your brain into thinking the job is easy.
The most achievable way to do this is by breaking your project down into tiny steps. These steps should be so simple you can do them in a few minutes, tasks such as creating a document header, choosing a presentation template, or writing one sentence. Once you get the project going, it’s merely gaining momentum to get closer to the finish line.
2. Create tight deadlines.
Many have discovered that work can be elastic once you set a deadline. It can stretch or shrink, depending on the gap it needs to fill. Tight deadlines turn you into an efficiency machine, increasing productivity to an extent you never thought possible. On the other hand, excessive deadlines can cause you to drag your feet, seemingly never to reach the end of a project.
If you want to learn how to be more productive, enforcing tight deadlines is one of the most effective techniques. Give these due dates higher relevance by sharing the timeline with your boss or client. You won’t procrastinate because it isn’t an option.
3. Get an accountability partner.
It’s hard to hold yourself accountable to fake deadlines, especially if you don’t have a boss or client looking over your shoulder. The solution is finding a long-term accountability partner who can help guide you as you learn how to become more productive.
It could be a workmate, your partner, best friend, or a mentor. Choose someone reliable, honest, and understands the importance of your productivity goals. For the best results, help keep your partner accountable as well because teamwork makes the dream work.
Share your project calendar with them and a list of your weekly goals and schedule updates on your progress. Give your accountability partner permission to criticize and call you out if you’re not sticking to the timeline.
4. Recognize your excuses.
It’s crazy the things we tell ourselves to justify procrastination. Your brain comes up with a million reasons to tell you it’s not the right time to work.
Learn to recognize these thoughts for what they are excuses. It’s your brain telling you to take a micro-break instead of getting stuck into actual work. Recognize these thoughts, acknowledge them, and dismiss them to increase productivity.
5. Use a timer.
Instead of taking breaks randomly, train yourself to work with a Pomodoro timer. Research has shown that our brains are capable of 20-45 minutes of complete focus before our mind begins to wander. Once your attention begins to fail, a short break is welcomed and beneficial.
Pomodoro timers work harmoniously with your brain’s natural attention span. You set the timer for a twenty-five minute work period, followed by a five-minute break. The timer will beep or produce a pop-up notification, keeping you on track.
6. Follow the two-minute rule.
The two-minute rule is one of my favorite personal productivity secrets. It teaches you how to become more productive by working smarter, not harder.
The golden rule is straightforward, and it goes like this – if something takes less than two minutes to do, do it straight away. It could be firing off a quick email, fixing a reporting error, or sending a text. Never delay these small tasks by writing them down or saying you’ll do them tomorrow.
This clearing away of quick projects helps to keep your to-do list free of clutter instead of piling up with small tasks. It leaves space for you to concentrate on more significant projects. It also helps to keep your mind clear, because you don’t have a million little jobs in the back of your mind.
Fairborn Digital Academy presents opportunities for students, both teenagers and adults, to succeed on their path to a diploma. Have questions about getting started? Contact us with questions, to schedule a tour, or discover your path to a successful education.