I truly believe in the power of good habits and that “we are what we repeatedly do”. (Aristotle). But sometimes I’m one of the world’s biggest procrastinators. I find myself distracted with everyday household chores and I can easily get lost in watching Youtube videos or some other tempting TV series.
So I’ve compiled a list of habits to ease the procrastination and increase productivity.
Identify your procrastination source and eliminate any unnecessary distraction.
Turn off your phone, your TV and any other source of distraction. I used to turn on the TV, tell myself that I would watch just 5 minutes of my favorite series and two hours later I was still in front of the TV, the day was gone and I wouldn’t accomplish a thing from my to-do list. So I stopped watching TV and frankly, I don’t even miss it. I also stopped being a slave of my email inbox. I cleaned my inbox by deleting the old emails I didn’t need and I unsubscribed to all one thousand newsletters I never read. Also, I don’t leave my email program open all day, and when I use my computer and work on something, I close down any other tabs in my window.
Get up early.
Waking up early will give you the right mindset to tackle the challenges of the day. Fortunately, I’ve always been a morning person and I like to wake up early even on weekends because I get so much stuff done. I usually go to bed around 10pm – I’ve heard that the sleep before 12 midnight is the most restful because we experience the deepest, most restorative part of the sleep.
Go to bed early so you can get a decent 7-8 hours of sleep. If you are not a morning person, just add small, 15 minutes increments into your alarm. If you normally set your alarm at 6:30, set your alarm tomorrow at 6:15. Don’t try to wake up at 5am if you usually sleep until 8am; you are going to fail miserably!
Robin Sharma has a great video on how to wake up early.
When your surroundings are tidy, your mind is tidy and you are less likely to procrastinate.
Tidy your workspace and make it pleasant by adding some flowers or pictures of people you love. Make your bed, unload the dishwasher, put the things you used or clothes you wore back to their place. Clean more often, daily, for just 15 minutes. You are more likely to focus on your task if you don’t have to worry about the bed, dishwasher or laundry.
Keep lists and go digital.
I like to make daily, weekly, and monthly to-do lists, and also set realistic and flexible deadline for each task. As Robin Sharma said: “Never set a goal without attaching a timeline to it.” For that, I use Google Calendar – it makes it easy to move things around and I love that I can share it with my family. Until I set certain dates for each of my tasks, I didn’t accomplish many of them. Now when I write my to-do list, I go directly to my calendar and I immediately set a date for each task. Also, I use different colors for different task (personal, work, etc). It makes such a difference! So, my to-do list is not actually a list, it’s a to-do calendar.
I used to believe that if I had a long list of tasks I was more productive, but now I write 3 important things to do by the end of each day (I like to knock out the most important task first), and then I add 3 not so important tasks. It can become overwhelming when you have a million things on your to-do list, but having a deadline always makes you take action.
Also, make lists with books you want to read, people to call, movies to watch, shopping lists and email to send. Just dump everything on your lists and free your brain. Seeing all these things on paper makes it easier for you to remember to do them. Besides, checking each and every item off your list is so satisfying!
Take short breaks and do something different.
It will make you feel more creative, inspired, and invigorated. If you usually take a break to watch tv, just do something else in your break. Go outside, watch the clouds, close your eyes and just listen to the sounds around you. Or even better, meditate for 5 or 10 minutes.
Create a routine.
No matter how hectic your schedule is, try to have certain days for certain things, like laundry, cooking, cleaning, scheduling, exercising. Create a morning routine, as well as a night time routine and your life is going to become easier.
Now I’m watching the clock more often during the day and I’m more aware of the way I spend my time. I’m also trying to be faster in everything I do. It was a little difficult at the beginning to adopt all these habits, and I had days when I wasn’t able to finish everything, but the sense of accomplishment that I have now when I cross out a task on my to-do calendar is priceless.
Don’t worry if you can’t do everything by tomorrow. Just take it slowly, adding on one habit as you go, and in no time you’ll be amazed by the results.
So, how do you stay organized?
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