My productivity is improving and I am more focused than ever. Still, I haven’t quite mastered the time that is given to me. Social media, emails, and group chats are nonstop distractions in my daily routine. I’m sure you can relate. Even though I’ve removed a number of apps from my smartphone, I often find myself craving a notification. And self-care is also high on my priority list, although, it’s easy to get lost in time set aside for rest and relaxation. TIme often escapes me.
Distractions aren’t the problem. My worst enemy is procrastination.
You wake up with the greatest intentions writing down goals for the day in front of you as you embark on 24 hours of new opportunities. Somewhere between passion and action lies procrastination. You’re stuck. Be it personal or professional goals, it’s easy to become entangled in an endless cycle of putting things off until later. When later comes and you push your deadlines to the last minute, you create a space for sloppiness and a lackluster performance in all areas of your life.
I’m currently reading Master Your Time, Master Your Life by Brian Tracy and I’m picking up valuable time management techniques. He writes, “Productive work requires high levels of mental and physical energy, discipline, focus, and determination to get the job done quickly and well. The way you think about your work will largely depend on how much of it you do and how well you do it.”
Most people will tell you that they work best under pressure, but imagine the solid results you could produce if only you relished in time intended for outlining and intricate details. Not only does rushing produce poor quality, but your anxiety levels begin to rise.
Procrastination causes stress.
A constant state of procrastination is brought on by a variety of factors like the feeling of being overwhelmed, lack of interest in the project, or the terror associated with our work being criticized becomes mentally taxing. You can hide from the inevitable, but the pressure will continue to spiral out of control.
Frequent tiredness is often an indicator of procrastination.
Never confuse sleepiness with lack of ambition.
You can hide from the inevitable, but the pressure of deadlines will continue to spiral out of control.
Some of us might have tendencies to delay tasks due to unforeseen circumstances or there is a possibility that you have an undiagnosed case of ADHD. Then, on the other hand, you have chronic procrastinators in the “I’ll do it tomorrow” choir. I am the lead singer. Even in the face of unwanted tasks, you have to put your feelings of angst to the side and put on laser focus to get the job done.
For those of you at the intersection of procrastination and productivity with any goal be it writing, starting a company or a DIY project, here’s a new time management that is working for me (so far). I’ve created an accountability time sheet to pinpoint what’s causing procrastination and how to eliminate it.
Create a personal time sheet titled, “How Did I Maximize My Time Today?”
1. Write a list of your daily processes.
Literally, sketch out your daily routine. “Wake up. Scroll Instagram. Thank God. Get coffee. Thank God again. Go to the gym. Shower. Leave for work. etc.”
2. Estimate how much time it takes to complete professional tasks.
Weekly meetings, editing video, scheduling social media posts, writing articles, answering emails, etc.
3. Estimate how much time is spent on your hobbies.
Downloading new music, organizing your N’Sync poster collection (this is a real thing for me), collecting rare artifacts, wine tasting, etc.
4. Finally, estimate how much time you spend daily on less important tasks.
Composing extremely long Facebook posts. Mindlessly scrolling on Twitter. Online shopping. Chatting with coworkers. Binge-watching shows.
Once you have each section complete, calculate the total time you spend on unnecessary and inactive moments in your day and list it on the sheet. This is where you will find the meat of lost time.
Assess your habits and decide on what stays and what goes. Much of your procrastination stems from getting in your own way. Each day, when you realize your procrastination triggers, return that same amount of time to yourself in a more productive manner. For example, if you spent 2.5 hours on Thursday daydreaming then on Friday you should spend 2.5 hours learning a new skill or enhancing ones that you already possess. This will help you to make up for lost time, which will soon become time that never escaped you.
When you start to realize how much empty time you’re spending, each day, you’ll want to be more fruitful with the time and energy that you exert to further along your goals. Even when you’re super tired and frustrated, at the end of the day, pose the question, “Did you show up for you today?”. If you don’t like the answer, then keep pushing.
The sooner you learn how to honor your goals and replace procrastination with productivity, you will reap the rewards of time well spent on improving your quality of life.