It’s human: none of us are focus machines, and getting distracted is a part of life. But procrastination isn’t unsolvable, and it can definitely be improved. If your procrastination is costing you productivity, time and potential customers, here are four effective ways you can learn to channel your energy in a positive direction.
It’s an easy trap to fall into: you’re sat at your desk, filling out an excel spreadsheet, and suddenly you’re fifteen minutes into a YouTube video about anything other than what you’re meant to be working on.
This is where the procrastination note pad comes into play. Simply grab a piece of paper or a notepad, lay it next to your keyboard, and whenever you’re tempted to google something or distract yourself with something unnecessary, write down what it is you want to do.
Writing it down can help make you aware just how often your mind is wandering, and can help snap you back to focus. Then, at the end of each hour, let yourself go through the list and pick one thing to indulge in.
It’s no secret that limitations can inspire creativity: but they can also inspire productivity. By keeping things small and sticking to limits, you can take enormous tasks and break them down into only what truly needs to be done.
These smaller tasks are much more likely to be completed, and putting a cap on your actions, budgets, and time spent will ensure that you work with more intent and focus.
From CEOs who buy the same outfit five times to cut down on indecision to runners who leave their gear by the front door, there are plenty of physical prompts you can use to stay focused.
If you struggle with procrastination, make sure you either streamline your days by organizing them in advance, or by leaving yourself physical reminders (such as notes) to get work done.
I myself have realized that keeping my exercise gear in my primary backpack significantly increases how often I exercise – so if you can identify which things make life easier for yourself, make sure to incorporate them into your day.
Using apps and calendars to track your every movement and streamline your every action can be tempting, but it can be deceptively simple to fall into the habit of constantly altering the settings and playing around with them in order to boost your productivity. The side effect? Lowered productivity!
If you get distracted by digital tools, try using a physical calendar to keep track of your appointments and a notepad to track your actions. Physically writing things down helps us retain them, and there are far fewer opportunities to get lost in a notepad than there are online.
Physically writing down to do lists and checking them off as the day progresses is also an incredibly satisfying way to acknowledge the work you have completed – and the more you achieve, the more driven you will be to continue working.
By leaving yourself physical reminders, cutting down on app use, setting restraints on how long you have to accomplish tasks and noting down distractions as they occur you can finally learn how to limit your procrastination and sharpen your focus.
Which methods do you use to stay on top of your work?
- Lena Klein