Let’s face it. Everyone procrastinates and not everyone is good at managing their time – sometimes no matter what you do or what you tell yourself, you end up leaving things to the last minute, under pressure and severely stressed. So, to help you shake those bad habits, we’ve listed a few tips to help you manage your time effectively and efficiently.
Types of procrastination
There are various 'types' of procrastinators. This effort at categorizing procrastination is intended to help you in understanding why you postpone tasks and how you can break these habits.
Procrastinators can be classified into two types:
Passive procrastinators: Those who put off responsibilities because they find it difficult to make and act on decisions.
Active procrastinators: Those who purposely postpone things because they believe they perform better under pressure.
How to avoid procrastination and manage your time better
Create an effective schedule
A precise schedule is recommended if you procrastinate. Consider this: if you have a plan for every minute, you won't have time to try delaying anything. Every activity will be calculated and timed – including breaks!
Start by thinking about what your workstyle is and then create a schedule that fits best. Some people might have a general understanding of their tasks and responsibilities in their thoughts, while others need to have them written down.
If you find yourself constantly procrastinating even though you’re aware of the amount of work you need to finish, try making effective to-do lists in which you list all your tasks and the time you think it’ll take to complete them.
Breaking down your tasks is a helpful thing to do when creating a thorough timetable like this. Instead of allocating one hour to a task, divide it into 10-minute chunks. Your mind will find it easier to tackle smaller focus times in 10-minute intervals rather than a larger one which gives your brain the opportunity to not focus or follow through.
Use apps based on the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is all about managing time and staying focused. It’s a concept in which a person focuses solely on the topic at hand for 25 minutes. After that, you can take a 5-minute break or continue working for another 25 minutes – you be the judge based on how you feel. The longer you’re focused the longer your break aka reward.
The Pomodoro Technique can also be implemented using a variety of applications. Here are some apps we recommend to help you efficiently manage and split your time:
Focus To-Do: You can define tasks, including subtasks and recurring tasks, and give deadlines in Focus To-Do. Then, using the Pomodoro technique, go through the tasks on your list one by one.
RescueTime: RescueTime allows you to quickly eliminate distractions, which is ideal for Pomodoro sessions. You can also establish goals, such as spending less time on social media.
Momentum: You can set daily priorities and other activities in the app's free version. At $3.33 per month, the premium service includes a Pomodoro timer and syncs with popular task managers.
Take a Five: As a free web app, Take a Five helps you implement the Pomodoro Technique. You open a tab and set a timer for however long you want your break to last. When your timer runs out, the app will dismiss this tab and remind you to return to work. There will be no more scrolling rabbit holes.
Monitor your behavior
Keeping an eye on oneself is the most effective strategy to prevent procrastination. Keep track of your actions. Make a list of where you spend your time. How much of it was spent working and how much was spent being distracted by a fly on your window.
This tip is intended to help you eliminate your sources of procrastination and to minimize distractions. If the fly on the window keeps you distracted for more than five minutes, switch your office space. If social media is your main distraction, make use of timer apps mentioned above and set limits to the time you spend on these apps. These timer apps work on your desktop and iPhone or tablet.
This is easy for material distractions, but mental distractions are the ones to be mindful of. To avoid mental distractions, start your day with a 10-minute meditation session. It may sound cheesy, but it can really help you practice mindfulness throughout the day.
It’s okay to say no sometimes
If you’re self-employed and work on a project basis with clients, this tip is for you. A lot of times freelancers find themselves overwhelmed with work as they take on too many projects at a time. Because of that, you might find yourself deferring not just one task, but all of them.
Begin by determining what motivates you to procrastinate. People typically delay on things that they find tedious, difficult, confusing, or meaningless. If you don't think you'll enjoy a task or know you won't be able to do it well, simply decline to undertake it.
Of course there are other situations in which you simply can’t say no, such as when you’re contractually required to fulfill a responsibility regardless of whether you’re interested or not. In those circumstances, employ the above tips to get it done without jeopardizing your professional commitments.
The bottom line
There’s no definite solution for procrastination, instead it’ll take constant work and dedication, but it’s worth it! It may be daunting at first but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to feel more at ease during the day and enjoy more free time to yourself without the stress of uncompleted tasks.