Monday, April 22, 2013

The Perils of Procrastination

Now for a dose of exam-time randomness - below is an article I wrote on effective time management.

There’s a mountain of stuff you need to get done, and you’ve finally found the time to do it. But more often than not in a situation like this, you find yourself putting that work off until that precious time you had is gone.

 “Oh well,” you say with a small shrug of your shoulders. “There’s always tomorrow.”

Procrastination is the natural enemy of productivity.

It’s almost normal for us to turn to more enjoyable activities when we’re faced with something important to do, or something that requires a little bit of muscle flexing by the mind. 

Time is valuable, so in this article, I'll explore how you can get more value from your hours.  

The first step is to admit you have a problem. There’s nothing worse than fooling yourself by saying you know what you’re doing when really, you don’t.

Once you’ve pleaded guilty to procrastinating, the next step is to find the reasons behind your putting-off of tasks. Is it because I can’t stand the sight of paperwork? Or is it because I just don’t know where to start? Maybe it’s because I’m just not motivated to get these things done.

By identifying why you procrastinate, you can come up with the most effective strategies to kill the habit.

So now you know why do what you do, the next step is to adopt, with open arms, the best strategy:

If you struggle for motivation, tell yourself that after you finish a certain task, you will  treat yourself with a little incentive.

"I’ll eat the left overs of that butter chicken in the fridge if and only if I complete that sociology essay." Or I’ll only watch another episode of Breaking Bad after those forms are filled.   

Another useful strategy is to eat an elephant beetle first thing every morning. No, don’t worry. We’re not telling you to start feasting on exotic insects for breakfast just yet.

Eating an elephant beetle means to tackle your yuckiest, most difficult task first up. The philosophy is simple – once that’s out of the way, everything else will seem like a piece of cake.

And remember, the mind is freshest early in the morning, so take advantage of it!

If it's organization (or a lack of it) that’s making you procrastinate, then pull up your socks up and smarten up. Have a to-do list posted somewhere you can access easily and check things off with a flourish once you’ve got them out of the way.

Also, try to prioritize your tasks so know what needs to be done before what. Setting time-bound goals is another effective strategy. Tell yourself that by 3:00 PM, this inventory will be done and dusted – no excuses.

Finally, if you’re putting tasks off because you just don’t know where to start and are overwhelmed by the mountain that stands before you, try breaking things down into smaller, more digestible chunks, and then tackle each one as it comes.

The last time I tried, I failed miserably in my attempt to devour a twelve-inch sub in one bite.

If you don’t like the taste of elephant beetles, then start your day with something small and easy. That way you’ll feel like you’re getting things done, and you’ll carry momentum through your tasks.

Lastly, just think of how much better you’ll feel after you have finished something that’s been nagging you for weeks.

That ‘it’s-finally-off-my-chest’ feeling is pure magic, and you know it.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing tips!
    Implementing them starting tomorrow!
    Thanks broo