Wisdom//

Beating Procrastination Once and for All

It's time to get stuff done.

Nora Carol Photography/Getty Images
Nora Carol Photography/Getty Images

Let me be incredibly honest for a second. I secretly dream of being the most productive person I know.

In fact, I even told my S.O. that the other day and he looked at me with a confused look on his face.

“What does that even mean?”

Good question, right? After reflecting on this question, I found my own definition of productivity.

To me- being the most productive person I know means that I focus on producing results instead of equating productivity with time spent working.

I would much rather complete a couple key projects in a week, then claim I worked 50 hours and didn’t actually finish any of my needle mover tasks.

I’ve learned a lot about beating procrastination and getting stuff done, so these are the top 5 things I have found to be most effective for getting yourself to take action.

POMODORO TECHNIQUE

Sometimes the most effective solutions are also the simplest. The pomodoro technique completely transformed the way I work. And it’s free.99 so you don’t have to worry about an expensive piece of software.

HOW IT WORKS:

Grab your phone timer or a kitchen timer. Set the timer for 25 minutes. Then for 25 minutes only work on 1 task, I mean, you only have 25 minutes, so you naturally will focus in on one thing at a time. Then when the timer beeps, set it again for 5 minutes and take a short little break.

If you are finding that 25 minutes isn’t enough time to focus on a task full force, increase it to 30. Then slowly build up to a time that works best for you.

I find that for me personally, a solid 35 minutes of work time and 5-10 minute breaks work wonders.

RESOURCES TO HELP YOU WITH THIS ONE:

  • This little cube timer is incredible. I prefer having an external timer instead of on my phone, because I’m super prone to distraction and might just find myself on Instagram scrolling wanderlessly. It costs ~$18 and is worth every penny if it helps you produce.
  • Tomato Timer website. This website is great because it’s directly your computer, it’s free and you can adjust your timer settings as you find your sweet spot for uninterrupted work time.
3 MITS

Prioritization is super hard when you have competing priorities. But by using the 3 MITs (most important tasks) you’re forcing yourself to focus in on what really matters and prioritize what is most important and timely and what can wait.

HOW IT WORKS:

The goal of this one is to hone in on what 3 things you need to accomplish today. If you are focusing in on only 3 things, you’re much more likely to get those done and feel productive in the process. But what most people do is have a running to-do list of things that need to be accomplished and end up checking off one or two small things that don’t actually move the needle and get you closer to truly producing results.

So before you open your email, jump on social media, or touch your computer, write down three things that you need to complete today. I personally write these on a sticky note and put them on my laptop. That way I can check them off when they are completed and be reminded of my MITs.

MITs also give you an unbelievable amount of clarity and focus to accomplish your goals.

Extra credit if you set your 3 MITs the night before, but I rarely do that.

RESOURCES TO HELP YOU WITH THIS ONE:

  • Shower notes. I get most of my ideas and reminders in the shower. I use my shower notes as a way of jotting down the important (and unimportant) stuff that comes to mind.  A lot of times, when I hop out of the shower,  I have my 3 MITs already ready to go so I can immediately go downstairs and make my coffee, eat breakfast and get to work.
MANTRA

Mantras seem super woo-woo, but they aren’t. In fact, I find a lot of people already use mantras without even realizing it. Mantras are the little words of wisdom, affirmation, or quotes you tell yourself to get you to take action. When you say, “I’ve got this!” or “I can do it!” that’s basically a mantra.

HOW IT WORKS:

Next time you find yourself procrastinating, or pondering Netflix vs. the gym, pull out your mantra and repeat it 3 times to yourself. Repetition is key to habit change.

My personal mantra is “Do it now! Do it now! Do it now!” So if I’m procreating, I will legitimately say this out-loud (if I’m by myself) or in my head and it is my trigger to start working and focus on taking immediate action.

Don’t knock it til you try it. But also try it more than 1 time– as I mentioned earlier, repetition is the secret to change.

5 SECOND RULE

No this isn’t the amount of time that you can drop food and the ground and still be able to eat it. It’s a super simple way to force yourself to take action even when you don’t want to. It was made mainstream by author and motivational speaker Mel Robbins.

HOW IT WORKS:

When we count down to ourselves, we pay attention and prep our bodies to take an action. Mel discovered this while watching TV one night as a rocket ship was launching. She noticed that they counted down– 5….4….3…2…1 and immediately launched.

After realizing that, she decided to try this in her own life to help her wake up in the morning without pushing snooze. She heard the alarm go off, counted 5-4-3-2-1 and launched out of bed without pushing snooze. It worked. Then she used it for job hunting, working, going to the gym. And it worked.

I’ve personally tested this in my own life and it really does work if you do it. It’s very different than counting up from 1-5 as well. When you countdown, there isn’t a number that we naturally go to after 0, you are more likely to take that action. I’m not a behavioral psychologist here, but the concept really does have some legs. I find myself going back to it quite a bit.

RESOURCES TO HELP YOU WITH THIS ONE:

LIMIT SOCIAL MEDIA TIME

You guys, no joke, I’ve found myself browsing Instagram/FB sometimes and looking up to see that I legitimately spent 2 HOURS mindlessly scrolling. WTF? Two hours is a lot of time to just waste when my goals are as big as they are. I have a feeling you’ve been there too. Why do we do this to ourselves?

I find that I have to almost treat myself like a teenager and put some parental controls in place. It’s ridiculous, but hey- this is where I am. 😂😂

HOW IT WORKS:

To limit social media time, it’s important to know where you’re starting. Most iPhones now come equipped with Screen Time so you can see exactly how many hours and minutes you’ve spent on your browser, email, social media, etc. It’s super helpful….and depressing!

Set a goal for yourself. My personal goal is to be on social media less than 2 hours a day. This seems like a lot, but keep in mind, I run an online business and social media is a huge part of my marketing channels.

Set a goal for yourself too.

How much time do you feel comfortable spending on social media per day?

Do you want to check your platforms in the morning (this is a rhetorical question- of course you don’t want to see the world’s nastiness first thing in the morning)?

How often do you find yourself reaching for your phone out of habit rather than necessity?

Then set some barrier and use the other tips above to help you stick with your planned social media time.

RESOURCES TO HELP YOU WITH THIS ONE:

  • Newsfeed Eradicator. This chrome extension removes all your FB newsfeed and gives you a nice inspirational quote on your FB feed. It’s really helpful!
  • Remove the apps from your phone. If you just got anxiety thinking about this, it’s probably a good sign you should do it temporarily. Remember- you can always add it back on your phone if you hate it.
  • StayFocusd chrome extension. This extension allows you to block certain websites and social media feeds during hours of the day that you set. It’s seriously worth it!

If you follow each of these steps, I GUARANTEE you will be well on your way to being the most productive person you know. All of these are simple, but they aren’t necessarily easy. It’s tough to force yourself to take action when you’d rather sleep, eat, clean, Netflix, Hulu, or even read the news— but it’s worth the effort.

Comment below and let me know what you do to help you beat procrastination! I love learning and trying new tips in my life too. 🙂

Originally published on whitneyhansen.com.

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