5 Ways To Beat Procrastination And Find More Time To Live
These strategies gave me the time to chase my dreams.
When it comes to procrastination, nobody's immune.
No matter how productive you are, there are times you simply can't face getting down to work, and some of us are just plain bad at getting stuff done. I know, I've been there.
I used to take long naps and do quite a bit of lounging, and while I am a big proponent of self-care, too much of a good thing is never really that good.
One day I realized I still had a few dreams I hadn't addressed, and I wanted to give them a shot. But turning dreams into reality requires time.
I knew that to create the time to follow my dreams, I'd have to find better ways to take care of the business of everyday life.
I'd also have to stop putting it all off. Then, I had an epiphany that part of the reason I put things off was that I was overwhelmed.
So, I started to look for new ways to get things done.
Since I have a full-time job and a family, I knew productivity would be the essential ingredient for moving forward. I had to develop some strategies and mindset changes.
I instilled a few "life-hacks," and everything shifted, and what I learned changed my life.
Turns out it wasn't as hard as I thought, and since I'm not even remotely A-type, I'm pretty sure anyone can impliment these.
Here they are:
1. Realize that you can make a dent or completely finish most jobs in only five to ten minutes
Whether it's folding laundry or getting that passion project started, you can probably get most of the work done in the first five to ten minutes.
But jobs seem to take forever when you let them sit.
Mentally that basket of laundry that's been hanging around for a week morphs into a bigger chore as you look at it day after day.
Just thinking about it becomes exhausting.
But in reality, it would only take a few minutes to fold and put away.
I just did a basket of laundry in seven minutes; now it's done. I washed a few pots while waiting for my toast to pop, so they're done.
I'm going to spend 10 minutes writing the outline for this article while waiting for the daycare kids to arrive. I'll get the bare bones of it finished before my first child comes, and then all I'll have to do is go back later and flesh it out.
It's so much easier to go back to work on something that's already been started, especially when everything else is done.
2. Do the fastest jobs first
When I have a bunch of things to do, I do the fastest things first.
That way, if my time is limited, I get more checked off my list.
If I start with the most time-consuming task, I may only get one job done. If I start with the fastest things, I might get three or four done in the same amount of time.
Doing this gives me peace of mind and a sense of empowerment that helps me tackle what needs to be done head-on.
3. Think in terms of layering instead of multi-tasking
This tip comes from the ten years I spent as a personal chef.
When you cook lots of different things at once, you need to make sure everything finishes simultaneously. That means organizing everything so you start things in the right order.
It's like racing on an oval track. There's a staggered start, so everyone goes the same distance.
When I have multiple jobs, I figure out how I can layer them most effectively.
An example of how I might do this is by first filling the sink to soak some pots before sticking a chicken in the oven.
Then I'll get laundry started and put on a pot of water to boil. Then while the water is boiling, I'll wash the pots before prepping the rest of the meal.
Once dinner is cooking, I can begin an article or do some other writing work. By that time, the laundry might be done so I can quickly put it in the dryer.
I think you get the idea.
When you layer jobs, you can get many things done at once.
Being productive makes you feel more in control, and that's what makes everything seem more doable.
4. Don't get overwhelmed
When I start to feel overwhelmed, I say to myself: "Even if this is the only thing I get done today, I'm still farther ahead than I was."
This simple bit of mindfulness helps me remember that I'm still moving forward even if I don't achieve earth-shattering results.
Another little mantra that I find helpful is the phrase, "I have more than enough time to do everything I need to do."
Somehow just saying this out loud creates the mental space I need to get going.
5. Just start
This might sound too simple, but sometimes you just need to get the ball rolling to get on track.
It's like opening a jar. Once you break the seal, the lid comes off easily.
Spending hours ruminating about something creates such a big deal in your head that you have no mental energy left for the actual task.
If you sat down and used that energy to get started, you'd probably be finished your task in the time you'd have wasted stewing.
But don't despair, I used to be the same.
It felt like I could never get anything done, not because I was lazy or because I didn't have goals, but because many times I just couldn't bring myself to get started.
Time seemed so scarce, and life was so overwhelming.
Now that I do things differently, I've opened my life to endless possibilities that I can actually pursue.
The other bonus is that I can really enjoy my downtime now because I know I "ve earned it.
Before I started writing this, I took some chili out of the freezer. Then, I spent 10 minutes folding and putting away laundry.
I put on some more laundry and got the house ready for my daycare kids to arrive, then I finished the first draft of this article.
When the first child arrives, I'll put my computer away and get to work.
I'll come back at nap, do my first edits, then finish this and post it.