Procrastination is the woe of our generation (along with high interest rates on loans and the end of the world nearing every day, if we’re counting). With the ever-increasing distractions around us, and machines and apps constantly doing our work for us, sometimes it’s hard to be productive and it may feel like we’re never going to get our life together.
There always seems to be something left to do, a deadline missed or an email unanswered, no matter how much you may have achieved already, the world is always moving too fast for us to get a handle on how things are going. This may make you feel like you’re not living up to your potential, or that you’re not getting the best use of your time.
In the busy schedules of today’s working millennials, it is important to be more mindful and focused than ever. Focused on your goals. Being mindful of your physical and mental health, and understanding that the façade of social media and online shops isn’t real, nor will it ever be.
It may seem like you’ve tried every trick in the book, but still haven’t figured out what it means to feel free and relaxed, to not have a nagging at the back of your mind. Things may not be working well in your new 10-day meditation program or the most recent life hack may not be yielding the same results that you expect, but that’s the important thing; to remember to put everything in a broader perspective, think long-term. You may have researched terms like how to be more productive or tips to be more productive online too.
There is however, no cheat sheet to suddenly being able to do more work than before, since we’re all humans, but there are ways to create a healthier, better lifestyle that allows you to get to get the most use out of your time. Here’s our attempt at a list of tips on how to be more productive.
Make your to-do task(s) the centre of your thoughts
This may seem obsessive and anxiety-inducing, but the more you try to avoid thinking about an unpleasant task, the more it will nag you and make you feel bad about yourself. Let the thought come freely to your mind, and allow your brain to process the need and come up with a plan by itself. Instead of hiding away your to-do lists, embrace all the tasks you’ve set to yourself, and let your brain feel better equipped to handle the task instead of running on instant mode.
Divide your day into task-related sections
Start your day, even if you’re in a hurry, by listing down the things you need to get done, no matter what. You can just say them out loud, or jot it down on Google Keep, or make a pretty bullet journal you fill every page of. But it needs to be done. Set important tasks and errands into the first quarter, and then go by the level of difficulty vs the deadline to divide your whole day.
Don’t try to fit in unrealistic goals
Whether we’re talking about a daily list of basic chores and work-related tasks, we all have learnt to take too much on ourselves. This can lead to a burnout, where you may end up not even being able to complete menial tasks.
Learning to say no, sometimes even to your friends when they ask you out to have a night out or sometimes even yourself, is a difficult habit to create. Of course, it goes without saying that you should be polite and considerate, but prioritizing yourself is important if you wish to have a balanced amount of work, and want to feel excited about life.
Set a routine, but keep changing it
The tip may seem a bit self-contradictory, but it is most definitely not. Routines are essential to human life, and they are a part of the fabric of how humans operate on a psychological level. But routines can feel annoying and constrictive, especially if you have a tight schedule.
Create a skeleton of a routine, which should include bedtime, and allow you to focus on your surroundings for a while every day. Follow the schedule as a guide for a few weeks if you can at least, or for as long as it takes you to feel comfortable in it. Slowly, start working on creating a better routine that allows flexibility and also includes everything essential to your day-to-day survival.
Give yourself the chance to fail
This may seem like something that your mum might have hanging by the kitchen window, but honestly, it’s not as cliched as it sounds.
When you finally have some ‘free’ time, think before you make plans for the day (or night). Instead of watching a new Netflix TV show or scrolling through Instagram, or even going out, pick up an activity that you like, even if you’re not that great at it. Pick up some old knitting needles lying around, or paint to your heart’s desire, and actively promise yourself that you will not stop yourself from keeping away or even leaving these jobs. Try a new hobby every time, if that’s what it takes to create a balance to your personal and professional time.
Sleep on time
It may seem like the work you’re doing at the moment is always more important than getting enough sleep, at the right time. Instead of repeating the benefits of good sleep here again, since I’m sure you’ve heard them before already, I will implore you to keep tip no. 4 in mind, and create a habit out of sleeping schedule.
Make yourself used to sleeping early so that your body is easily fine-tuned through nature, and keep up with your plans for at least a couple of weeks. This can be done by either having another help create a sense of accountability by enlisting others’ help, or eliminating distractions at bedtime. Once you’ve established the roots of your habit, it will gradually become easier to ignore the constant ringing of your phone or resisting the urge to check your Instagram feed once again.
These are only some ways to alter your behaviour and responses to more work and even more chances to avoid it. You can create your own personalized list of how to be more productive to address your own issues with productivity and procrastination.