I often find myself putting off things that I need to do until the last possible second. You would think that I enjoy working on “crunch time”. As you are reading this, I’m sure you can think of at least three other things that you could be doing or that should have already been done. I think procrastination comes from not knowing where to start. If we look at our day as one big entity, the to-do list looks endless and it seems impossible to complete everything that needs to be done. We have to do laundry, clean, go to appointments, work out, cook and the list goes on and on. It seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day. Since we can’t create a day with more hours, I have compiled a list of things that have helped me become more productive and stop procrastinating.
Start your day and end your night earlier
I know this sounds like the opposite of what I should be saying since I have already pointed out that there aren’t enough hours in the day. Just hear me out. Psychology studies have shown that people who get enough sleep and wake up earlier are generally happier than the typical night owl. Studies have also proven time and time again that happy people are 12% more productive than people who are not so happy. This means that going to bed and waking up an hour earlier may benefit you more than you think.
Create a List
I love to-do lists. My general rule for lists is do not add more than five tasks per day. Anything more than that overwhelms me and I feel that I cannot complete my tasks. My favorite notepad to use for my lists is the Inkwell Press Weekly Kickstart Notepad. I like to list the most important or most complicated tasks first and save the easiest task for last. This keeps me from becoming burned out because I know that the list only becomes easier. I can get the most important things done first, and then I have the momentum needed to complete the other things on my list. When I find myself procrastinating, I just refocus on my list. This keeps me going!
I also like to give myself a block of time to complete my list. For me, it’s usually between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. I work full-time so most days I need a bit of time after work to complete my tasks. After 8:00 p.m., I stop working on my list and take time for myself and my husband. If there is something that I did not complete I will just add it to tomorrow’s list. The flexibility of the list is what keeps me from being stressed out. It also keeps me accountable because I do not want to see the same task on my list for three days in a row.
Keep Your Living Space Neat
This is very important to combat procrastination. When my home is in shambles, I cannot function properly. I tend to sit around on social media because I don’t know where to start. I’m not motivated to get up and get my day started if I know my living room looks like a jungle. Now, I understand that life gets in the way. It is perfectly fine for this step to take a bit of time to accomplish. Just add one small thing to tidy up to your to-do list every day until your home is comfortable and makes you happy. When you reach that point, maintenance is pretty simple. Just continue to add one cleaning task on your to-do list each day.
Prepare for Tomorrow
I have recently started doing this. It makes mornings so much easier. I like to create my to-do list for tomorrow, plan out what I would like to wear, and spend about ten minutes putting away things around the house. I look at my to-do list from today and add anything that didn’t get completed or that needs a follow-up to tomorrow’s list. This way I know exactly what I need to do tomorrow and I won’t forget anything. Next, I pick out my clothes based on the things that I have to do the next day. This is pretty quick because I already know what I am doing tomorrow. Last, I just spend about two minutes in the main rooms of the house putting things back where they belong. This doesn’t take long at all since it is done daily.
These four things have helped me stop procrastinating so much during the day. I am not perfect, so of course, sometimes I find myself back in the procrastination trap. When this happens, I just regroup, start over at step one, and things fall back into place.