“I’ll Do It Tomorrow”: Time Management Tips To Beat Procrastination
Are you someone who tells yourself you’ll “do better next time” but don’t? Do you find yourself procrastinating and leaving tasks for later only to discover that it just doesn’t happen?
What does it mean and, more importantly, what does it say about you? Well, the short answer is that the way you behave today is a really strong indicator of how you’ll behave tomorrow. It’s called banking on future time, and it’s pretty unusual for this type of behaviour to manifest with productive results.
It’s self-sabotaging behaviour too, because you’re not taking full advantage of the time you have available in the present moment. And, predictably, when later comes, and the task is not done, you’ll feel the ripple effects of guilt, frustration and probable burn out (by the time all those deferred tasks catch up with you). If you really want to beat procrastination read on…
How does this manifest?
You procrastinate about certain tasks, telling yourself that you will work better and more productively when you’re alone at the office. Instead what happens when everyone leaves, is that you find yourself feeling tired.
You avoid making real progress on a big project, when you have smaller windows of time, because you want to wait for a day when you have a full block of time at your disposal. Of course, that doesn’t happen. Instead you find yourself in a state of panic at the thirteenth hour, finishing your project at the last minute.
Not productive right?
So, what conscious changes do you need to make to improve your time management skills, beat procrastination and get more done?
Rule Out All Future Options
If you get into the habit of deferring tasks to weekends or after hours, you will be more likely to procrastinate. It’s more challenging to “do it later” because you will be plagued by guilt, and you’ll be tired.
So how do you fix it? Allocate times during your work day to complete specific tasks. Plan your day or week in advance by setting certain timelines to complete your tasks and projects. Extended deadlines present a greater chance of procrastination: if you’ve got an entire month to complete a presentation, for example, break the presentation up into sections and allocate a timeframe to complete each section so that the final project is ready by the end of the month.
Use Cosapien to task yourself (and other people if you’re working on a team) and allocate due dates for sub-tasks so you can complete projects on time.
This approach will help you to align your calendar with your task list with a view to helping you recognise that you will run out of time if you don’t address your projects in smaller segments. There won’t be an opportunity to defer the work to tomorrow, because tomorrow will bring a new set of tasks with it.
Book Your Free Time Up
If you have lots of free time available, you’ll be more likely to procrastinate on work tasks. Instead make sure you do have personal commitments in your free time. Start enjoying your time off. When you do, you’ll be less likely to want to use it for work commitments.
Standardise Your Schedule
You may be able to justify surfing your favourite social network all day with the promise that you’ll catch your work up later but it’s less than ideal. If you do ever get to it, your guilt will probably distract you from doing a good job, or conversely, you’ll end up with burn out from pushing yourself too hard.
So how can you hack this unproductive habit? Well you may be able to take a note from the anti-smoking handbook. Behavioural economist Howard Rachlin performed a study which showed how smokers who were told to smoke the same number of cigarettes every day were able to reduce the amount they smoked, without being told to smoke less. When smokers realised that by smoking a whole pack of cigarettes today, they would need to smoke the whole pack on subsequent days, they chose to modify their own behaviour.
Allow yourself to make the choice to invest the same number of hours to working every day. If you spend three hours on the internet today, do you want to continue this behaviour for the rest of life?
Beat procrastination , change your behaviour today and get better results tomorrow:
- Stop banking on future time; there’s no time like the present. Align your calendar with your to-do list and allocate certain time frames to complete tasks. Tomorrow will bring with it another eight hours of productivity, but also a new set of tasks to be fulfilled.
- Make commitments for your personal time. If your personal time is booked up with fulfilling activities, by deferring your tasks, you’ll be missing out on the things you enjoy.
- Reduce variance in your schedule and routinise the way you spend the hours in your day. Your behaviour today will determine your behaviour tomorrow. Do you want to spend the rest of your days at work and the rest of your nights working?
Need help routinising your day? Receive an invite to Cosapien, beat procrastination and maximise your productivity.