PA - Procrastinators Anonymous
Procrastination - the action of delaying or postponing something.
Time management is an elusive trait that I have been chasing for a long time. We have a love/hate relationship. Sometimes I think I have it figured out and for a while my time management skills are amazing but then disaster strikes and procrastination slowly creeps in. It's not long before I'm completely immersed and falling down an Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole of Netflix shows or YouTube tutorials on how to create the perfect winged liner. And like Alice I sit there tempted by the bottle with the "drink me" sign (a bottle of Barefoot Rose in my fridge) and the "eat me"cake (a chocolate fudge cake from Marks & Spencers stashed in my cupboard). All while Adobe Illustrator quietly whispers at me to get back to work. But instead I go and grab a slice of cake to eat whilst I watch another episode of Dynasty.
It is very easy to get distracted when you are trying to be productive. Especially with the distraction of your mobile phone which holds an abundance of apps that can keep your thumb and index finger entertained for countless hours. When it comes to productivity your phone becomes an enemy of progress and I can admit that I have succumbed to this mesmerizing villain on many occasions.
However, if like me you are ready and wanting to do better, here are some ideas that can help fight off the procrastination funk that can settle on you so easily.
Limit your phone screen time. As difficult as that sounds, limiting the amount of time you spend scrolling through Instagram or Facebook will be a game changer when it comes to staying focused. If you are an iPhone user you can set up app limits which will allow you to set up the amount of time you want to spend on your apps per day. For android users you can use the digital well-being feature to adjust your app time limits. If you feel you have more will power and don't need to enforce a time limit then just switching off your notifications is a good alternative. As if you're not seeing your screen light up when beside you, you will be less likely to pick it up.
Figure out when you work best. Are you a day person or a night person? Are you happy jumping into work early in the morning or do you feel more focused later in the day? I am not a morning person, sleep is one of my favourite things to do and having the morning interrupt it everyday causes me to remain on autopilot until I am ready to accept that my day has begun and I need to get stuck in. Use your habits to your advantage, creating a timeline that allows you to work naturally around any other daily tasks you need to complete. As there's nothing worse than getting your productive streak on and then realising you need to do something else and ruining your concentration.
Reward yourself. Create incentives for when you reach certain checkpoints in your work. Think about how amazing you will feel if you get to watch Netflix guilt free, without your inside voice niggling at you about the task you should've finished.
Go for a walk. With creative work, you can sometimes get a creative block, or get stuck in your head and can't see a way out. Take a break and come back to your screen with fresh eyes. I can guarantee you'll feel better about your work when you do and you'll be able to see more clearly any changes that need to be done. But make sure you time the walk properly otherwise it can turn into a hindrance and you'll become Alice again, wondering away from the task at hand.
Although I'm sure we all know the above points, it never hurts to have a refresh and remind yourself to stay productive. As where focus goes, energy flows. So get focused and stuck in because good work takes effort as well as passion.
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
Sera Rae - a self proclaimed procrastinator